One of the largest integrated facilities services companies in the United States now has the ability to reach beyond North America’s borders.

UNICCO® Service Co., based in Newton, Mass., recently became an affiliate member of Service Management International (SMI), a joint venture of three major European facility service companies. UNICCO has exclusive rights to provide facilities services to SMI consortium customers in North America. Meanwhile, SMI can now extend its support service lines to additional global markets.

“This is not a consolidation of HVACR contractors,” stressed George Lohnes, vice president, marketing, UNICCO. “Rather, it is a cooperative relationship that extends the SMI consortium to North America. Many of our customers are multinationals that strive for standardization, quality, and consistency across international borders.

“The SMI/UNICCO relationship is a way for UNICCO to respond to customers’ requests for an international services organization that reflects their organizational goals by delivering consistent, quality service worldwide.”


With more than 16,000 employees and $700 million in annualized revenues, UNICCO offers maintenance, operations, cleaning, lighting, and administrative/office services for corporate and multitenant office, education, retail, industrial, government, and public venue facilities. It will be doing more of the same for SMI’s customers, both inside and outside of North America.

“At UNICCO, we know facilities services well - from custodial through operations and maintenance, for commercial, industrial, educational and government customers,” commented Michael Dunn, senior vice president. “We also know the North American market and quickly ramp up new accounts on a routine basis. With SMI, we have the flexibility to offer the same level of service internationally to our customers, and SMI gains immediate access to the market through what we consider to be the best facilities services company in North America.”

According to Lohnes, UNICCO has been delivering “dependable, innovative, and cost-effective” integrated facilities services in North America for over 50 years. He noted that the company provides operations and management services for HVAC in commercial, industrial, education, public venue, and other customer accounts.

“We use a combination of in-house staff, contractors, and manufacturers’ service providers, depending on location, equipment warrantees, and other factors,” explained Lohnes.

“We use the most advanced tools and techniques including CMMS (computerized maintenance management systems), employing preventative and predictive maintenance techniques.”

By joining forces with SMI, UNICCO is bound to get larger.

“Many of UNICCO’s customers are multinational companies. And in some cases, they are running the same processes in multiple locations. That makes their maintenance and operations international, and they often organize their companies accordingly,” said Lohnes. “Some of them have asked UNICCO to support them in other markets. We found that affiliating with SMI is the most efficient way for us to do that while delivering the quality that UNICCO customers have come to expect.

The flip side, he said, is that the new association gives UNICCO the opportunity to participate by serving the North American needs of SMI clients based in Europe and other geographies that have operations in North America. As a result, the company may just need to employ and subcontract more HVACR contractors in and outside the United States.

“This relationship is a net gain for the industry,” said Lohnes. “Anything that makes international business ‘frictionless’ is positive for the North American market. Although UNICCO self-performs a large portion of their mechanical business, there are substantial opportunities for HVACR contractors to serve as subcontractors on large facilities solutions proposals. This is particularly true in situations where there are multiple smaller locations spread across a large geography.”


SMI is equally pleased with having UNICCO on its side. Though it did not respond to questions sent byThe NEWS, the company supplied a general observation from Juergen Kulka, managing director for SMI.

“SMI welcomes UNICCO,” said Kulka. “Through UNICCO, SMI now has substantial access to the North American market. We can offer our customers the same package of services that we provide in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia from a prestigious facilities services contractor. We look forward to working with UNICCO to develop and support new business in the North American marketplace.”

SMI provides both business development and operational services, which includes engineering, through “top-tier facilities services providers.” With these service providers in hand, it said it can give multinational and global companies the flexibility to structure facilities services contracts “that transcend national borders.”

Founded in 2000, the consortium simply enables companies “to post a single tender to be delivered by multiple affiliated contractors under a single management structure and reporting system,” it stated in a press release.

As noted on its Website, SMI and its operating units offer a whole bundle of different support service lines. The number of core competences might vary by country, but it said its network of companies are structured for flexibility. It said it could offer the choice of single or bundled services, as well as the capability to manage the small portion of services it does not provide itself.

In regard to engineering maintenance, SMI said its companies manage and deliver “a comprehensive range of maintenance for engineering services in administration buildings and manufacturing premises, with emphasis on larger sites, expert clients, and long term relationships. Its engineering maintenance services include estate maintenance, which includes HVAC maintenance, mechanical and electrical systems, boiler maintenance, lighting, plumbing and water hygiene.

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Publication date:03/19/2007