Finding a Qualified Tree Surveyor

Whatever the reasons for you requiring a tree survey, you need to find a qualified tree surveyor to make sure you’re doing things by the book.

There are many different titles that you’ll come across when you begin looking into people who work with trees.

This guide is here to give you the low down on who’s who in tree work in order to help you choose a qualified tree surveyor.



Finding a Qualified Tree Surveyor: Who Does What?

In general terms, there are two main types of people who work with trees. These are consultants or contractors. Let’s look at both and what they do.


What Is A Tree Contractor?

A contractor is also called a tree surgeon or an arborist (arbor is the Latin for ‘tree’). Tree contractors provide tree services such as tree pruning, tree felling and tree planting.

They carry out all sorts of tree work including tree trimming, tree reduction, tree crown cleaning, tree crown shaping, tree pollarding, tree stump removal and stump grinding.

Their work is not limited to trees, though. They often offer services such as climber management and climber maintenance.

They can take out ivy, for example. Some tree contractors are also able to advise on tree maintenance requirements and may provide help with pest and disease control.


What Is A Tree Consultant?

A tree consultant may also be referred to as a tree advisor or an arboriculturist. Someone who works as a tree consultant has gained recognised qualifications for their role.

They are experts in the management and care of trees. In particular, they have expertise in trees in landscapes, amenity features, parks and gardens and other settings that are enjoyed by the general public.

Individual tree consultants who have advanced qualifications and experience can be given Arboricultural Association Registered Consultant status (AARC).

Any consultant with this status will have undertaken rigorous examinations and will have been assessed by a panel of experts.

Thus, in choosing a tree surveyor, look for one with AARC status. This way, you will benefit from quality professional advice and expertise.


What Can an Arboricultural Association Registered Consultant Do?

When a tree consultant is registered with the Arboricultural Association, they are guaranteed to be highly qualified and experienced in their field.

They will be able to advise on all issues to do with arboriculture. Here is a selection of things that a registered consultant is able to do:


    • Assess the safety and condition of trees and specify remedial work where necessary
    • Investigate and advise on trees that are involved in damage to building structures
    • Advise on TPOs (Tree Preservation Orders), trees that are in conservation areas and other legislation to do with tree protection
    • Provide expert opinions and evidence in written form (reports) as well as oral testimonies to tribunals, courts or the Planning Inspectorate
    • Give advice on trees for developers, architects, local authorities, planning consultants and owners of trees. They know how to develop sites without causing harm to trees and other greenery.
    • Prepare tree management plans for risk, sustainability and tree health
    • Supervise tree contractors
    • Investigate tree accidents
    • Advise of pests and tree diseases
    • Give objective advice


What an AARC Doesn’t Do

An Arboricultural Association Registered Consultant doesn’t do any tree work like felling, pruning or planting – though they will provide schedules and specifications for tree contractors to follow.


Where to find an Arboricultural Association Registered Consultant

The Arboricultural Association have a directory on their website. Here, you can input your postcode and the search distance to narrow down the list. You can also search for a company or AARC by name.


History of the Arboricultural Association Registered Consultant Scheme

The AARC scheme has been around for over 40 years – since the 1970s. It is a scheme that is nationwide, and members must have a standard of experience and knowledge.

They also need to be able to demonstrate their ability to carry out Arboricultural Consultant work in the most demanding and complex situations.


The Aim of The AARC scheme

The idea behind the scheme is to recognise tree consultants that have the highest level of arboricultural attainment in the country. When awarded AARC status, an individual has completed rigorous assessing and must continue to meet prescribed professional and business standards.

Clients choosing a tree consultant with AARC status can rest assured that they are receiving advice that is objective and from an expert that is bound by rigorous standards of practice and codes of ethics. What’s more, the AARC scheme has a complaints procedure that is fully documented.


Why Is It Important to Choose A Qualified Tree Surveyor?

Contractors that are listed in the Arboricultural Association directory have been assessed and been proven to be competent in providing arboricultural services.

When a contractor is approved by the Arboricultural Association, they are assured to understand up to date arboricultural practice.

What’s more, they must be compliant with any legislative requirements for arboricultural contracting work. In terms of health and safety, they have to meet certain requirements and have to be endorsed by CHAS – the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme.

The standard that is required by the Arboricultural Association is extremely high. Tree consultants must be reassessed regularly to prove that they continue to meet these high standards.

What’s more, the standards are reviewed regularly in order that they reflect current research findings of arboriculture, health and safety legislation, customer expectations and business practices.

Finally, an AARC in the directory is required to hold a certain level of liability insurance. They must have a minimum of £5 million of Public Liability Insurance that has a £250 maximum excess per incident.

Members also need an appropriate level of Employers’ Liability Insurance and Professional Indemnity Insurance if they provide written advice (and this must be to a minimum of £500,000 if applicable).


Finding A Qualified Tree Surveyor

As with any contractor or service, it’s a good idea to get quotations and shop around until you find a tree surveyor that you’re happy with.

Our advice would be to ask lots of questions. Check that the tree surveyor is registered with the Arboricultural Association and has AARC status.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for certificates and accreditations including proof of insurance. Any reputable tree surveyor will be happy to provide these.

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