Showing posts from May, 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.

Asbestos consultancies are branching out with Coronavirus indoor air quality surveys

Several of our Alpha Tracker users who have previously focused on asbestos have now turned their attention to indoor air quality, especially with growing evidence that the dangers of Coronavirus are significantly higher indoors vs outdoors.

For example, see this blog post from Euro Environmental regarding their indoor air quality surveys:

Another useful "asbestos management during the Coronavirus crisis" post by BOHS

BOHS has been active over the last few weeks with helpful guidance on working safely with asbestos during the Coronavirus crisis.

Here is their latest post:

Jack is now Cyber Security trained & certified - congratulations Jack!

We're pleased to announce that our developer Jack has now completed his Cyber Security training.

 Jack now has certifications in:

- safe device use
- manager awareness
- managing online risks
- protecting information
- keeping safe online.

Congratulations Jack and well done for increasing your skills and that of our team.

Useful BOHS blog post about how to return to work safely

Here at Start Software, we have been largely working from home during the virus crisis supporting our asbestos consultancy clients using Alpha Tracker.

We're now planning how we can return to work from the office.  The novelty of working from home has certainly worn off for many in the team.  More importantly, we're finding it less efficient and less productive when doing project work.

Clearly, safety is critical when planning the "new normal" and so we've been reading the government guidance and documents from other bodies.

BOHS has posted this really useful guide:

Alpha Tracker Legionella users - Public Health England issues post-lockdown guidance

If your environmental consultancy uses Alpha Tracker to produce Legionella reports, you might be interested in this post from PHE (Public Health England).

"Businesses have been told to flush out the water supply in their buildings before they reopen, in order to prevent spreading the potentially deadly Legionella bacteria.

Public Health England (PHE) guidance says there should be "regular flushing" of the water system at the likes of dental practices, hairdressers, gyms and hotels, as well as office buildings, to stop bacterial growth.

Premises are also required to undertake a detailed review of all aspects of their water management system before reopening amid the continuing coronavirus lockdown."
If you would like to see what Alpha Tracker can do to improve and automate your Legionella processes, please do get in touch.

Dan needs a bonus?!

We just received a lovely comment from a large UK utility using asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

"Your support has been first class & I really appreciate that.

@Elaine – Dan needs a bonus (LOL)"

Dan has been helping the client to import data from existing databases and spreadsheets, and has been creating new system options within Alpha Tracker to help customise the software to suit the client's needs.

Nice one Dan!

More Alpha Tracker report template questions answered!

We've had lots of follow-up questions from asbestos consultants following this blog  In that post we talked about how report templates work in asbestos software Alpha Tracker and how we make use of Word and Excel to automatically create reports which are exactly like your hand-written ones... clients will not tell the difference!

Here are some of the best of the questions sent in - keep them coming!

Q: What type of report change can I do myself, and which do you (Start Software) need to do?

A: Our report templates are Word documents in the main (some are Excel) and so, in theory, any change can made by anyone able to use Word.  In practice, cosmetic changes are very easy to do but changes affecting the structure of the report may be best done by the Start Software support desk. For example, if you want to include a new type of exec summary or a new chart showing a colour-coded view of the asbestos found on site - these changes would be best made by us.

Q: You said in the video that most changes are done for free - is that right?

A: Yes, the Alpha Tracker support contracts and Tracker Mobile subscriptions pay for your 24x7 personal support including report changes if they are straightforward and relate to the templates we originally set up for you.  If the report changes are difficult or relate to brand new templates, we may quote you for the time needed.  

Q: Can signatures be included on reports?  At the moment my surveyors are physically signing printed copies of reports and then scanning them back in

A: Yes! Alpha Tracker has a feature whereby you can store a surveyor's signature in the system and then automatically include it on reports without her/him ever having to sign a physical document again!  Naturally, the signatures only appear on final reports, not drafts

Q: Why does Alpha Tracker use a document queue to produce reports?  Why not produce them instantly?

A: Virtually all of our asbestos consultant clients hold hard-earned accreditations and have a controlled process to generate a draft report, have it checked, then issue as an authorised final document to clients.  The queue enables that process to happen in a controlled way as well as enabling consultancies with 100s of surveyors to manage their workload.  For smaller consultancies only producing one or two reports at a time, the queue is normally empty anyway - so the reports are generally produced "instantly" anyway

Q: We've been told by your competitors that report changes take weeks to complete - is that fair?

A: NO! We pride ourselves on our ability to turn around work in the timescales that work for our clients.  We don't always manage to do this, of course, we're not perfect and nor is any business! However, our ability to work "around the clock" via our staff in Australia and Indonesia mean that we have taken instructions at 5pm in the UK and have had new report templates produced by 9am the following morning! 

Are virtual asbestos courses the post-Coronavirus future?

Our asbestos software Tracker user Environmental Essentials has passed the BOHS approval process to deliver virtual courses - congratulations Environmental Essentials! See their post here.

Is this the future of P402 & P405 asbestos training in 2020 now in a post-lockdown asbestos world?  Post your comments and let us know.

Highly recommended - the Asbestos Knowledge Empire Podcast

If you've not discovered Acorn's terrific "Asbestos Knowledge Empire Podcast" yet, do subscribe and listen.  

We featured on the podcast a year or so ago, featured here:

Here are the links for you to subscribe and listen - enjoy!

New Alpha Tracker system goes live at NZAS - New Zealand Asbestos Services

With New Zealand almost back to normal after their fast and decisive approach to the Coronavirus crisis, it is great to see asbestos consultancies in NZ active, busy and switching across to asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

The latest asbestos consultancy to come on board is New Zealand Asbestos Services, based in Napier.  Judy from our Adelaide Alpha Tracker office trained the NZAS staff via Zoom to get them up to speed.

Fullu accredited and with experienced asbestos professionals, NZAS welcome enquiries from new clients via their website (click here).

Can we help your asbestos consultancy to improve quality, efficiency and save 1000s of admin hours each year?  Do get in touch (UK or New Zealand/Australia).

New Tracker Air (asbestos air monitoring) features - are "brilliant"!

We had a lovely email yesterday from an asbestos software Alpha Tracker user regarding the new Tracker Air features.

The asbestos lab went on to say that the update "saves a lot of time for our site analysts" - happy to be of help!

Report templates within Alpha Tracker - your questions answered (we hope!)

How does Alpha Tracker produce an asbestos report or a fire risk assessment or Legionella analysis?

How do templates work?

Can Alpha Tracker produce reports that look *exactly* like the reports I issue now?

Can I change my own templates?

This video will answer all of these questions, and more!

If there are unanswered questions, please do get in touch.  All of our team are working and ready to help you.

Another new Alpha Tracker system goes live: West Yorkshire Analytical Services

West Yorkshire Analytical Services are now live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker!

After a socially-distanced training session via Zoom (in Zoom-friendly 40 minute chunks), the asbestos lab staff are now up to speed and working in Alpha Tracker

Alpha Tracker can efficiently manage and automate the whole of a lab's operations from booking in samples, through lab analysis and finishing up with issuing invoices to clients.  Truly a one-stop-shop for an asbestos lab.

If we can help your asbestos lab to become more efficient please do get in touch.

COVID-19 updates from ISO for environmental consultancies

ISO has just published a whole set of useful updates for environmental consultancies using Alpha Tracker, all relating to COVID-19 and coronavirus.

See for details.

Guide available from Alpha Tracker user Tetra Consulting: Protecting Your Workforce During The Coronavirus

One of our valued clients and asbestos software Alpha Tracker users, Tetra Consulting, has published a useful guide to working safely during the Coronavirus crisis.

Tetra Consulting's excellent guide to working safely

UKAS has published their latest Coronavirus update

UKAS has now published the latest issue of Update, their quarterly newsletter. This issue focuses on their response to the Coronavirus pandemic and includes articles about an extension to scope for COVID-19 testing, remote assessments and virtual training.  This will be of interest to our asbestos consultancy clients running asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

Find out more here:

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