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Physical Plant Department Service Guide 

  1. Physical Plant Services
  2. Routine Problems
  3. Special Projects
  4. General Information
  5. Key Control Policy

This guide addresses the Physical Plant Department's responsibilities for normal and recurring operations and facilities maintenance and other services rendered to departments and activities sponsors upon special request (Special Services). It outlines some of the more important Physical Plant service responsibilities and how those services are normally requested and delivered. 

Typically, service requests and other demands will exceed the capacity of the Department to deliver immediately and some requests will have to wait for service. The reason for a wait may not always be well understood by the requesting party. The length of a wait can be determined by several factors, some of which have to do with priorities. A high percentage of our workload and schedule is determined for us by the demands of mechanical equipment and parts of buildings which are unforgiving of delays. It is imperative that we keep the buildings and systems functioning to avoid disruption of the University's educational activities. 


Building Maintenance and Operations services consist of inspections, planned and emergency work performed to maintain the University campus grounds, utility systems, buildings, and permanently attached fixtures or other equipment designated as part of a building. Excluded are movable furnishings and equipment and program specific instructional classroom and lab equipment, even though they may be attached to the building, and any personal property or non-TAMIU property. 

Maintenance service fully the responsibility of Physical Plant Services is defined as "the activity, including supervision, labor and materials, required to maintain buildings and grounds in their present state, or, to repair and/or replace components because of deterioration due to use and age". These services are rendered by Physical Plant Services without charge to other University units. 

Typical Building Maintenance and Operations services include: 

Interior and exterior repairs and continuing operation of academic and general purpose buildings. 

Maintain and services plumbing 

Maintain and service electrical systems, light and ballast changing, lighting for special events
Operation of the heating and air conditioning systems and utilities
Furniture assembly and movement
Periodic scheduled maintenance, overhaul and repair of building utilities such as the heating, cooling, plumbing, gas and electrical systems. 
Maintenance of all doors and locks and the distribution of all University keys as authorized by administrators. 
Interior and exterior painting (except for contracted renovations and new construction). 

Auxiliary Enterprise and self-supporting operations are not budgeted in Facilities Maintenance services.

Event Services
Coordination of all university sponsored event set ups including, tent, tables, chairs, podiums, stage, bleachers, drape and pipe, special event signage and banners.

Grounds Maintenance
Maintenance of the lawns, trees, shrubs and other landscaping, parking lots and drives. 

Management of Custodial Services
Physical Plant oversees the custodial contract with Marcis who handles the cleaning of University buildings such as vacuuming, mopping and waxing floors, cleaning windows and chalkboards, emptying trash, recycling, and other general housekeeping and cleaning.

University Safety Office
Safety responsibilities of the University as a Texas A&M University System component are centralized in the Physical Plant Department.

Fleet Management  Office
Coordination of all fleet data collection and entry into the state database, as well as maintenance of university owned fleet vehicles and gas cards. 


Most Facilities Maintenance services are deliberately performed at times when normal activity by people using the affected space will not be disturbed. They do not have to be requested, and, typically, building users are unaware there was maintenance activity. 

If a problem or malfunction does occur, it should be reported to the Physical Plant Service Center, at extension 2325.  If a reported problem is not an emergency, it will be resolved during normal Facilities Maintenance working hours (which may include a "night shift").  For example, burned out lights, leaky faucets and "squeaky" doors result from normal building use and are considered routine problems. It is best to perform maintenance or repair work when the work itself does not inconvenience building users. Upon considering many circumstances, including impact on classes, office work, or other scheduled activities, a Facilities Maintenance supervisor will determine whether the problem is so serious as to constitute an emergency and must be taken care of at once.


Special Projects are services (outside the responsibility of Physical Plant) rendered to departments and activities sponsors upon special request and are chargeable to the department or sponsor for which rendered. Special Services must be requested by the department's budget authority (the cost will be billed to the department). If the request is of a minor nature (furniture repair, move furniture, paint one wall, etc.), and does not change the function of an existing facility, the department budget authority may send a work request to the Physical Plant Service Center. 

When a Special Project request will result in a change in the use of the present space or result in a major alteration in excess for $500.00 (i.e., wall relocation, carpet, draperies, additional utilities, etc.) the Special Project Request Form must  be submitted to Physical Plant for a price estimate.  Physical Plant will then return it to the department for proper approval.  Once approved by the Dean/Director, the Vice President for Finance and Administration must approve the request.  Physical Plant will then proceed with the requisition for the project if needed, and coordinate project through  completion. 

No action will be initiated by Physical Plant Services without completion of the form.  While Special Project work is being performed or coordinated by Physical Plant Services, department personnel should not instruct workers on the job to make changes of any nature. Changes must be communicated through the Physical Plant Director by the administrator who initiated the request. 



Room and area thermostats are set to temperatures considered to be in the "comfort zone" for most occupants. Should there be a general problem with any space temperature, contact them at extention 2325, with the building name, room number, temperature Problem, name of f requester and a call back phone number. Built-in air-conditioning, ventilation and exhaust fans, etc. are maintained as a Facilities Maintenance service. 

Except in highly unusual circumstances, the University will not purchase and install supplemental air-conditioning or heating equipment intended for personal comfort. The University discourages the use of portable space heaters to adjust room temperature where there are built-in heating and cooling systems. 


See Refrigerators, Coffee makers, Microwave ovens, ...


Except for a certified need for an animal "helper" (i.e., "guide dog"), animals are generally prohibited in University facilities and on University grounds. Only in controlled laboratory situations will live animals be permitted in classrooms or labs. The animal(s) will be removed as soon as the instruction is completed and will not be kept in a building longer than necessary for the actual instruction. 

Live "pets" of any type are prohibited inside any University facilities, including classrooms, offices or workspaces. Owners of pets will not be allowed to use University grounds for walking, exercising or relieving pets.  Unattended animals will be removed from University property and will be turned over to animal control authorities. 


Many individuals are extremely sensitive to airborne particles, odors and fragrances. Some individuals experience extreme reactions (in some instances, life threatening) to airborne volatile organic compounds (Voice's). Except for some laboratory areas and rest rooms, air is recirculated within a building. Particles, odors and fumes which may originate in a very small area are picked up by the moving air returning to the fan units. They are then redistributed to a much larger "zone" within the building. Once released, there is no way to quickly purge the particles, odors or fumes; in time, they will eventually be diluted and become undetectable -- if the source has been eliminated. 

Building users are cautioned to exercise caution and restraint in using any substance which may release fine particles, strong odors or fumes into the air. Some examples are spray glue, duplicator fluid, paint, ink, art materials, and cleaning fluids. READ THE LABEL !!  For the same reasons, room deodorizers, air fresheners, incense or scented candles (open flames are prohibited), and other "scent" producing materials should never be used in University facilities. They may be pleasant to one person, but offensive or even harmful to others.  If there is an odor problem within any University building, please call the Physical Plant Service Center for an investigation. 


´╗┐Pedestrians have the right of way at all times. Bicycles are permitted on campus, however they must yield the right of way to pedestrians.

Bicycle racks are strategically located on the campus for convenient access by bicycle riders and to avoid rider-pedestrian conflicts. Locking bicycles to the rack is encouraged. Using other site fixtures such as sign posts, light poles, building columns, handrails, etc. is improper and may obstruct pedestrians or access by disabled persons. Any bicycle attached to other than a bicycle rack may be removed and impounded by University Police.  Parking or storage of bicycles (or any other vehicle, whether motorized or human powered, except for wheelchairs and authorized personal transporters) inside buildings, including arcades, porticos, lobbies and entrance or exit ways is strictly prohibited. Any bicycle or vehicle found in violation may be impounded by University Police. 


Maintenance of permanent exterior signs is the responsibility of Facilities Maintenance. Selection and installation, including re-installation because of alterations, of appropriate building identification signs is the responsibility of the project sponsor. 

Placing temporary signs on University buildings, by any party, is prohibited except by permission of the Vice President for Student Affairs. Any permission to post temporary signs includes responsibility for removal and repair of any damage and cleaning, when necessary. 


When consistent with the nature of the space, tack strips, tack boards and bulletin boards which have been purchased by a department may be installed by Physical Plant as a Special Service. Temporarily affixing signs and notices by taping or tacking them on doors, walls, etc. is prohibited because it damages the paint or obstructs vision through the entrance/exit glass doors.  Use of poster mounts is strongly encouraged. Lockable, permanently mounted display cases are entirely the responsibility of the department which purchases or controls access to the display.


Safety, fire codes and other codes, ordinances and governmental regulations must be respected in all work performed by the Physical Plant Department, whether a Facilities Maintenance service or a special service is involved. 

Physical Plant Services will not knowingly violate any code requirement for the convenience of any individual or sponsor. Questions concerning code requirements should be discussed with the Physical Plant Director. 


Candles, incense and other open flame materials and devices are prohibited in University facilities except in instructional laboratory space. Burning of any material is prohibited except under a fume exhaust hood. 

See Air Quality -- Odors and "Smells" 


Chalkboards and marker boards which have been installed in instructional spaces (classrooms and laboratories) will be erased and cleaned by Custodial Services once each weekday evening unless other arrangements are made. Instructors are expected to erase chalkboards and marker boards during the day between class meetings. 

Instructional units and user departments are responsible for furnishing chalk and erasers for chalkboards, and markers and marker board erasers for marker boards.  USING PERMANENT TYPE MARKERS WILL RUIN THE MARKER BOARDS! USE ONLY APPROPRIATE ERASABLE MARKERS.  Acquisition and maintenance of chalkboards and marker boards for non-instructional spaces (offices, workrooms, etc.), including cleaning and supplies, is the responsibility of the user departments. 


While decorations add to enjoyment of holidays and "festive" occasions, they may present some problems if practical restraints are not recognized: 

Heavy objects must never be attached directly to the ceiling. For example, crepe paper and foil garlands are light enough to be supported, but hanging baskets (live or artificial plant containers) may pull down the ceiling.  Christmas lights (and any other decorative lights) must be UL approved, used with utmost caution.  Candles or open flames of any type are prohibited in University buildings except in controlled laboratories.  After several days, it may be very difficult to remove tape from walls, doors and ceilings. 


The Physical Plant Department encourages University faculty and staff to "personalize" their office. "Decorations", however, must be used with an understanding of their effect on the building systems and finishes. "Over-doing it" will only cause problems for the user and Physical Plant Services. 

Heavy objects such as "hanging baskets" and plant containers must never be hung directly from the ceiling. Supplementary lighting must not be attached in any way to walls or ceilings.  Fasteners for support of personal pictures and artwork must be reasonable in both size and quantity. The walls are constructed of "sheetrock" (a relatively soft gypsum material) and metal studs. It may not be possible to drive a screw, nail or picture hook just anywhere.  "Custom paint jobs" and more-than-normal "wear and tear" will have to be resolved with the department head before space can be reassigned. 


All regular convenience outlets (wall outlets) are 120 volt, single phase. There are likely to be several outlets on a common circuit with a maximum circuit current capacity of 20 amps. The gray-colored outlets are non-filtered 120 volt power. The orange colored outlets have surge protection and are filtered power suitable for computers and other electronics. Orange colored outlets do not signify isolated ground or uninterruptible power. [Overloading a circuit will cause the circuit breaker (a fuse) to trip (interrupt the power) and all the equipment connected to outlets on that circuit will be automatically shut off. When a circuit breaker trips, some equipment must be disconnected to reduce the load and the circuit breaker must be manually reset by maintenance personnel.


The Physical Plant Department contracts for the maintenance and repair of all elevators. Only Physical Plant or University Police personnel are authorized to call the elevator service contractor. If problems are encountered with any elevator, call the Physical Plant Service Center or the University Police Office. 

Elevator emergencies will be handled by staff who have been specially trained in procedures for the safe removal of the elevator occupants. Please do not attempt a "rescue" from an elevator if you have not received this training on elevators. 


No excavation (digging) is permitted on University property except by the prior approval of the Physical Plant Management. "Excavation" includes digging or driving an object into the ground to make any size hole or to place any stakes, signs, posts or other objects driven or drilled into the ground. This restriction is necessary because many utility lines are located throughout the campus just below ground level. 


Should a fire extinguisher be used, or if a permanent extinguisher is missing, please notify the Physical Plant Service Center or University Police immediately. 

The purchase and maintenance of fire extinguishers is the responsibility of the Physical Plant Department. Inspection, replacement, and servicing of all University fire extinguishers for general and instructional space may be performed by either Physical Plant personnel or a service contractor.  Fire extinguishers for use in auxiliary areas may be furnished and maintained by Physical Plant Services at cost to the auxiliary.  The Safety Coordinator may require additional portable extinguishers be placed temporarily for a University sponsored activity or event. Extinguishers required for events or activities will be furnished at no charge to the sponsor unless actually used (or lost). If used (or lost) during an activity or event, the cost of recharging (or replacing) extinguishers will be the responsibility of the event or activity sponsor. 


Physical Pant will assemble furniture for all departments.  Please call them at extension 2325. Physical Plant is not responsible for items damaged during delivery, assembly or incomplete components.  It is not Physical Plants responsibility to report damaged, defective, or missing merchandise.


Moveable general classroom furniture, fixed lecture room seating, built-in laboratory furniture and other standard "fixed equipment" is maintained by Physical Plant as a Facilities Maintenance service. Care, custody and maintenance of office furniture and equipment is the responsibility of the user department. Instructional equipment maintenance is the responsibility of the instructional unit. 

Wood Dean/Director furniture will not be move without approval of the Provost or Vice President for Finance and Administration.  

The Physical Plant Department reserves the position to refuse to attempt any repair of departmental furniture or equipment. Outside labor and materials will be at the requesting department expense. Physical Plant does not have storage space for items needing repair. If temporary storage is required outside the user department, it should be arranged with the Property Manager. Cost of parts and supplies used in repairs will be billed to the user department.  

ODORS - See Air Quality


Physical Plant is responsible for maintaining paper towel dispensers and towels only in the public rest rooms in University facilities. 

When purchased by the user department, Physical Plant will mount paper towel, soap and other dispensers in workrooms, lounges, classrooms and laboratories. The user department or instructional unit will then be responsible for furnishing all supplies and loading the dispenses. 


Refrigerators, coffee makers, microwave ovens and other appliances are the responsibility of the users. Custodial Services absolutely will not clean refrigerators, coffee makers and other food storage and preparation appliances. Electrical appliances for food or beverage preparation or storage should not be used in personal offices. They require large electrical currents and may overload the available circuits. The electromagnetic interference caused to personal computers by microwave ovens should be an obvious reason for not using them in office areas.  Food preparation in a personal office may release odors which become a problem for others. 


Custodial Services will clean the counter tops and sinks in workrooms, lounges, classrooms and laboratories once each weekday evening, provided the sinks are completely empty. Users are responsible for cleanliness of the sinks, counters and appliances during the day. Custodial services is not responsible for "doing the dishes". If there is anything left in a sink overnight, the cleaning will be skipped.  Countertops will be cleaned once each weekday evening. Custodians are not responsible for clearing countertops and putting away equipment and supplies left on counters. Custodians will not make judgments that anything left on a counter is "trash" or "waste". If anything is left on a countertop, it will not be moved and that area of the countertop will not be cleaned. 


See Building Signs, Bulletin Boards & Graphics
See "Parking Lot Signs"
See "Room Number Signs"


See Air Quality