Embarking in a new business start-up in a pandemic may not be everyone’s idea of a good plan, but local businessman Andrew McKee had the vision to invest and incorporate management system certification as a framework for managing operations. Over the last 3 years Andrew has developed his company, Start Solar, into an industry leading solar energy provider, with installs daily across the UK and Ireland.


At start-up, Start Solar applied for certification for Quality, Environmental and Health & Safety Management Systems, ISO9001, ISO14001 & ISO45001, and this decision has proven key in helping the organisation manage the change transition phases, the associated risks, and of course, achieving its objectives for growth whilst minimising the impact on the environment, preventing harm to those affected by operations, and delivering its mission of providing its customers the most affordable and effective renewable solutions.


Early in the business planning phase the Directors at Start Solar identified the need to establish robust processes and procedures, both to help facilitate communication between sales and installation teams, and to deal with the developing pandemic risk to health and the changes required to operating practices. They also recognised that public sector tender and main contractor requirements would necessitate certification to provide the confidence that accredited independent auditing gives to end users and clients.

However, the organisation was not sure how to go about the certification process and what it entailed, and so they reached out to SCS as a local CB, and through meetings and provided guidance documents, the process was explained, and they subsequently embarked on developing their integrated management system.


The main challenge for Start Solar was that their ambitious growth plans impacted the dynamic of the organisation constantly, as increasing sales meant the infrastructure demands changed rapidly. Throughout the audit cycle the independent viewpoint of the SCS audit team was able to help identify risks, operational considerations and training needs, leading to further development of the process approach within Start Solar and a more robust change management function.


Through the approach of SCS’s experienced auditors, certification has helped identify the potential service pitfalls, as well as the opportunities to be realised, and the audit outcomes have contributed to Top Management Team making informed decisions and retaining control, all whilst expanding to cover all parts of the British & Irish Isles, delivering various configurations of renewable solutions for both commercial and domestic clients.


“To be honest, the company set-up and trading phase escalated quickly, and the initial audit was an eye opener with regards to the identification of things that could go wrong if not assessed during the survey and subsequent planning for installs. SCS’s auditors have been very helpful in shaping our improvement activities, both for compliance and for helping us be more efficient. Always responsive, they have recently extended the scope of our audits to include our office in Collon, Co. Louth, and the audit plan was well organised and communication was excellent throughout each step of the process.” Andrew McKee, Managing Director, Start Solar

Continual improvement has been evident across the annual audit visit reports, including a dedicated management representative now in place who also manages operations and the organisation has achieved a high level of traceability across their install teams, now spanning NI, ROI & GB, with office in Collon (ROI), Swinton (GB) & Head Office in Banbridge. The business has outgrown its head office twice and they are to take up occupancy of their new industrial unit in Lisburn in February 2023, where  there will be improved office, warehousing and training accommodation.


Since inception, Start Solar have doubled their turnover annually and have grown from 3 personnel to 72 working daily for the organisation, whilst there have been zero accidents or incidents to date. Customer satisfaction has been a priority and 78 reviews on Trustpilot rate their service as Excellent (4.8) with 91% of responses being 5 Star.

If you would like to find out more about the renewable solutions that Start Solar offer, please visit their website here.


“It is one of the good parts of an auditor’s job to get to work with organisations that are growing and maturing their systems with a will to improve how they deliver their services, both for their end clients and their other stakeholders. Using their Integrated Management System as a tool for learning and control, we look forward to witnessing the next phase of Start Solar’s success story”.  

Tony Duff, Director, SCS


SCS’s management system certification services have played an important role in many ambitious organisations’ success stories, providing the independent rigour that UKAS accreditation demands and working with and flexing for clients to accommodate their changing needs.


If you are already certified by another certification body, please be are aware that you can transfer to SCS for FREE from your current body, assuming they are accredited by recognised assessment body.


Why not get in touch and find out more about how our professional auditors and helpful staff can assist your organisation.

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