Showing posts from March, 2020

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.

RB Asbestos donate their stock of overalls to NHS staff

Our client and Alpha Tracker asbestos software user RB Asbestos has just donated all of their personal protective equipment (PPE) to NHS frontline staff to help them with the Coronavirus outbreak.  What a wonderful gesture!!

RB Asbestos has donated their stock of overalls to the NHS

Good checklist for mobile asbestos surveying software

One of the "new kids on the block" in the field of asbestos surveying software has published a check-list of important features for any on-site asbestos data capture tool.

We think it's a great list and our own ticks every box (of course).  It would be surprising if it didn't, given that we have captured more than 30,000,000 items of asbestos data from 1000s of asbestos surveyors in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

Here you go:

1 Mobile and Tablet Friendly – absolutely, Tracker Mobile works on any Android or Apple smartphone or tablet

2 Unrestricted Devices – again, absolutely, our products will work on anything

3 Good Offline Support – more than 30,000,000 items of data have been collected on our Tracker Mobile app… virtually all offline!! So I think we can tick that box…

4 Flexible Survey Templates – again, yes, we create templates in Word which Alpha Tracker uses to create your reports, and clients won’t be able to spot an Alpha Tracker-generated one versus one done by hand

5 Fast On-Site Data Collection – our app won’t win any prizes for looks but goodness me it is quick to use.  Take a look at the seven 3-minute videos here (scroll down to “SEE TRACKER MOBILE IN ACTION”) to see how fast and easy it is.  For example, duplicate an entire room with one tap!

6 Simple Quality Assurance – any data collected by a surveyor can be sent to any other handset for QA purposes.  Dead easy.

If you want to see their checklist, click here, we welcome any comparisons from Alpha Tracker to any other asbestos software product.

Updated UK government Coronavirus advice for tradespeople working in people's homes (eg asbestos surveyors)

This is the latest guidance for tradespeople, issued this morning (26 March, 2020):

The key paragraph is:

So it appears that asbestos surveying, for example, is permissible at least for now - as long as social distancing is possible and adhered to, and that neither the surveyor nor the occupant are showing signs of symptoms or are self-isolating.

Hope that helps in these difficult times.

How the UK's response to Coronovirus is affecting asbestos surveyors

A quick call around some of our asbestos consultancy clients using Alpha Tracker yesterday resulted in some interesting and useful feedback to share.

Most of our clients are continuing largely as normal but with office staff working from home where practical.  Some asbestos surveyors are finding it difficult to gain entry to domestic premises, in particular, whereas others are finding that they are being welcomed into buildings that have fewer staff than normal to complete their asbestos-related tasks.

The latest instructions (at 24.3.2020) from the UK Government are here and contain this instruction about how work has been affected:

Clearly, asbestos surveying cannot be done from home and so appears to be OK for now, maintaining social distancing protocols, naturally.

The government minister Robert Jenrick has also appeared to confirm this in a Tweet:

Other construction websites are reporting that they are seeking clarification about whether "open air" sites are OK whereas confined spaces are not.  I guess there will be more clarification over the next few days.

Free mobile app development for workers collecting Coronavirus data

Are you a health worker or organisation needing to collect data relating to the Coronavirus pandemic?

Would a free app help you fight Coronavirus?
Do you want to collect information on mobile devices whether or not you have an Internet connection?

Would an app built in the next few days help you?

We will build an app for you for free.

Our partners at Mobile Data Studio have said that we can use their platform to build Coronavirus apps without any licence fees and we will also give our development time for free.

Please do get in touch if we can help.

24x7 support continues as normal - *not* affected by Coronavirus

For the reassurance of our many environmental & asbestos consultancy clients around the world, using Alpha Tracker to deliver a reliable and quality service to their clients, please be reassured that our 24x7 personal support service has not and will not be affected by Coronavirus restrictions.

Our remote working technologies mean that we are confident that we will continue to provide our quality support service even if travel to our offices becomes impossible.

It is business as usual here at Start Software and we hope that you also have been able to continue trading as normal in these uncertain times.  

If you have any specific concerns or questions, please do get in touch.

New calendar features in Alpha Tracker

Watch out for the scheduling updates coming in the next Alpha Tracker release, available within a few weeks.

Alpha Tracker calendar

Some of the improvements to the calendar include:

- creating appointments for multiple people at the same time
- more advanced "make a suggestion" features where Alpha Tracker finds gaps in diaries for you
- improved mapping
- quicker ways to make a calendar booking
- mobile access to your calendar via Alpha Tracker Mobile

Would you like to know more?  Get in touch!

Recommendation from Alpha Tracker client

Just had a call from an environmental consultancy interested in our asbestos software, Alpha Tracker.

They had been talking to another of our customers who had told them this:

"we are using Alpha Tracker from Start Software for the past couple of years and I find it miles better than T***S".

Nice... and thank you!

Business contingency plans are "business as usual" for us at Start Software

Here at Start Software we have been ISO9001 certified for well over a decade now and a fundamental part of our certification is demonstrating that we have a well-tested business continuity plan in case one or more of our offices or data centres become unavailable.

With the global worries about the CoVID 19 coronavirus and increasing numbers of countries taking action to reduce the movement of people, please be reassured that we have processes in place to ensure that our support, development and asbestos software services will all continue to run even if staff cannot come into the office, for whatever reason.

If you would like more information, please contact director Elaine Porter via 0333 301 1010 or our contact page.

Every day's a school day! Additional Alpha Tracker training available

Are you getting the most from your Alpha Tracker asbestos software?

Would your field staff benefit from some Tracker Mobile refresher training?

Are there features and benefits you think you're missing out on?

Get in touch!

We offer a range of training services either at your offices or at our training facility in Telford (just off the M54, west of Birmingham).

Another UK university chooses asbestos software Alpha Tracker

The University of Plymouth has chosen asbestos software Alpha Tracker to manage their asbestos.

The University of Plymouth has chosen Alpha Tracker
Plymouth joins a growing list of other UK universities and educational establishments using the market-leading asbestos software Alpha Tracker within their property estate.

This latest sale installation is in addition to these, all announced within the last few weeks:

West Yorkshire Analytical Services:

Agon Environmental:

Clarke Demolition:

If we can help your organisation in the UK, New Zealand or Australia to find, analyse and manage asbestos, get in touch! 

West Yorkshire Analytical Services choose asbestos software Alpha Tracker

We're delighted that West Yorkshire Analytical Services have chosen asbestos software Alpha Tracker to run their asbestos lab.

Find out more about Alpha Tracker's lab feature here:

Asbestos consultancy HSL Compliance go live with Alpha Tracker air monitoring

The HSL Compliance staff at their Altrincham office have received Tracker Air air monitoring training.  Tracker Air is a module of the Alpha Tracker asbestos software system from Start Software.

Here are two of the photos that our trainer Kim took during the Tracker Air sessions:

Alpha Tracker support desk performance - February 2020

Judged against our own high standards, we had a disappointing month in February with performance dropping slightly compared to January:

Alpha Tracker support desk performance - February 2020

We'll be working to improve this - although we're still hitting targets for nearly 92% of urgent problems, we think we can do better!

New Alpha Tracker Air Monitoring module available now

Our new asbestos software Alpha Tracker Air Monitoring module ("Tracker Air") is proving popular with clients.

Our new air monitoring software has some major advantages including a more flexible style of certificate printing. There is no direct printing on-site any more, the analyst sends the data into Alpha Tracker, the certificate is generated (using Word templates) and emailed back to the analyst (Word and PDF versions) which they can then print on-site or forward to the appropriate person.

To synchronise and receive the emailed certificate the analyst does now require an Internet connection or phone signal, but the benefits of using just Word templates (rather than HTML and Word templates) are clear:

  • flexibility and control over the formatting of the certificate templates
  • clients can have their own version of the Word templates – keeping the same content but customising the display
  • easy changes to the templates.

We'll blog some of the client stories and training sessions in the next day or two but, in the meantime, if you want more information please do get in touch.

Newlife charity thanks Start Software for donation

Remember that Start Software staff walked 3 million steps in January for the Newlife charity?  See

Letter thanking Start Software for the donation

We've had a lovely letter from Newlife thanking us for our donation.  Do follow their work and perhaps join up for their next challenge yourselves?

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