Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents (NOC 6733)

About this job

Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents clean and maintain the interior, exterior and surrounding grounds of commercial, institutional and residential buildings. Building superintendents also manage the overall operation of the buildings.
 
Common job titles
  • attendant, construction campsite
  • building caretaker / superintendent
  • custodian / janitor
  • maintenance worker

Duties

In general, janitors, caretakers and building superintendents:

  • Sweep, vacuum, mop, scrub and wax floors and stairs
  • Wash windows, interior walls and ceilings
  • Empty trash cans 
  • Clean and disinfect washrooms
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as door handles and railings
  • Clean snow/ice from walkways and parking areas
  • Cut grass and tend grounds
  • Do routine maintenance, like painting and drywall repair
  • Make adjustments/minor repairs to heating, cooling, ventilating, plumbing and electrical systems, as well as contact tradespeople for major repairs
  • Co-ordinate parking, access, elevator lock-off and electrical shut-down with tradespeople
  • Ensure that security equipment is working, and deal with concierge/security staff on security and access issues
  • Attend to emergency situations, such as floods
  • Help ensure tenants follow health, fire, safety and security policies
  • Communicate with tenants and manage expectations when projects cause disruptions

They may also:

  • Water and tend to plants
  • Move furniture, equipment and supplies
  • Advertise vacancies, prepare and show apartments/offices to potential tenants, as well as collect rent
  • Supervise other workers

Caretakers and building superintendents of residential buildings may also:

  • Process tenant applications
  • Manage security deposits and refunds
  • Check tenants’ references
  • Keep records, revenue reports and petty cash forms
  • Manage inventory
  • Provide building status reports to landlords, condo boards and property managers
  • Serve tenants with legal documents

Work environment

Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents work for office and apartment building management companies, strata corporations, school boards, universities, hospitals, recreational facilities as well as shopping malls.

Many cleaners work evenings and weekends when buildings are empty. School and hospital janitors usually work during the day. Janitors may work shifts in buildings that need 24-hour maintenance. In buildings that have set opening and shut-down routines, workers may do split shifts (two short, separate shifts in a single day). 

Janitors, caretakers and superintendents usually work indoors. Some of the work takes place outside, like sweeping walkways, mowing lawns and shovelling snow. Employees usually work alone and call in more specialized help when needed. 

Some caretakers and building superintendents live in the buildings where they work, providing on-call service. Many enjoy dealing with the people who live or work in the building. 

This work can be physically demanding. Workers spend much of their time on their feet, sometimes lifting/pushing heavy furniture and equipment. Many tasks, such as dusting and sweeping, require bending, stretching, kneeling as well as crouching. Workers also often use noisy equipment and chemical cleaning products. Some tasks, like cleaning bathrooms and trash rooms, can be dirty and unpleasant. Working conditions for janitors have changed, though, as many employers have begun to use natural products and better-designed equipment, including lightweight mopping systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected this role greatly. Higher standards and more focus on cleaning and disinfecting have increased the demands on janitors, caretakers and building superintendents. It has also shown how important this work is.

Insights from industry

COVID-19 increased the need for heavy-duty cleaning and sanitization and brought greater demand for workers. Other job openings are the result of worker turnover and the declining number of retired people who act as resident caretakers for their buildings. The increase in multi-family homes and larger commercial towers is further boosting demand for building superintendents.

The role of the building manager is in transition. As more building systems are computerized, the job of maintaining buildings is becoming complex and specialized.

Workers often enjoy the independence that comes with being responsible for the upkeep of their buildings and take pride in doing their job well.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents often begin their careers in entry-level cleaning roles. With training or experience, they may become supervisors. Some experienced workers go on to open their own businesses.

Caretakers with training and experience can progress by taking on more building management responsibilities and administrative duties. These may include advertising vacancies, enforcing residential tenancy laws and processing security deposit refunds. More experienced caretakers and building superintendents can move into property management.

Additional resources