Facilities Management & Operations provides the day-to-day maintenance services necessary to support the University’s physical operations. This department is comprised of hundreds of skilled trades workers, engineers, and custodians, who maintain and improve Boston University’s campuses to ensure a clean, attractive, safe, and sanitary environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
Custodial Services provides daily cleaning services for more than 300 buildings at Boston University. On the Charles River Campus and Fenway Campuses, 19 Area Managers and several assistant area managers lead over 400 custodians—the largest contingent of CPO employees. The Medical Campus has a staff of over 50 custodians.
The University began its Sustainable Cleaning Program in the 1990s to better manage chemical use, minimize packaging waste, reduce the University’s carbon footprint, lower the chances of chemical-related injuries, and meet the cleanliness goals of the University. The program has shown that a sustainable cleaning program can meet the stringent cleaning standards of the University with 100% of the products certified by Green Seal and EcoLogo, the highest standards available for sustainable cleaning products.
Custodians use concentrated chemicals, diluted as needed, for daily cleaning, which reduces the amount of cleaning solution needed to clean from 55 gallons to 1 gallon, and has reduced plastic waste by 90%. Custodial Operations continually evaluates new technology in cleaning equipment and products to ensure that Boston University remains a leader in greening the campus.
Engineering & Building Systems
One of the major functions of the Engineering & Building Systems Group primarily is ensuring that building automation capabilities are installed and operating at maximum capacity with a goal of being able to centrally control and monitor the most complex buildings from a single workstation. A byproduct of this work is to reduce consumption of electricity, gas, fuel oil, water, and maintenance costs as opportunities present themselves.
CPO employs a staff of licensed electricians who are responsible for electrical safety and emergency response on campus. They are OSHA trained and attend yearly trainings to ensure our campus follows federal and state laws. They play a vital role in identifying appropriate specifications for major building modifications or new construction. Fire alarm testing is performed on a quarterly basis in all dorms.
BU electricians respond daily to customer needs by changing ballasts, resetting circuits, checking outlet problems, and working with customers for any electrical needs for new equipment.
A major developing role of the electrical staff is working with BU Sustainability to identify areas for retrofitting. Our electrical staff is essential for the ongoing cost-efficiency efforts on campus, and they are diligent in utilizing new technology to ensure our campus is up to date with new fire alarm systems and any electrical updates necessary for life safety.
The University plumbers on the Charles River Campus as well as several licensed plumbers and general mechanics on the Medical Campus and the Fenway Campus use the latest industry technology to update fixtures; repair broken water pipes and clean clogged toilets and drains. This intricate work means that plumbers must often work late at night or on weekends to avoid interrupting the daily routines of students and staff on campus. They also work closely with the Boston Water and Sewer Commission to ensure the University receives the highest quality water.
The Plumbing Shop is committed to reducing BU’s water consumption by installing low-flow shower heads, toilets and urinals, and hands-free sinks. Low-flow shower heads use 1.6 gallons per minute (gpm) versus 3.5 gpm, and low-flow toilets use 1.3 gallons of water per flush versus 3.5 gallons.
The HVAC department is responsible for the maintenance of mechanical equipment related to heating and cooling, boilers, air compressors, and vacuum pumps. They perform regular safety checks on equipment and repair and install new machinery for more efficient temperature control.
In addition to routine maintenance, HVAC is responsible for reducing the carbon footprint on campus. They are involved in pilot projects like the cooking oil project that diverted cooking oil and recycled it to fuel for the University’s central boiler plant. They’re also involved in large capital projects like the extension of the natural gas line that allows the central plant to run on natural gas, reducing CO2 emissions on campus by 3,800 metric tonnes annually. HVAC has also been heavily involved in mitigating the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) on campus.
As was the case for the past two academic years, Facilities Management & Operation’s Engineering team, in collaboration with Environmental Health & Safety and outside environmental consultants, will continue to review airflow in university buildings to ensure they are functioning properly. Portable ventilation equipment has been deployed in rooms requiring filtration beyond what is provided by the base building systems.
Building Security Systems
Safety is a priority on campus, and the Lock Shop staff on the Charles River Campus works 16 hours per day, 7 days per week, and 5 days per week on the Medical Campus* to handle emergencies, lock-out situations, broken and lost keys, lock changes and repairs, lost file cabinet keys, mailbox keys, stuck keys, etc. The Lock Shop works closely with the Carpentry and Maintenance shops, as well as departments and colleges to achieve these tasks.
You can help keep Boston University safe by taking steps toward a safer community. Do not allow access to unauthorized persons, prop open doors, or provide your keys to others.
*Please call the Control Center at 617-358-4144 if you are locked out on the Medical Campus when the Lock Shop is not open.
Trades Services & Mail Services
The University employs an in-house staff of 175 trained, licensed trade workers to handle both routine and emergency support for in BU’s more than 300 buildings. Whether it’s a lost mailbox key or a broken door handle, tradespeople are there to help.
The carpenters’ main purpose is to repair or update wooden structures, furnishings, and finishes such as doors, windows, handrails, and cabinets. They also ensure that campus entryways meet federal and state fire and building codes, and that equipment like podiums and ramps are ready for special events.
There are two main work areas for the carpenters. Some staff are in the Carpentry Shop working on custom cabinetry, furniture repair, or special projects. The remaining staff are on all three campuses handling daily repair issues.
Trucking & Grounds
With more than forty vehicles ranging from street sweepers to sidewalk plows, the Trucking department is constantly on the move. Trucking staff transport supplies, equipment, furniture, plants, and more all over the three campuses. They support the other trades by delivering equipment and supplies to the sites of construction, renovations, or repairs. Trucking plays a critical role in clearing roadways and parking lots during snowstorms. In addition, mechanics service vacuum cleaners, buffing machines, snow equipment, and more, as well as maintain Trucking’s own vehicles.
The Grounds department is responsible for maintaining BU’s urban landscape. Every spring, they plant over 150,000 plants, trees, and bushes including 18 varieties of flowers and over 50 types of trees, shrubs, and grasses
In keeping with BU’s commitment to sustainability, the Grounds department has introduced several eco-agricultural initiatives such as implementing organic lawn treatments. To reduce water waste, the Grounds department installed rain sensors, which shut off sprinklers during precipitation. Drip irrigation systems also prevent water waste by dripping directly to the roots of plants.
Boston University Mail Services handles and distributes all of the Boston University Campuses’ incoming, outgoing, and interdepartmental mail.
If you have any questions, please contact BU Mail Services.
The Maintenance Shop has over a dozen maintenance staff who work full-time to ensure everything is properly maintained on campus.
The Maintenance Shop also provides Real Estate with two full-time maintenance workers to handle issues for rental tenants.
The Maintenance Shop’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Repairing broken windows, window sashes, and window locks, including large plate windows, specialty windows, and thermopane (insulated glass) windows
- Repairing and replacing carpet tiles, VCT (vinyl composition) tiles, and suspended ceiling tiles
- Installing bulletin boards, chalkboards, whiteboards, and clocks
- Repairing patio furniture and outdoor umbrellas
The Paint Shop is responsible for interior and exterior painting on campus. Because the highest volume of painting happens in a small window of summer break before students return to school, the Paint Shop also coordinates with many outside contractors to meet ambitious project schedules.
CPO uses low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints in accordance with LEED standards since the early 1990s. The paint meets MPI Green Performance Standards and the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) Low-Emitting Materials criteria. BU uses no-VOC paints in occupied spaces.
The Roofing department is responsible for maintaining all the roofs and skylights throughout campus. Because Boston University buildings feature a wide variety of roof styles, from jerkinhead, gambrel, and mansard to plain flat roofs, roofers must adapt their construction and maintenance techniques accordingly. Severe weather causes most requests, which are related to water damage, ice dams, and leaks.
In keeping with the University’s commitment to sustainability, BU has adopted white roofs on several buildings on our campuses. White roofs significantly reduce the amount of solar radiation that is absorbed by the roof, thus reducing the buildings’ tendency to radiate heat and contributing to the urban heat island effect. In addition, the Yawkey Center for Student Services, which opened in 2012, has a green roof. The vegetated roof is designed to reduce stormwater runoff by 60%. Its vegetation consists of drought-resistant plants to limit the need for irrigation and maintenance.
Operations Service Center
The Operations Service Center on the Charles River Campus and the Control Center on the Medical Campus provide emergency response services. A small team of full– and part-time staff monitors operations 24/7, processing over 70,000 work orders per year. This emergency phone service center is a vital link between you and the skilled University tradespeople and local emergency responders who can help resolve your problem.
In an emergency, at night, or on weekends, call 617-353-2105 to reach the Operations Service Center if you are on the Charles River Campus or Fenway Campus, or 617-358-4144 to reach the Control Center if you are on the Medical Campus.
During regular business hours or for routine problems, see Request Services.
What is considered an emergency?
Situations that jeopardize life or public safety, or that render your room, office, or classroom unlivable such as:
- Bodily fluids
- Power outage
- Chemical spills
- Roof or ceiling leak
- Broken lock/lock-out
- Broken window or door
- Toilet stopped/overflowing
- Too hot/too cold indoors, and/or unusual noise or odor from heating/cooling vents
What is not considered an emergency?
Unpleasant or inconvenient situations that are not life-threatening are considered routine and will be handled during regular business hours. See Request Services for issues such as:
- Repair of broken furniture
- Requests to move furniture or equipment
- Repair or replacement of paint, plaster, floor coverings, or window treatments
- Replacement of lightbulbs in installed light fixtures (where public safety is not in jeopardy)
- Access to another person’s room or office (In fact, this is neither a routine nor an emergency service because we can never provide access to a room or office that is not your own. You must obtain a key from the person who has promised you access.)