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About daltontrees

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  1. Come now, lack of agreement does not imply disagreement in any matter! I know it's hard to understand this in a polarised society. That said, I thought I was clear. You asked "You seem to be agreeing that there are a variety of words used to describe people who make a living out of trees and know something about trees & quite a bit of confusion?" I agreed. I agree. In a nutshell I am lamenting the lack of public-facing coherent distinctions and separations between (i) tree professionals as contractors and tree professionals as consultants and (ii) tree professionals and cowboys/bluffers/charlatans; the lack of clearly understood terminology and indentity of disciplines is partly the cause, doubly so because it is exploited. I know very well the ICF covers arb, but it doesn't really, does it? Otherwise the charter changes wouldn't be needed, would they?
  2. To be honest, I wasn't aware of the ilicis species, but I am now so thanks for that. I have not knowingly seen it in Scotland anyway. Having read up on it a bit and seen the pictures it does look like it has the signs of Phytophthora. I was just trying to rule out poisoning and Armillaria and generally waterlogging which could assist Armillaria or Phytophthora. Variegated hollies aren't the most robust either.
  3. Is it on a boundary between two gardens? Which species of Phytophtora do you suspect? How well drained is the soil?
  4. 😀Kevin, how am I expected to have an argument with you when you're being this reasonable?😀 I've done my time up trees. It showed me just how much strength trees often have to spare and how ridiculous some of the college-boy risk assessments are. There's no doubt it has made me a better consultant, and I can still pick up a chainsaw by the right end. I could literallly write a book of examples of how spectacularly incompetent or biased some of the tree surgeons reports I have seen and been involved with are. That's not to say all tree surgeons' reports are bollocks, but a fair few of them seem to be, and there is a general overemphasis on the tree hazards and absence of understanding that for risk surveys, it is risk they are assessing in which targets and severity are just as important as hazards. The recent Barrell/Koeser online seminar was interesting, and the Florida study was especially telling. Risk assessors that had undergone formal training in risk asssessment for trees were 6 times less likely to recommend works. That's 5 in 6 less customers put to the needless expense and loss of amenity of tree works. I don't mind tree surgeons doing reports as long as they have some basic qualifications and are clear that they are acting as consultant. I don't wear the argument that long experience is a substitute. Both training (for focus, context and purpose) and experience are needed. Yeah, doing reports with lots of quals and no experience is just as bad. This year alone I have been pulled in on 3 cases that have hit the Planning buffers because the original BS survey by a tree surgeon (and one by landscape arcitects) was found to be so wanting that the Councils have dug their heels in and it is costing the client sorely. A council near here has knocked back a 5837 report completely because of the lack of competence of the surveyor. Another Council has demanded a report that is so meaningless it took a half hour meeting for it to realise then accept that what it had asked for was not what it needed. The officers were planners, in an authority that has no TO. What it really comes down to for me is that tree surgeon is a bullshit term that says nothing and promises everything. Tree surgeons love to call their customers 'clients'. The industry is so foggy about roles and competences that (and to bring it back to the original post) we shouldn't really be surprised that insurers can't figure out who is needed for what. I'd disagree with you till the end of time that customers should be allowed to choose between cheap/cheerful and competent and should be free to make mistakes. As long as we allow our landscapes to be denuded needlessly and for con-men to talk customers into expensive unnecessary works and worthless shelf-filling reports we will remain an industry rather than a profession. The consequences of bad advice are felt by all of society, not just by the victim.
  5. I don't just seem to be agreeing, I am saying it, shouting it. But I did say there are none so deaf... I am going to take it up with the ABI. I might fail but I will persevere until it admits that it's not doing anything about it. You have done me a favour. The ICF has bungled my email bulletins, I wondered why I ahd hear d nothing from it for a while. Hopefuilly it will send me the papers through shortly. I am going to claim a small victory, I have been badgering ICF people for a couple of years about subsuming tree cosultancy into the ICF. I cornered a top guy at one of the dinners last year and made him promise to do something about it. I had been involved in changes at the RICS and I knew the right chat about privvy council and the like, it's a much more complex issue than the AA changing policy and besides I wouldn't let him go to the bar until he promised. Maybe enough people like me spoke to enough people like him... Fair enough, it's not that easy but if we don't try we don't get. But it is easy to define the problem and design a solution. Getting buy-in is a different matter.
  6. Jon/Paul/Paddy/Kevin/Boris, I'm going to let rip, becuase this is all farcical. Firstly the insurers are to blame in this scenario, because they don't even know themselves what they want, they are unable to articulate it to an enquirer, but they're big boys and I have no sympathy whatsoever. Whatever happened to that sensible suggestion of raising it with the ABI? Secondly, it's not at all clear what a forester is. The hip term for arb trees is urban forest, isn't it? I am a member of the AA and the ICF. The latter covers arboricultural consultancy, but not very enthusiastically. I rather wish they'd just change the name to the ICFA and bring arb consultancy into a professional institute properly. Meanwhile the AA is mainly on the contracting side but dabbles (not very convincingly) in the consulting side. A lot of tree surgeons also fancy their chances doing tree reports, like it's some sort of lucrative soft option (which it is if you do it shittily). So the public are set up to be disappointed or fooled a lot of the time. They want free tree advice from someone who only makes his living out of charging people for tree work, so they get a tree surgeon out. Who might have bought his first chainsaw form B&Q half an hour earlier. Tree surgeon! Sounds so fancy! Must know what he's talking about. There has been a trend recently to grab at the title of arborist, but into this murky arena wanders the consulting arborist, and like most notions imported from america it's thoroughly unhelpful in a UK context. You either pay someone for advice and they are compelled to avoid conflicts of interest by not also being allowed to quote for tree work coming from their recommendations, or you accept that you are getting free verbal advice from a contractor that's not truly impartial and don't expect it to stand up to close scrutiny in a courtroom battle a year later. Or there is option 3 where we just shamble along as we currently do. Much as most things american makes me boke, I'd even settle for 'contracting arborists' and 'consulting arborists', at least that way the smoke and mirrors are done away with. Face it, we could sort this out easily but not enough people care, a few people would rather we don't and the public sure as hell doesn't know how badly it is being served sometimes. As for using 'tree surgeon' instead of 'arboriculturist' that's like saying a pharmacist is a drug dealer, a physicist is a mechanic, a geologist quarries rocks, etc. etc. You're wither adising on what needs to be done, with your hands in your own pockets, or you're doing routine stuff or under orders.
  7. Jon, the insurers aren't to blame for the confusion but they are taking lots of money off people based on vaguely worded policies then refusing to pay out. An insurance policy is a contract. A contract in any other walk of life would be void if it was this badly worded. It really would not be hard to do a better job. I'll have a go right now. Here's the definition of an arb from BS3998 3.3 arboriculturist person who, through relevant education, training and experience, has gained recognized expertise in the care of trees Here's the definition from BS5837 3.3 arboriculturist person who has, through relevant education, training and experience, gained expertise in the field of trees in relation to construction Both standards qualify this in the important bits by saying a - competent person person who has training and experience relevant to the matter being addressed and an understanding of the requirements of the particular task being approached Now that's unfortunate we have arboriculturist defined separately for two different matters, but we do. In each case, though, the emphasis is on competence and experience. The word 'qualified' is not used. Meanwhile Aviva is saying a qualified tree surgeon has to check the trees every couple of years. Qualified in what? Check them for what? No written report, just a note to say that so-and-so has 'checked' them. So in the event of a claim for subsidence, did the claimant check the tree surgeon's competence? Did she instruct him correctly on what he was meant to be checking for? Did she record what he said correctly and fairly? Did she act on any advice given by him? If the insurer is wheedling out of it all, it can punt the blame back on everyone but itself and claim that the onus was on the claimant or tree surgeon to take steps to understand the requirements and implications and to require or deliver an appropriate report. A verbal one? Is it just me or does this sound in the context of a £20k subsidence claim like a farce? Does this sound, in the context of any contract, a farce? Yes. So all the insurers have to do is to oblige the policy holder to follow the advice of a "competent tree professional instructed to advise on all reasonable precautions necessary to avoid tree-related damage". There, took me 9 minutes. Not too hard. But there are none so blind as those who do not wish to see.
  8. My policy is quite alarming, it doesn't mention trees but trees are part of the property. What it says is this - Taking care of your property You and your family must take all reasonable precautions to avoid injury, loss or damage and take all reasonable steps to safeguard all the property insured from loss or damage. To me that says that if you let subsidence damage happen, or you don't get rid of a hazardous tree, and damage happens, the insurers won't pay out. I think it is an obvious equivalent to 3rd party subsidence claims, where the courts move steadily closer to the 'reasonably foreseeable' test of liability for subsidence damage. If you know there is subsidence in your area and that trees can cause it, and you let trees cause subsidence to your own property, the insurers can point to the wording of the policy and tell you you're getting nothing. That said, insurers pay out small claims when they don't need to, for business rather than legal reasons. It's only when it really matters and you need them most that these wooly policy wordings are at their most alarming.
  9. Please persevere. Someone has to do these things for the benefit of all.
  10. Good choice. If it sounds iffy, it probably is. I am astonished at how shoddy Aviva is being about this. Insurers want to cover themselves too (first an foremost) and if they get the customer to declare that someone has said it's OK, then later it's not OK (or currently it's not OK but the problem will show up soon) they will leave the customer high and dry. Then the customer will turn to you. Although the trees sound small and the risk is small, you're doing the right thing as Aviva is wanting a simple way to be able to say it isn't covering damage or it wants someeone to blame . Don't lose sigh of that. If it was just a formality they wouldn't be asking. I'd be interseted in your posting after you have heard from them. No offence to tree surgeons, I ran my own contracting business as one for years, but what makes one of the UK's biggest insurers think that people that cut above-ground parts of a tree for a living (qualified or not) understand what any particular tree is or will be doing under the ground close to buildings? Shit. I've got my PLI and PII insurance with them. I might drop them a line at renewal and say I don't have confidence in them any more :-)
  11. I don't really see the problem. Everything points to previous owner chancing their arm. No evidence to support any of the reasons for removal. Had there been, it would have been a fool not to submit it, or a fool not to follow up on it. AA Teccie (Paul), too negative and jumping to conclusions. You borrow to buy a house, a survey is done. If it's clear, you have recourse to the surveyor if he/she was wrong. You buy a house, you get a quote for insurance, you accept it. There will be a question, any known structural problems? No. Any hair-brained applications based on unsubstantiated claims of structural problems? I haven't seen that question in any insurance proposals. A basic check about whether there any shrinkable clays in the area would be informative. Looks like carboniferous siltstone/mudstone/sandstone. Not known for shrinkage. I took a Google walk up the street and then looked at the aerial photo, there are zillions of big trees. Chances of yours being a problem that no-one else is experiencing? Super-low. Worth a first viewing if you like it, but don't go too far without getting a mortgage survey using a local firm.
  12. I believe he is still the current holder of the title, yes.


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