Housing association Dunedin Canmore is one of the largest SELECT Members to have introduced the SELECTcerts certification software. The organisation is now ready to roll out to all electrical staff – which includes six electricians, an apprentice and back office support staff. With a ‘go live’ date in April all the requisite employees will be trained to use the system, and, overnight, paper certificates will become a thing of the past. Here CABLEtalk visits Dunedin Canmore’s office in Loanhead, Edinburgh, and gets a privileged insight into how the new system is working.
WITH 6,500 rental properties on its books housing association and SELECT Member Dunedin Canmore has a busy job keeping up a strict inspection and testing regime.
Safety is paramount and each flat or house in its area of operation – Edinburgh, East, Lothian, West Lothian and Fife – is tested every five years or when vacated by a tenant.
Dunedin Canmore is currently trialling the system – which recently added “offline” functionality to its capabilities – and hopes to be fully operational by April.
Kevin Blackley, an electrician who now serves as Team Leader, has been using the system for the last couple of months.
Although he says there were a few teething troubles – primarily relating to the hardware rather than the SELECTcerts software itself – he has worked with SELECT’s Technical Services Manager Bob Cairney and software architects Avanti Computer Scene to address 3G connectivity issues.
He explains: “Originally we were on 3G and we were getting problems with connectivity on site and we were losing some data but we’ve now been given 4G and it’s so much better. We’re pretty much ready to go now and hopefully we’ll have all six electricians using the system. It’ll mean we can go completely paper free and save all that extra time and money on unnecessary forms.”
The mainstay of the electrical work carried out by Dunedin Canmore relates to the completion of the electrical installation condition reports.
The recently passed Housing (Scotland) Bill prescribes that all social landlords must adhere to inspection checks every five years.
As we sit at Kevin’s desk we quickly realise the best way to see the system truly in action is to go on a site visit.
Senior electrician John Wales has been trialling the system – which Dunedin Canmore has rolled out on Lenovo tablets – and we see from the screen log of jobs that he’s currently at a property in the Gilmerton Dykes area of the city.
Before we head off Kevin explains that from ‘his end’ he can only see the completed report once John has added his electronic signature and syncs with the main database.
He explains: “When it comes back to me with a tick, that means the job has been done so when I click on it you see that the certificate has been completed – in this case an electrical installation condition report – that’s more or less what we do.”
The condition report shows whether the overall installation is satisfactory or unsatisfactory – and, crucially, whether any remedial work needs to be carried out. Kevin shows an example report and the values which are output from the electrician’s test. He says he checks the values to make sure they are within the required range before adding his own electronic signature. Importantly, the electrician and the team leader checking the work cannot alter each others’ fields of the database, ensuring the system cannot be abused.
We take one of the vans to Gilmerton Dykes where two families are busy exchanging properties. Amid the customary mayhem of a house move we are met by John Wales and apprentice Callum who are carrying out the electrical test.
John – who is trialling the system on his Lenovo tablet – says: “It’s really good. There’s one or two small things that take time to get the hang of, but otherwise
it’s been pretty easy to use and saves on paper.”
When we return to the office the test carried out by John is there to see. All fields have been marked as good or satisfactory, with John’s signature signing the job off.
Kevin adds: “I look over all the observations to see whether any follow- up work is required. In this case there
is no RCD protection, which is classed as a ‘C3’. That means the work is recommended to happen at some point but it is not safety critical. In a lot of cases the electrician will just do it while they are there anyway.”
When the certificate has passed through Kevin’s hands it gets sent to the customer service centre, and is scanned in as a permanent record of the check.
Kevin adds: “Any SELECT Member thinking about ‘going electronic’ should certainly consider trying SELECTcerts. In my view it’s the most cost-effective option available. It’s simple to use and it meets the bulk of our electrical certification requirements. We’ve also been delighted with the level of support given during our trial period.”