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Service Level Agreement - Grounds and Gardens


  1. Service Delivery
  2. Routine Grounds Maintenance
  3. Seasonal Grounds Maintenance
  4. Arboriculture
  5. Miscellaneous Works
  6. Waste and Recycling

1. Service Delivery

  1. Duration of Agreement: This agreement is an open ended agreement which will remain open indefinitely unless withdrawn, terminated or superseded.
  2. Description of Services: This Service Level Agreement covers the provision of a Grounds Maintenance Service for the University campuses at Waldegrave Road and Teddington Lock. It excludes smaller satellite locations where the service may vary significantly or be contracted out by the Grounds Management Staff within Estates and Campus Services.
  3. General Services: The Grounds Team will:
    1. provide contact via the Facilities Helpdesk during operational hours of 08:00-16:00 Monday to Thursday, 08:00 to 15:00 Friday.
    2. Be professional at all times.
    3. Monitor the quality of work to maintain professionally managed attractive Grounds and Gardens.
    4. Comply fully with relevant legislation.
    5. Maintain good Health and Safety practice observing Grounds Specific Risk Assessments for tasks and equipment.

2. Routine Grounds Maintenance

  1. Mowing: The Grounds Team will mow grass areas from March to December to maintain grass height of between 25mm and 75mm. Weather conditions may result in grass length exceeding the specified limits; in this case the grass will be cut as soon as practicable once conditions improve.
  2. Strimming: The Grounds Team will strim areas where mowers cannot access, the edges of mown areas, and obstacles within them every third mowing cycle.
  3. Flail Mowing: Rough areas such as the woodland understorey and rear of DeMarillac Halls of residence will be flail mown prior to finishing off by strimming approximately every six weeks during the mowing season unless conditions deem it unnecessary or not suited, in these instances it will resume as soon as appropriate.
  4. Edging: The Grounds Team will re-form and edge lawns and beds annually with edging irons and shears.
  5. Pruning and Hedge cutting: Pruning and Hedge cutting will take place annually and shrubs will be pruned to maintain consistent size and shape once they have reached the desired size and form. Where possible the Grounds Team will routinely shred prunings at the work site and return them to the ground in the area they were removed from to compost in situ. Where this is not possible due to unsuitability or noise restrictions they will be removed and shredded in an area designated for the disposal of green waste.
  6. Leaf Clearance: Leaf will be collected and cleared from areas throughout the year. Primarily this will be in the months of October through to January but species dropping leaves or debris at other times will also be collected and all leaf will be removed on a prioritised basis with high profile cleanliness and health and safety the priority.
  7. Weed Control: Weeds in paths and roads will be managed with the use of herbicide applications undertaken routinely four times per year with supplementary applications when necessary. Weeds in grass areas or shrub beds may be managed by either herbicide applications or by manually removing them or a combination of both.
  8. Sports Turf and Pitches:
    1. Sports turf will be maintained and managed in accordance with sports turf industry guidelines subject to resource, conditions and availability of the sports surfaces. Pitches will be provided and marked appropriately once a week with student sport and the academic program taking priority in their provision.
    2. The Grounds Team will set the season for provision of winter and summer sport facilities revising this annually subject to the academic year and the seasonal requirements of the maintenance program.
    3. The Grounds Team as the sports turf specialists within the University will make the decision as to the suitability of pitches for use and advise and make recommendations on sustainable levels of use. The Grounds Team will also make decisions related to cancellations of fixtures where their continuation will have a negative impact on the surface ongoing through the season.
    4. Any additional sports surface provision will be undertaken on agreement with the client. An assumption of agreement to the provision of additional facilities should not be made, in particular where inadequate notice or non-University core business, (student and academic use), is not the case as provision is not guaranteed by this SLA under those circumstances.
    5. Wildflower Meadow: The Grounds Management Team will continue to maintain the wildflower meadows with the use of specialist contracted services to ensure that the areas continue to remain an attractive frontage to the University premises at the South Western end of the Waldegrave Road campus and facing the Graham halls of residence. The perennial wildflowers will receive 4 annual maintenance visits. The annual wildflowers will need to be re-sown annually and the area cut and cultivated to facilitate this.

3. Seasonal Grounds Maintenance

    1. Sports Pitch Renovations: Sports pitch renovations of significant impact will take place at season closure, refer to item 2.8 for season date details. Some mid-season additional works will be undertaken as required when identified by the Grounds Team. For example this may include additional de-compaction work when poor drainage of heavy use indicates its worth.
    2. Pruning: Heavy,(rejuvenation), pruning, to reduce the height or width of hedges for example, or where work from a MEWP (mobile elevated work platform) is required, will take place annually or less frequently where appropriate:
    3. Snow and Ice clearance: The Grounds Team will clear snow and ice during periods of poor weather and will aim to keep the University open and operational at all times. The ‘Clearance of Snow and Ice Policy’ will provide a plan of action, priorities, and priority areas, and the extent of work undertaken.

4. Arboriculture

    1. Tree Survey: The Grounds Management Team will obtain an independent tree survey every three to five years. The Grounds Team will act on the outcome of the tree survey to address risk and ill health in trees to maintain a safe and aesthetically pleasing campus.
    2. Tree Works:
      1. The Grounds Team will routinely in every day activity observe and report back to the Grounds Management Team any observations that may indicate defects, ill health, risk, or damage to trees that requires attention. The Grounds management Team will assess and address these promptly subject to their inspection. Where deemed necessary the Grounds Management Team will seek additional independent advice for a second opinion.
      2. The Grounds Team with the support of contracted services will undertake works to promptly address issues of risk and ill health in trees to maintain a safe campus. All work undertaken to trees will also be undertaken and completed to a professional standard.
      3. Out of hours problems related to trees can be reported to the security office who will contact the Grounds Management Team who will then arrange swift action where risk to persons and/or property is a factor.
    3. Tree Planting: The Grounds Team will re-plant trees that die to maintain an aesthetically pleasing campus as is necessary. Trees will be planted in accordance with best practice. The Grounds Team will offer advice and assist where possible to facilitate any requests to plant trees by other University staff and students.
    4. Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Areas: The Grounds Team will seek permission from the local authority to work on trees subject to tree preservation orders or within conservation areas prior to commencement unless the risk requires swift action. Where risk necessitates swift action the Grounds Team will ensure adequate evidence of the need to proceed, including photographic evidence, is obtained prior to commencing or authorising works.

5. Miscellaneous Works

    1. Minor works: The Grounds Team will undertake some minor works linked to Grounds Maintenance tasks they are undertaking to improve campus aesthetics and facilitate more efficient undertaking of other Grounds tasks or to minimise risk associated with them. For example; The Grounds Team may install knee rail fencing to protect heavy wear areas of grass from pedestrians taking short cuts.

6. Waste and Recycling

    1. Waste Management: The Grounds Management Team as the liaison with waste contractors and legislative bodies will drive change in waste management practice. Change will be implemented by institution wide management structures.
    2. Litter Collection: The Grounds Team will undertake daily litter picking each weekday morning. Additional weekend litter picking will be by arrangement. Campus care tasks including continual daily litter picking will be sourced from contracted services by the wider Estates and Facilities Team.
    3. Waste Collection: Waste collection is undertaken by waste and recycling operatives working within the Grounds Team. This function does not remove the obligation of staff and students to use the facilities for the disposal of waste and recyclable materials correctly and has a primary role to empty litter bins and commercial size waste or recycling bins into waste compaction equipment for disposal.

7. Resource

    1. Budget and Labour Resource: All service provision and ability to deliver on this SLA in terms of both purchasing required materials and staff output is subject to the adequate provision of capital budget and staff resource to meet demand and obligation. At the time of writing the Team consists of 10 full time staff.