Certsure LLP is a leading UK-based organisation dedicated to providing professional services and certification to a wide range of customers across the building services sector. Trading as either NICEIC, NICEIC Certification or ELECSA, Certsure ensures that the installation certification they provide to electrical, heating and plumbing, microgeneration and renewable installers is impartial, and matches the various Building Regulations requirements within the United Kingdom. Certsure is the largest certifier in the UK, with over 85% of the market share.
Certsure uses an in-house developed system, NICEIC Online Certification, to allow its registered contractors to create, administer, and issue electrical compliance certificates, as well as to notify whether the completed work complies with the Building Regulations.
Electricians conducting inspections at clients' premises had to complete the complex certificate forms via the Online Certification web app. Use of the web app was inefficient, and there was no way to complete the certificate without internet access.
Recognising the importance of providing applications where and when they are needed, improving the overall customer experience, and minimising errors, Certsure commenced development of a mobile version of their Online Certification System.
While progress was made during the in-house development of the mobile application's initial parts, other priorities prevented its timely completion. Certsure decided to look for an external supplier with relevant experience and expertise to complete the project and launch it. With a pedigree of almost 30 years of developing and maintaining complex custom applications, Objectivity was chosen to complete this business-critical application.
Certsure’s main project requirements and needs:
- Inspections are usually carried out in hard-to-reach places, such as basements, where a small amount of space does not permit easy use of laptops.
- There is a need to complete certificates in the offline mode because the inspected places are often difficult to access, and the internet connection is intermittent at best.
- Customer experience had to be improved by enabling contractors (electricians) to complete and submit forms while still on-site, with relevant validation and error checking.
- They were looking to reduce the amount of work needed to be done while back at the office and away from the site.
The goal was to have a stable well-tested application that supports the three most widely used certificates (MEIWC, DEIC, DEICR) ready for mass rollout to users as soon as possible. With the need to support various end-user devices, Xamarin was adopted as the development technology due to its ability to work flawlessly on iOS and Android devices (including tablets). Operation in both online and offline modes was essential.
The project and the need to release the application to market coincided with the global COVID-19 pandemic. Objectivity's experience as a nearshore custom software provider was essential to the success of the project. All requirement gathering, design, development, and testing are conducted remotely while still liaising regularly with key client contacts and stakeholders.
An agile implementation approach was adopted, across a small number of sprints, with regular demonstration and progress reviews. With Objectivity’s team of five people, the project was finished in just under three months.
Such complex certificates made regular feedback and reviews an essential part of the development process. The importance of engagement with Certsure's Product Owner and industry specialists cannot be emphasised enough. The definition of the implementation of validation rules ensures that contractors on-site can be confident that all relevant information has been correctly recorded and submitted. A true partnership between the two organisations developed to ensure the delivery of this robust and feature-rich application.
What we achieved
Both Certsure and the electrical contractors have benefitted from this project. Certsure can be confident that the quality and timeliness of submissions has improved. The contractors can certify that the information they are now gathering on-site is complete and that rework, including potential revisits to the site, is minimised, if not eradicated.
As information is collected on-site, there is a significant reduction of time spent after the inspection, collating and submitting information at the desk. The application can work both online and offline, which prevents data loss and provides ease of operation. Data is automatically synchronised once the user is online, making the overall process more efficient and solving the problems with internet coverage.
Objectivity have been a great supplier and we have had a strong, constructive working relationship with them. Everyone we have dealt with has been extremely helpful and professional. Their knowledge, expertise and approach helped to understand our requirements quickly and to deliver the project successfully.
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