Lead Forensics

Aircon Group’s Successful UKAS Accreditation Journey

A phone call late one Friday evening last winter has led to major changes at Aircon Group.

Erica Johnson, Sales and Marketing Manager, said: “My colleague and I were just returning from our Ripon office ready for an early Friday finish when I received a call from the procurement team of one of our biggest clients.” 

The call was really positive, the procurement team had been speaking to all the different sites Aircon Group serviced and maintained and the team said they would like us to work on more contracts with them, in other sectors. However there were a few things Aircon Group would have to do as a business to enable us to access these contracts.

The following week Erica and Branch Manager, Keith Quinn, started completing the extensive paperwork required to apply for a new framework agreement with the client. Keith said: “The procurement team were great, there were a few questions we needed clarification on, they came straight back to us with an explanation of what was required.”

At the same time Ron Agar, Health and Safety Advisor, set about upgrading Aircon Group’s Constructionline accreditation from Silver to Gold.

Ron said: “There were a few questions we didn’t think applied to our business but we couldn’t proceed without providing the relevant evidence. Erica put an appeal on LinkedIn for a consultant who could help us with the application and Carney Consultancy responded. It has been a delight working with Angela and her team, Kerry now supports us to manage all of our accreditation portals and notifies us in advance when evidence is due.” 

Aircon Group thought that everything required had been submitted and were looking forward to the prospect of new contracts, then Erica received an email from the procurement team asking if she could confirm Aircon Groups ISO accreditation was with UKAS. Unfortunately the company was accredited by QMS and therefore didn’t qualify.

The email was received at the beginning of August and the procurement team gave Aircon Group a deadline of 31st December to achieve UKAS Accreditation.

Steve Farrell said: “This would be a significant investment for the business, not only in the cost of consultants and auditors but in staff time to put the ISO system together, meetings with employees to explain the changes we would have to implement, and making the changes required to meet this new standard but it had to be done. I always say that we provide quality and achieving UKAS Accreditation would take us to a new level which I was confident we were ready for.”

Carney Consultancy were instructed to complete a gap analysis, thankfully giving Aircon Group the confidence that they weren’t too far achieving the standard. Erica and Karen Lansdell, PA to the MD, then set about identifying what was needed, creating many flip charts that adorned the walls of the boardroom for many weeks.

Two months in James Farrell, Design and Contracts Manager, then took charge from an engineering and technical standpoint, while Ron wrote the ISO manuals and Karla Mennell, Administration Apprentice, collated the online system ready to send to the Auditor. It has been a real team effort!

The auditor visited the premises in November to conduct the stage one audit. Erica said: “I’ve been involved in a lot of audits over the years but this was really quite stressful. I don’t think anyone in the team wanted to let anyone else down and while Steve drums in to us that ‘quality is key’, this was a real test of whether we do have a quality management system in place or not.

Aircon Group expected to receive some advisories from the stage one audit but as our stage two audit was only ten days away, they enlisted the support of Matthew Cave, Management System Consultant who was able to advise us quickly on what needed to be added to the system. With Steve Farrell’s permission all managers downed tools for a week and collated the relevant documents needed.

Karla Mennell said: “We literally deleted the whole of the shared file, we had documents in there from 2014, forms had old logos on, we just needed to refresh, update, and ensure that our Goldthorpe office had everything that we have here in Head Office.”

The stage two audit came round very quickly but Matthew was with the business throughout. The confidence of staff had really increased and many stating that the questions seemed much easier to answer the second time around. Steve Farrell enjoyed talking to the auditor about the history of Aircon Group and his ambitions for the future.

The auditor went on a site visit with engineers to see how they install air conditioning and he advised that we book an audit for ISO45001 as he was confident we would pass. James said: “It is fantastic to have someone from outside the business recognise the hard work and quality of service that we provide. Health and safety has always been paramount and to receive recognition for this is testament to the work that goes on behind the scenes.”

Aircon Group received their ISO9001 and ISO14001 UKAS Accredited Certificates on Wednesday 21st December, just in time for the deadline, and they were emailed straight over to the procurement team and Karen was quick to get them into frames and on the wall. 

Aircon Refrigeration Limited ISO 9001 certificate 21 Dec 2022

Aircon Refrigeration Limited ISO 14001 certificate 21 Dec 2022

The management team have a meeting scheduled for the 12th January to discuss how UKAS will be implemented further throughout the business. Management reviews have been booked in and Matthew will remain a valuable asset to the business, undertaking internal audits every quarter and advising Aircon Group moving forward. 

Erica said: “This is the best Christmas present we could honestly ask for, what an achievement. I am really proud of the team I work with and to all work together to achieve UKAS accreditation in such a short amount of time is absolute testament to the hard working team that they are.” 

Should you require services on water cooling, air conditioningheatingventilation or refrigeration don’t hesitate to contact us at Aircon Group. 

Give us a call on 01642 249026 (North East office) or 01709 367001 (Yorkshire office). Alternatively, send us an email at sales@aircongroup.com.