Claremont Controls Ltd


Can a HighStone implementation be started before we know the full scope of the new system definition?

Provided the key elements that you are seeking to address with HighStone are well defined the installation may be commenced.  We would also activate those areas of functionality in HighStone that match your existing requirements to allow a quick start.  Additional HighStone functionality can be released as new modules become available, and as ideas and requirements develop with the initial use of the system.  It is not unusual for a HighStone implementation to run over a two to three year period and in many cases development never stops as long as a contract is running.

What are the key costs in implementing a HighStone installation in our organisation?

Each potential HighStone installation is considered on its own merits.  Costs of implementation will be made up of elements to supply, install, create and configure the basic HighStone database and installations.  Any contract specific data will be built up and defined in the system – this includes geographic asset data, cost codings, user records etc. and the work undertaken in completing this element will be estimated.  Where new functionality within HighStone is required this will be assessed and priced.  A mobilisation schedule will be agreed to get the system installed and running within your organisation and the necessary user induction, training and on-going support will be quoted for.  All these elements will be discussed and an overall implementation plan presented.

If we require and commission new functional areas to be developed in HighStone, are these elements limited to just our own use?

This varies on the type of functionality required and how you would like the work to be undertaken. Claremont Controls operates a policy of ‘open development’ on HighStone whereby all clients of the system may benefit from the ideas, innovations and widening functionality of the application over time.  We have found this to be generally well accepted with our clients as they benefit from new ideas from other disciplines of business and industry and can also make their ideas more widely available to others.  If a specific topic area is highly specialised and the client requires it to be held under a limited distribution, then Claremont Controls will consider each case and agree on how the element will be published prior to implementation.  However it is important to note that development of restricted distributed functions will be more expensive to develop and maintain by the proposing client.

Can HighStone help in improving business process in terms of management information that perhaps currently exists in spreadsheets in different locations on server files?

Moving management data from a single file or single user spreadsheet environment, to a fully integrated relational database model, is one of the key aspects of many HighStone installations. Making this move opens up your management data to real time, multi-user and multi-site access across your entire business.  HighStone enables your data to be always available and up to date.  It is promoted as the prime source for management data across all users in a business.

Is HighStone provided as a ‘bespoke’ system or it is a pre-developed application which requires us to adopt HighStone definitions of work practice?

The short answer is ‘both’.  HighStone includes a lot of functionality that is already pre-configured and can be applied without any revision to displays and functions.  However Claremont Controls does expect that some key areas of your business management process need to be supported with custom displays and functions that fit in with your existing methods.  Such elements can be provided by the development of new display modules or by adapting existing functions to better match your requirements.

What database does HighStone require?

HighStone may be linked to most commonly available SQL database server applications.  The most common installations use Microsoft SQL Server, linking to other systems may require additional configuration effort in adjusting internal scripts to match the chosen system.

What user access accounts are required on the database server?

Most clients opt to use a standard ‘HighStone’ user account for access to the database server.  Clients may wish to apply individual logins to the database using the individual network user accounts, although this requires more effort to control.  Generally two HighStone accounts are created on the database – one for general users with basic database read and write actions, and a second for the HighStone Administrator which includes permission levels to alter database configuration.

Who is responsible for server configuration and management?

Generally the responsibility for providing and maintaining the server services for database hosting and network access rests with the clients IT department.  Claremont Controls require a base database server application to be installed with a new / empty database ready to populate with required data tables and configuration data.

What are the basic system requirements for HighStone?

HighStone is a Microsoft Windows based application that is built using the Microsoft .Net Framework.  The .Net Framework is installed as standard on most Windows XP and Windows 7 systems, and can be freely downloaded and installed where necessary.  HighStone includes a number of executable and library files that can be installed in a suitable location on users’ systems – usually in the ‘\Program Files’ folder.  HighStone is usually installed as an XCOPY application – requiring just a straight copy of files on to the target system drive.

Is all HighStone data held in the host database?

No.  All core data management values are held in the host database, but elements that are held outside the database include configuration definitions, reports library files, and documents files that relate to main object data records including photographs, emails, ancillary documents and saved data reports.  These elements are held under a defined ‘\HighStone Home’ folder located on a convenient server within the organisation, with data files saved automatically in nominated sub-folders under this path.

Is a demonstration version of HighStone available for download and running?

Unfortunately it is not practical to provide a demonstration version of HighStone as a download.  The range of functionality offered by HighStone and the configuration needed to create a basic operational database is too complex and great.  We have made available a wide range of briefing and explanation documents on this website – please use this resource to answer your immediate questions, however if you have any specific queries on the potential use of HighStone, which you are unable to find an answer to here, please get in touch.

Can HighStone be run over a WAN (Wide Area Network) environment?

Yes, subject to an adequate minimum bandwidth being available. The HighStone database access functions usually make only a modest call on bandwidth to get core data values and therefore system responsiveness should be satisfactory in most environments.  HighStone minimises database access by caching commonly used prompt lists and definitions after their first use.  HighStone also accesses basic configuration and library definitions during use and these may be installed on smaller local servers at different geographic locations to minimise pressure on national network bandwidth.  Where users request very large data report  or access ancillary documents such as photographs and video, or when many users share the same limited connection bandwidth, the responsiveness of the HighStone displays will fall.

How are updates to HighStone issued to users?

Claremont Controls operates an active development for HighStone that covers both basic and generic functionality of the system, and developments in response to specific client requests.  Clients are encouraged to keep up to date with application developments so that they can benefit from new ideas and the most recent HighStone releases. The frequency of such updates will be arranged with your IT department and run to an appropriate schedule – typically between an annual and a quarterly frequency, depending on the development program.  Routine HighStone updates are managed by the application itself, with users initiating an update on their local system once the new release is published on your local servers.

Does Claremont Controls require access to our HighStone installation from outside the organisation?

Ideally yes.  Having direct access to clients’ system from our own location gives us the opportunity to monitor systems and undertake any investigations without the need to travel to locations. This facility can save considerable time and expense in supporting your installation.

Can we (as users) gain access to the data table definitions used by HighStone?

Yes.  The database that is created and installed as part of a HighStone installation is neither hidden nor protected from access by the client.  HighStone includes data management tools to allow the viewing and administration of the supporting database by users.  Clients are encouraged to understand and work with the database definitions to integrate HighStone into their business activities.

Can Crystal Reports be used with HighStone systems?

Yes.  There is no specific requirement for Crystal Reports to be available for use by HighStone, but if clients wish to use this application and integrate management data from HighStone with other data sources then they are free to do so

If we wish to add our own data records alongside HighStone to control other management processes, can this be done?

Claremont Controls actively encourages clients to integrate HighStone data with other business processes.  Additional data links may be added as linked databases or additional data tables within the main contract database or existing HighStone tables extended to carry additional data values.

Can the client create new reports from HighStone data definitions?

Yes. The majority of reports are created as grid style data rows created from database query scripts, with the results being given to the user in a generic grid display.  Clients may add their own report definitions to the internal HighStone reports library.

Are any tools provided to assist in the creation of reports from HighStone data definitions?

HighStone includes an interactive report Query Builder (HighQB) which allows users to build data reports from the source data definitions.  Claremont Controls works with clients to provide key users within the organisation with the necessary understanding of data table layout and structures.

Can HighStone produce formatted and paged reports from the contract data?

Yes.  HighStone uses a report builder, or generator, which allows the creation of formatted reports, including group headings, page headings and intermediate totals. The report definition application is very similar, in concept, to the report builder in applications such as Access and Crystal Reports.

Can we combine external data values with HighStone data values within the same HighStone report?

Yes.  Provided the report script used to access the source data can span across the required definitions then the values can be included in a HighStone report, even where data values do not appear on any HighStone display forms.

We have the requirement to post data to, or import data from, external servers over FTP connections. Is HighStone able to support this action?

Yes.  HighStone provides FTP upload and download functions that can be configured to poll for data over FTP connections, either on demand or at defined time intervals for automatic operation.  Some configuration work may be required to manage the actual data import and export formatting.

Some of our users request automatic notifications to be issued by email. Can HighStone provide this facility?

HighStone includes an automated email facility where notification emails are issued based on triggering events within the contract database.  This notification process may be set to run at timed intervals.

Can HighStone issue SMS notification messages?

It is recommended that an email to SMS external notification service is employed, and for the HighStone email notification facility to issue the messages.

Does HighStone provide a web-based access frontend to the system?

No.  HighStone is run as a standard Windows application that is installed and run from users’ PCs or laptops.  This environment offers much more flexibility and configuration to the HighStone installation.

Can HighStone be run over Citrix or remote desktop connections?

Yes.  Where network connections have limited bandwidth and do not support the standard operation of HighStone over a WAN (Wide Area Network) HighStone may be provided over either Citrix or remote desktop connections.

How is user access to HighStone controlled?

All users of HighStone must be registered on the system through the staff details panel.  Users access HighStone by providing their standard network login name (picked up as a default by HighStone) and an authentication code.  The authentication code may be a pin number that is controlled by the user or the authentication code automatically vetted through the network AD (Active Directory) login account.

How is access controlled within HighStone?

Each user is allocated to one of the internal user classes defined in the system, and this classification is used to control which menu items each user can see, and also what access level they have within key form displays and reports.  The HighStone administrator is able to adjust these settings.

We have a lot of contract information held in user personal email accounts and not accessible to other users. Can HighStone help with this?

HighStone offers a POP based email reading and saving facility.  We recommend that an internal email account is created, for example ‘’, and users ‘cc’ or ‘bcc’ outgoing emails to this account, with any incoming emails forwarded to the same address. HighStone downloads these emails, logs the basic details within the contract database, and stores full email details and any attachment files within the internal object file store.  Email information can be accessed by all users of HighStone.

We have a number of processes where users have to complete a large number of paper forms when out in the field. Can HighStone help collate and manage this data entry?

HighStone includes a functional module called HighLight that is specifically designed to operate on Windows OS portable laptops and tablet devices.  This application includes a highly customisable prompt form definition that gives users the ability to complete forms electronically and return the data entries direct to the main HighStone contract database.  HighLight includes support for GPS location determination and can manage photographs taken out in the field.

Is it possible to check and update inventory asset data held in HighStone when making on-site visits and surveys?

HighStone provides an application module that runs on touch-screen and GPS enabled hand-held mobile devices. This allows users to download asset data for on-site surveys, easily record instances of damage and deterioration, and undertake inventory asset stock takes.  Survey data is uploaded to the main HighStone contract database on conclusion of the site survey.

HighStone documentation refers to ‘objects’ – what are these?

This term is used to overcome variations in terminology between different organisations.  Any key element of management data, such as a works order, works package, defect record, staff details record, timesheet, scheme or project, are all defined as ‘objects’ within the HighStone data model.  Many functions and facilities in HighStone are generic and the same displays and operation methods are used for all classes of object record.  This creates a consistent feel to all areas of HighStone and provides a rich level functionality across the entire system.

What cost coding structures are available in HighStone?

HighStone provides a generic cost coding system that is based on a three-level hierarchy that can be applied across the entire contract for cost control management.  Implementation of this structure will depend on the target client environment.  A typical layout could be based on a top level of projects or schemes, followed by core management tasks with works packages or works stages at a second level, and task activities at a third level.

Does HighStone provide actual cost versus forecast cost reporting?

Yes.  HighStone does provide functions for forecast costs to be created from either a source schedule of rates for major schemes and projects, or from annual budgets for on-going routine maintenance tasks.  Actual costs incurred through staff, plant and materials can be reported against budget and forecast costs.

What type of asset inventory information does HighStone hold?

The inventory asset records in HighStone are entirely generic in definition and allow asset component types to be allocated to required classifications.  Each asset type may be created with its own set of asset component attributes that define the basic characteristics of each asset type.

How is asset information classified against geographic locations?

HighStone provides a three-level hierarchical definition for allocating the asset items to their physical location in the field.  This generic structure can be applied as required, for example using building, floor and room in applications based around room inventories or county, road number and section in applications based on Highways maintenance.  Asset records support GPS location information.

Where does the HighStone Windmill logo come from?

Claremont Controls adopted the iconic image of the grade II listed Chimney Mill as its corporate logo when the company was founded in 1980.  Chimney Mill is located on Claremont Road, Spital Tongues, Newcastle upon Tyne.

More information about Chimney Mill can be found here.

HighStone is promoted as being made available to all users within our organisation – is this expensive to implement and support?

Not necessarily.  In fact the more widely available that HighStone is, within an organisation, the more successful the installation is.  Claremont Controls supports this by not charging for HighStone installations on a ‘per user seat’ basis and there is no financial barrier to making the system available to all users that need that access.