Rogue “Tree Surgeons” Could you spot one?
Rogue tree surgeons have been operating all around the UK for many years, however with the current economic climate more and more of them are establishing themselves.
Tree Surgery is a specialist trade and involves far more than someone with a chainsaw. Tree surgeons undergo thorough training in a wide range of fields including chainsaw maintenance, chainsaw use, specialist climbing, aerial rescue, equipment maintenance and arboriculture. The danger to people and property is very high if tree surgeons do not have the appropriate training, experience and equipment.
After hearing about an experience one of our own customers has had with a rogue trader tree surgeon and seeing the results of bad tree surgery around our local area, we wanted to upload some information to help you choose the right people to do the right job.
ICS Tree Services Ltd comply with all of the guidelines in this post , however we are not the only ones. There are many reputable tree surgery companies working in and around Gloucestershire and by following these guidelines, you can be sure to protect yourself from rogue traders.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I not choose a tree surgeon based on price alone?
Good tree surgeons have very high running costs to maintain liability insurance, wages for qualified, experienced staff and good tool maintenance. Rogue traders have none of the above costs and so can quote very cheaply.
If not done properly, bad tree surgery can lead to:
- Injury to people
- Damage to property
- Serious damage to your trees that have taken many years to grow
Who is liable if anything goes wrong?
A good tree surgeon will have public and employers liability insurance (recommended minimum £5 million) which will cover themselves, any employees and any 3rd parties affected by an accident. Rogue traders very often keep their prices down by bypassing overheads such as insurance premiums. In the event of an accident, you may find yourself liable for injury to people and/or property if a 3rd party is involved.
What qualifications should I check for?
The governing body for tree surgery qualifications is the NPTC (National Proficiency Tests Council). As a bare minimum, a good tree surgeon will hold the following certificates:
- CS30 – Maintenance of the chainsaw, on site preparation and basic cross cutting
- CS31 – Fell and process small trees
- CS38 – Climb a tree and perform aerial rescue
- CS39 – Use of a chainsaw from a rope and harness
- First Aid at Work
Any additional NPTC qualifications, Royal Forestry Society qualifications or degree level qualifications demonstrate more advanced training. Reputable tree surgeons pay a lot of money for their ongoing training; this is generally why they will be more expensive than their unscrupulous counterparts.
What questions should I ask an Arborist
1. Are you insured?
If yes, ask them to show evidence of their Employers and Public Liability insurance (recommended minimum £5 million). If they cannot prove their insurance, don’t use this contractor
2. Do you work to a British Standard?
If yes, which one? They should tell you they work to BS3998:2010 Tree Work – Recommendations
3. What qualifications do you and your staff hold?
They must have NPTC certificates for chainsaw use both on the ground and aerially. For other NPTC qualifications, see above. Further training and qualifications are recommended. Ask to see copies of certificates.
4. Will you provide a written quotation?
If no, reject this contractor
5. Are you a member of a professional organisation?
In the UK there are several voluntary schemes certifying the competence of arborists through examination and regular reassessment including the Arboricultural Association Approved Contractor scheme and the Tree Care Approved scheme (otherwise known as trust mark). Other arborists may be equally competent, but membership of a professional organisation shows a degree of commitment to good working practices and high industry standards.
6. Can you provide a reference?
Reputable tree surgeons will be happy to show you examples of their work and provide references.
We hope that this information will help you to avoid the high risks involved in employing rogue trader tree surgeons. Treecreeper Arborists are confident in the high levels of service we provide and always encourage customers to get other quotations. We are certainly not the only tree surgeons operating to high standards in Gloucestershire and are more than happy to recommend other companies for customers to contact for comparable quotations.
Remember, with tree surgery, you really do get what you pay for and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.