Best 18th Edition Certification Software for 2020
In a quest to help you all ditch the pen and pad once and for all, we compared the best 18th edition certification software for 2020.
We will be comparing which has the best features, is easiest to use and also cost effective.
If you are doing any form of 18th edition testing, whether condition reports or Electrical Installation Certificates, you will be much more economical if you invest in software. Modern duplicate pads are expensive, easy to damage on site and look unprofessional to the customer.
Factor in that you need a pad for EICs, another pad for EICRs and also another pad for testing schedules. Factor in a minor works duplicate pad and you have probably invested nearly the cost of the software! This will produce, at best 50 copies and need renewing. Not to mention the fact that at least some will get spoilt, whether accidentally tearing them or else writing incorrectly in boxes.
Yes there is a learning curve involved, you cannot simply pick up the tablet or computer and immediately write these up. However, modern software is easy to use and once you have a bit of experience of filling a couple in, you can save hours writing them up afterwards!
They look professional and one thing to remember, digital certificates are easy to store. Paper certificates are bulky and need proper filing in order to store long term. One particular modern type of software doesn’t even need your own digital storage space as you can store all your certificates in their cloud system!
What Platform Do You Intend To Use?
By this, I actually mean what hardware you intend to use. Some people like to write up rough notes on a pad and then copy up on computer afterwards (Note this method is slow)
Others might want to use handheld devices on site. There is software to run on modern smart phones (both iPhone and Android).
This system works well although personally I find having to enter rows of test results awkward with the smaller screen on a phone?
I don’t have a brand new phone, but it’s a Samsung Galaxy S9 which has a reasonably sized screen. Remember, filling in “on-site” is different to sat browsing on your phone.
My personal favourite method is using a Samsung Tablet running the software on app. You can buy very rigid cases to protect the tablet from bumps and knocks on site, indeed my tablet still looks like new inside despite being knocked about plenty of times on site.
Different 18th Edition Certification Software Available:
There are a number of differing softwares available. Once you have decided if you want to use laptop or phone (or even tablet), you may have to whittle down the list of available software.
Not every single piece of software will work (or has a version) cross platform.
Unfortunately I do not have any iPhone devices with which to test these particular softwares. As such, I will just list their features and give some insight as to what we’ve heard people say about each one’s merits.
NICEIC/ELECSA Online Certification
This is a system which we initially started using a couple of years back. The software is completely “web based” and is charged per certificate. The web based nature of the system is difficult to use properly on a phone or tablet and so you are all but stuck with the computer.
Another nail in the coffin for using it live on site is the need for constant internet connection. Whilst I appreciate this problem is becoming less of a thing, unless you live within a large city then there will still be places with only so-so signal.
Sod’s law dictates that place will be where you next EICR is, rendering your fancy online system useless!
Another gripe we had with the Certsure (owners of NICEIC/Elecsa) system was that of needing to press a lot of buttons, just to enter fields onto the test result schedule.
Adding a protective device required a lot of key presses and if completing overly large or complicated installations then this can add up to a lot of time.
The Certsure system is charged “per certificate” with no up front costs. This charging model works well for smaller contractors and companies just starting out as there are are no startup costs and no yearly “overhead”
If you do a lot of certificates, are particularly busy or need a system that can grow amongst your technicians then I don’t think these online systems fit that bill sadly.
Also the “per certificate” costs can make them expensive if you are doing plenty of them.
Tysoft Easycert is primarily a computer based application (Windows PC). This software allows a full selection of 18th edition electrical certificates to be produced.
It also contains model forms for solar certification, fire alarm installation and inspection and also a full range of emergency lighting certification.
The software is easy to use and relatively quick to enter the testing data into. Easycert has add on features which allow you to make your reports a little more in-depth, including adding comments and attaching photos.
Tysoft also have a mobile version which is available for a small extra charge. In our opinion, this is where this software comes into it’s own….
You can run the mobile app on either Android or Apple, either phone or tablet. You can then easily and securely sync your mobile device with your computer.
This is ideal for companies with multiple engineers as certificates can be worked on without internet access locally, then uploaded to Tysofts cloud server “workspace”. Then when you need to sync with the office PC you can simply download the data from the cloud server.
In this way each end of the exchange can do their part independently without having to liaise with each other or worry about issues with the other’s internet connection.
The software comes with a free year of “customer service package” included. This includes priority customer service, all updates and new certificates. The customer service package is also the access to the cloud server system. You need continued customer service package in order to pass data from PC to mobile (or vice-versa).
The costs for the Tysoft Package are best explained on their website. There is an initial cost for the software and then after the 1st year there is the ongoing support package.
However this worked out, per certificate, is far, far cheaper than using paper pads. Whilst you may think you would need to produce hundreds to break even on the cost of software, you would be wrong.
Saving that money for a solution that is scalable as your business grows and can save you literally hours of paperwork and administration is a no brainer.
On repeat EICRs, for example, you can reload the previous certificate details back onto the tablet. Then just record the new test results and you have saved having to copy out all the circuits details and protective devices.
Obviously any that have altered can be easily changed, but this method can save a really significant amount of time on larger and more complicated installations. For the team at electrical-assistance.co.uk, this is the best 18th edition certification software for 2020
iCertifi is a mobile-only 18th edition certification software. As you would guess from the title, this is iOS based an thus will only work on Apple mobile devices.
So no support for Android mobile devices, or office based administration via PC.
The big draw to the iCertifi software is the simplicity and low cost. If you do use apple mobile devices then you have the software direct to hand, able to produce PDF certificates that you can email direct to your customer.
iCertifi is available for a 3 Month cost of £29.99 which is the whole cost. There are no ongoing support costs and no “per-certificate” charges.
There is also a 6 month plan available for £45.99, or the most economical, a 12 monthly subscription for £64.99 (a saving of £54.97 over paying the 3 monthly subscription for a full year)
The software is kept up to date as long as you are within your subscription, so it should keep you current for the foreseeable future. The range of certificates is slightly less than with other EasyCert, however it includes the EIC, EICR, MEIWC & a few others.
This is a great solution for sole traders or people who want to make a jump from pads, but don’t want to be paying huge costs.
The only issue with this is that it is difficult to scale up to a business with different technicians. Ultimately the certificates can be issued by device rather than requiring the QS to sign them, as is the case with Easycert.
If you are doing low volume for general electrical works then iCertifi is a great low cost choice. If you are doing higher volume, need more control of the system or need administrator access, then for not a lot more money Easycert does represent a much better solution.
U Certify is a relative newcomer when compared to some of the other options on this list. Rather confusingly given the similar name, U Certify has nothing to do with iCertify!
Their website boasts that the software is “Designed by Electricians for Electricians“, and U Certify were finalists in the Electrical Industry Awards 2017.
The software is reasonably priced on a yearly subscription model. This is priced at £59.99 a year (ex VAT). This price gives you the initial licence and additional licences are available for staff/alternative devices at a reduced cost of £39.99 (ex VAT)
Whilst the software looks OK and is fairly easy to use, I don’t find the certificates as visually pleasing as with some other software. This might just be personal preference but I like the sharpness of a professional looking certificate.
U Certify do offer a free trial of their product so if it sounds like something you would be interested in then by all means run the trial and see what you think?
The Trimble FastTest certification software is part of a wider set of software Trimble offer to help run your electrical business.
This is called AmTech Office and is a pricey piece of software. However this is beyond the scope of this guide, and the FastTest software is available on it’s own. This certification software is priced at £195 (ex VAT)
The FastTest software is available on both Android & iOS, and enables mobile certificate filling in.
Whilst the FastTest software is good, the basic version lacks a lot of the more advanced features available elsewhere. Higher Tier versions of the software add some of these features to the Trimble offering, however the price is eye-watering at over £400.
For us, this cost is just too high to make the software a feasible option.
EDIS is a complicated piece of software aimed more at building managers and ensuring compliance with electrical regulations.
Unfortunately the website does not give a price for the software, so we can only assume that it isn’t cheap.
It does however complete 18th edition electrical certification and therefore earns itself a place in this guide
There are a number of videos on the website so you can bob over and take a look yourself, but you can’t help think of the old adage:
If you have to ask, you can’t afford it……
So there are a number of different types of certification software out there. It’s not always easy to choose the best 18th edition certification software as there are both positives and negatives to each particular software
One software may suit one business whilst another is more suited to someone else.
The upshot is that if you want to find the best 18th edition certification software for 2020 then you need to check the available options and see what solution works best for you.
Best 18th Edition Certification Software for 2020
If you have just skipped straight to the end to try and see what was crowned Best 18th edition certification software for 2020 then naughty, naughty!
The overall result was that the best solution to your certification software needs is to have a list of needs and wants.
Some software is cost effective, but then lacks certain features. Others are more expensive, however are great for multiple users and growing businesses.
In order to ascertain what matters most to you, its probably best to make a list of what you actually spend your time testing. If it’s just a once a blue moon EIC, then a cheaper “per certificate” system would be ideal and represent a very low cost method.
However if you have different staff members who are completing EICRs at a rate of a couple per day then simpler systems such as iCertify just won’t cut the mustard sadly.
Our opinion, overall, is that the best 18th edition certification software for 2020 is Tysoft Easycert.