Our seminar at Bletchley Park was very successful. The speakers addressed many of the wide-ranging issues pertinent to the management of the CDM and Asbestos regulations making this a particularly informative occasion. Keynote speaker Stephen Wright, the Health & Safety Executive's CDM policy maker, has invited widespread participation in the consultative discussions on the future of these important regulations. Anyone thinking that the CDM regulations may just slip away un-noticed should think about what was said and what was proposed at the seminar. Stephen's presentation slides are available for download with all the other presentation material on our web site.
Thanks are due to our partners at Callsafe, Heald Solicitors, Griffiths & Armour and Mouchel Parkman for their contribution to the event and to the Bletchley Park team and tour guides. If the feedback was anything to go by, attendees are looking for more of the same next time. This could be a good time to book your place on-line for 22nd April 2004 at this year's prices.
It has been my pleasure to review the latest updates to ToolKit CS™. Our first product, CDM ToolKit™ was launched in 1995 and has enjoyed many successes with organisations large and small over the years. ToolKit CS™ is a completely new product first released in 2002. It was developed to combine both CDM and Asbestos document management on a single, but large, database, accessible from anywhere, by anyone with access rights, and at any time, day or night, to meet their own management needs.
It is fair to say that CDM management has settled down. Since the 2001 ACoP, the main activity has been on the enforcement front. Most of us are waiting to see what the HSE, and Stephen Wright in particular, come up with after they progress through the consultative stage of the CDM Regulation revisions over the coming months. From a software point of view, this has allowed us to devote our efforts on consolidating what was already a very functional CDM management tool into one that is more resilient, more flexible, and with user interfaces that are even easier to use in technical environments that are forever advancing.
New features include the provision of a Report Editor. In addition to creating a document to any format within a project, and with the ability to insert project based data fields, Users now have an editor to provide management reports to their own design as well. Task reminders and recurring tasks have been added. Letters can be raised from templates in any project and mailed to individual lists of addressees. CDM date lists have been enhanced in the project summary screens. There are summary consoles and reports for projects so that managers can easily monitor where the regulations are not being met and can audit the actions being taken to correct this.
We see the way forward for CDM Management as one of integration across groups of users, internal and external to the organisation, sharing and exchanging information online by whatever means the user demands. As a Microsoft Certified Partner, we have no doubt that the implementation strategy of most organisations can be serviced with technology that is already understood and in most cases we have first hand knowledge of. This is seen as a low risk strategy for all concerned and we have product ready to fulfil this now, from standalone to Enterprise based systems.
Whereas CDM issues are generally about managing small amounts of data on many projects, asbestos issues are about managing large amounts of data for any number of properties! We have had to learn the needs and expectations of asbestos surveyors, carrying out surveys using anything from a pencil and paper, to wireless based handhelds; asbestos laboratories doing their bulk analyses, and duty holders carrying out their mandatory inspections and risk assessments. These needs are all inter-related. Most are currently met using paper based output, which in the main become heavy, dead and dusty very quickly. The informed duty holders, and the HSE, readily see the need for large database solutions. Asbestos surveyors see the opportunity to 'tie in' duty holders to their survey 'systems'. The duty holders, in the main, have a duty that they would prefer to live without; they see their duty is 'extra' to what they are paid to do. Many readers will readily see the similarities with CDM in 1995. So how can we possibly help and add value?
Our orientation is on the needs of the duty holder; we see this as fundamental to the management process. The data collected from any survey, whether it is entered by a ToolKit CS™ user or imported from a surveyors data file, must include information required by the regulations and not just information 'supplied' by the surveyor. Non-required information is filtered out; misnamed information can be renamed to fit in with the legislation. The user is left in control throughout with immediate access to up-to-date asbestos registers, linked floor plans and summary consoles highlighting risk assessment scores and task schedules to continually monitor and manage the asset portfolio.
Risk assessments need to be carried out by the duty holder; this is accommodated in the software. It is easy to do. Risk assessment will eventually include intelligent routines, run with parameters set up by the user that recommend tasks for the management of individual items of asbestos. We are currently testing our solution for this and welcome any enquires about it. Tasks are set up and assigned to users as required and can be recurring where necessary. The risk assessment includes the full MAS / PAS / RAS process through a simple-to-use algorithm as defined by the HSE. Imported survey data is included in the process so that the duty holder benefits from all the information available at the time of the risk assessment, which then becomes part of the asbestos register of information across the entire estate as required.
Floor Plans are required to make the interpretation of property-based data easy. We have written a bespoke floor plan editor that takes any plan from any data source, allows the user to overlay it with graphical and text information. Once completed, the user can use a simple query to locate a property, bring up the property register and floor plan and review all the known information about the items with which they are concerned.
Asset managers have been asking for a 'worst case scenarios' system that caters for, for example, large housing portfolios. Managers have been unable to carry out 100% surveys of large asset stock to date and many are unlikely to do so before next May when the duty to manage takes effect. We can now provide a tool that allows un-inspected properties to be 'linked' to one that becomes the 'worst case' of that stock type. As the stock is inspected, they are 'unlinked' so that, in time, the stock will become 100% inspected; one day! In the meantime, mangers can take a view of their portfolio on the 'presumed' basis as entered at the time and as required by Law.
Please review our web pages or call us for more information on our CDM and Asbestos Management products. Product data sheets are available as PDF file downloads from our web site or as printed copies on request from Ai Solutions.