What should you expect from your tree survey?
Tree owners have a duty of care to ensure they have taken reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their trees. The first step is for the trees to be assessed by a competent arboriculturalist who should provide, as a minimum, a written report containing basic tree details: -
- Identification number
- Plotted on sketch plans if no suitable plans are provided
- Height and spread in metres
- Stem diameter
- Age by classification category
- Percentage of full growth potential reached
- Physiological and structural condition
- Estimated remaining contribution
- Recommended work
- Priority of proposed works
The arboriculturalist should have a suitable level of professional indemnity insurance when providing the tree safety assessment to protect the tree owner against legal claims resulting from errors in assessment.
It will not cover the tree owner if he fails to act on recommendations contained in the report.
Tree safety assessments may sometimes be used as a work schedule for the company or individual providing it. Unscrupulous providers may overstate the priority of works so always aspire to use a reputable company that has been accredited and therefore audited by a governing body.
Full arboricultural or tree surveys are similar but much more in depth and are typically applied to single trees. There will be comprehensive detail about the tree, its surroundings, physiology, longevity, structure, potential for failure and management.
Local Authority Planning Departments now typically require a BS5837:2012 Trees in Relation to Construction survey either as part of the planning application or as a condition for approval.
The British Standard means that where a tree or trees are likely to be affected by a planned build, extension or demolition an assessment report conforming to the requirements of the BS5837:2012 has to be produced outlining specific criteria about the tree or trees, their management, viability and protection throughout construction/demolition.
Early consultation with someone with knowledge of the planning process, the British Standard and tree physiology is the best way to avoid costly mistakes and delays.
Any work carried out by a contractor should conform to BS3998:2010 and works should be carried out in accordance with the Health & Safety Executive's Arboriculture and Forestry Advisory Group Guidelines. We recommend contractors should carry a minimum of £10 million Public Liability Insurance. We recommend contractors are Arboricultural Association Approved.
Limitations of your Tree Survey
Our assessments are based on professional experience and expert observation at the time of the inspection. No liability can be assumed to rest with Jenks should conditions alter after our inspections.
Prior to the implementation of any works we strongly recommend that the local authority be consulted to obtain any necessary consent.
Reports are prepared for the sole use and benefit of the client. Any liability of Jenks shall not be extended to any third party. Trees are dynamic organic structures and as such can never be guaranteed as 100% safe. Even healthy trees can fail in extreme weather but regular management and assessment can minimize the potential for partial or total failure.