Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents (NOC 6733)

About this job

Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents are usually responsible for cleaning and maintaining commercial, institutional or residential buildings.

People in this occupation:

  • do a wide variety of tasks, including cleaning and maintaining buildings inside and outside, fixing any minor mechanical and electrical problems and maintaining the grounds
  • take on added responsibility when running buildings
  • have jobs in office and apartment building management companies, condominiums, school boards, universities, hospitals, recreational facilities, shopping malls and other establishments
  • must be comfortable with physically demanding work that includes bending, stooping, kneeling and crouching
  • must have good communication skills and the ability to work under limited supervision
  • need the ability to listen to and understand written and verbal instructions
Common job titles
  • attendant, construction campsite
  • building caretaker / superintendent
  • custodian / janitor
  • maintenance worker

Duties

Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents:

  • Operate industrial vacuum cleaners to remove scraps, dirt, heavy debris and other refuse
  • Wash windows, interior walls and ceilings
  • Empty trash cans and other waste containers
  • Sweep, mop, scrub and wax hallways, floors and stairs
  • Clean snow and ice from walkways and parking areas
  • Cut grass and tend grounds
  • Clean and disinfect washrooms and fixtures
  • Make adjustments and minor repairs to heating, cooling, ventilating, plumbing and electrical systems, and contact tradespersons for major repairs
  • Perform other routine maintenance jobs such as painting and drywall repair
  • May water and tend to plants
  • May move heavy furniture, equipment and supplies
  • Ensure that security and safety measures are in place in the establishment
  • May advertise vacancies, show apartments and offices to prospective tenants and collect rent
  • May supervise other workers

Caretakers and building superintendents employed in residential buildings:

  • must be familiar with advertising vacancies, preparing suites for presentation to prospective renters, processing tenant applications, processing security deposits and refunds, conducting reference checks and collecting rent from tenants
  • maintain journals, revenue reports, petty cash forms and perform inventory control

Work environment

Most office buildings are cleaned when they are empty, which means that many cleaners work evening hours, though some cleaners, such as school and hospital custodians, work during the day. When there is a need for 24-hour maintenance, janitors may be assigned to shifts.

Caretakers and superintendents can often set their own hours and work methods as long as the building is well maintained.

Most full-time janitors and cleaners work about 40 hours a week and part-time cleaners often work evenings and on weekends. Janitors, caretakers and superintendents usually work in heated, well-lit buildings. However, they sometimes work outdoors to sweep walkways, mow lawns or shovel snow.

These workers can spend much of their time on their feet, sometimes lifting and pushing heavy furniture and equipment. Many tasks, such as dusting and sweeping, require bending and stretching and workers often use noisy cleaning equipment. Some tasks, such as cleaning bathrooms and trash rooms, can be dirty and mildly unpleasant.

Working conditions for janitors have changed somewhat in recent years, as many employers have begun to use better-designed equipment, including lightweight mopping systems, as well as more environmentally friendly products.

Many employers are altering their cleaning procedures to reflect the need to protect the environment, so the chemicals and procedures are more environmentally safe and user-friendly than in the past.

Some caretakers and building superintendents live in the buildings where they work, providing on-call service. While many enjoy dealing with the people who live or work in the building, they usually work alone and are responsible for calling in more specialized maintenance help when required.

Workers enjoy the independence that comes with being solely responsible for the upkeep of their building or area of responsibility, and take pride in doing their job well.

Insights from industry

The number of retired individuals involved in resident caretaking responsibilities in their buildings is in decline. However, openings in these areas will also result from worker turnover.

Knowledge of new environmentally friendly standards and associated products may be helpful as companies move towards more environmentally friendly cleaning methods.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Entry-level positions include janitorial and cleaning positions. Progression to supervisory cleaning positions is possible with additional training or experience. As well, some experienced workers may open their own company.

Some building caretakers may take on more building management responsibilities with experience and training, such as the administrative tasks of advertising vacancies, enforcing residential tenancy laws and processing security deposit refunds. Experienced caretakers and building superintendents can go on to property management or building management positions.

Additional resources