Showing posts from August, 2014

About Start Software

Start Software is an award-winning developer and leading publisher of asbestos software, systems for the legal services industry and more.

Want to know more about asbestos software Alpha Tracker? Alpha Tracker is the most used asbestos software in the UK, Australia & New Zealand with more than 60m items of asbestos data stored.

Our legal services software Alpha Legal helps will writers, accountants, solicitors, IFAs and estate agents to communicate securely with clients. Read about developments here on the blog.

Or need help with Alpha Anywhere or Alpha Transform projects or software development? You'll find useful info here.

Alpha Tracker Document Maker v1.4.326 SVN52 released

The latest version of Alpha Tracker Document Maker (v1.4.326 SVN52) has passed through testing and is now available for download.

Alpha Tracker users generating complex quotation documents will notice most improvements.

If you are not sure how to apply the update, please contact the office as usual for advice.

Welcome AANZ to the Alpha Tracker family

Asbestos specialists AANZ are the latest Christchurch-based asbestos consultancy to join the Australia and New Zealand Alpha Tracker family!

John's Christchurch HQ
On the way over to meet John and his asbestos surveying, asbestos removal, demolition and salvage colleagues today the taxi driver took me on a small diversion to look at new housing estates devastated by the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Whole streets of new houses have either been demolished or have been declared as unfit for habitation as they are now structurally unsound.  Quite an eye-opener:

inspection notices were on all properties showing they were not fit to inhabit
the worst properties had been completely demolished
most properties had windows broken in the quake
subsidence crack - some properties had drops of 1m or more

Seeing first-hand Christchurch (New Zealand)'s post-earthquake rebuild operation and the asbestos problem they are facing

I'm on a working holiday in Australia and New Zealand, talking to asbestos auditors, asbestos consultants and asbestos removal businesses about our asbestos software, Alpha Tracker.

Now that I'm in Christchurch I've been able to see first-hand the damage caused by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes (see and the enormous rebuilding process they have begun.  Asbestos is proving to be a massive problem in the demolition and rebuilding phases and it has caused a real jolt in the local asbestos industry.

Here are some of the photos I've taken today in central Christchurch:

in central Christchurch at one of the building sites

the enormous damage to Christchurch Cathedral

an info board explaining which buildings collapsed and which survived

asbestos is proving to be a real problem in the rebuild phase

Christchurch's new cardboard Cathedral!
If you would like more information about Alpha Tracker, contact Judy in our Adelaide (Australia) office (via or Elaine in our Telford (UK) office (via

July 2014's monthly update to Alpha Tracker has been released (SVN610)

July 2014's monthly update to Alpha Tracker is now publicly available.  This is update SVN610.

Over the course of the last month, we've been working hard to incorporate new features into Alpha Tracker. Altogether we've made 80 improvements and bug fixes in this release since June's update (SVN530).
All new features are fully documented in both the release notes and updated User Guides.

New features in SVN610

The key new features are as follows:

1 The client portal has a new integrated plan viewer

2 If your company allows staff to schedule their own work, you'll appreciate the new options for enabling consultants to "accept and schedule" the jobs assigned to them.  The new features also allow for jobs to be rejected or re-allocated to other consultants

3 You can now control alert emails which will be sent when new projects are created

4 There is a now a warning if you attempt to delete a project type which has been selected within one or more projects

5 The invoice format has been adjusted to better accommodate larger addresses

6 AlphaValidator is now fully incorporated into Alpha Tracker enabling data to be checked on upload and before report production.  Up to 36 different data checks can be performed!

7 Alpha Tracker now automatically takes a backup of system files before updates are applied, just in case

8 A default building can now be auto-added on project creation

9 You can now decide whether the survey screen should auto-close on save or not.  This one feature divides our customer base... some love it and some hate it!!

10 Another divisive one this... you can now choose whether approving a report stops future report production or not

11 A "live" site asbestos register is now available for viewing within the Site screen itself.  You can also manually update asbestos records from this screen AND see the history of an item.  Associated with this feature is...

...12 re-inspections can now be generated from this site register screen including long-awaited features for re-inspection records to be marked as pending and not go straight to an inspector's handset

13 The Survey Details screen has been cosmetically redesigned with the key change being the moving of the "Re-use Data" option

14 You can now generate or view Quotes, Projects and Other Info records direct from the Site screen

15 The Quotation screen has been redesigned to make it clearer

16 Project List is now filterable by Client ID

17 You can now change the on-screen name for "VAT" (sales tax) to suit your particular country and legislation, and...

...18 you can also call an "invoice" something else if you wish to suit your needs

19 The Event Description is no longer used when creating appointments so has been removed from the screen, and last, but not least

20 Each building can now have a specific and customised list of floor names so that reports can be presented exactly as your client would want.

For more information on any of these features, please contact the office as usual.

AlphaValidator updated and ready for download

The latest version of AlphaValidator, v1.0.34 SVN13, is now ready and available for download.

This latest version has new data checks, improves some of the existing ones (especially when checking close-up photos) and has cosmetic improvements too.

AlphaValidator is our flexible data checking and validation tool which can perform up to 36 different automated checks when an asbestos surveyor uploads data and/or before an asbestos report is produced. The checks can be survey-specific or more general - contact the office for advice.

New version of Tracker Upload Manager available - v1.0.155 SVN30

The latest Tracker Upload Manager has been released and is available now for download from

Tracker Upload Manager is part of the Alpha Tracker and Tracker software family and has the job of processing incoming data and photos from asbestos surveyors and other environmental auditing staff (using Tracker Mobile).

This latest version, v1.0.155 SVN30, improves the logging of actions in the system (useful if a surveyor queries data sent in) and also has an improved link to our new data validation system, AlphaValidator.

If you need help to download the update, please contact the office as usual.

July 2014 update to Alpha Tracker in final testing

Our latest monthly update to Alpha Tracker is at Beta 10 and is in the final testing phase.  It will be released publicly later this week with many improvements including:

- more flexible asbestos re-inspection processing
- improved site registers
- performance improvements especially when searching
- more system settings to enable you to change the way the system works for more flexible operation
- new ways to operate job scheduling to suit organisations where staff schedule their own work.

Please keep an eye on the blog for final release information.

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