Would you allow an unqualified medical doctor to provide you with medication ?
Would you take your favourite pet to an unqualified vet ?
Would you accept a structural report on the house you are about to purchase from an unqualified surveyor?
I think the majority of people would answer no to the above questions therefore why are so many people employing unqualified arboricultural consultants.
The definition of a consultant is a person who is a specialist in their chosen field and who can provide professional guidance and advice. They should also have sufficient qualifications and experience to ensure that the advice they are providing is accurate and up to date. The required qualifications and experience have often taken a substantial number of years and expense to obtain. Professional organisations such as the Arboricultural Association and Consulting Arborist Society currently recommend that any person undertaking arboricultural consultancy should hold a minimum level 3 qualification. They should also be members of a professional organisation, attend refresher courses, seminars and conferences to maintain their continuing professional development and hold adequate professional indemnity insurance.
Unqualified consultants are cheap because they do not follow or adhere to the above requirements. To be recognised as a consultant a LANTRA professional tree inspection qualification should be one of many qualifications that your consultant should hold.
There are 'tree consultants' who are advertising their services because they have obtained the LANTRA basic tree inspection course. This is deliberately misleading a client. This is not the professional course it is a one day course for non arborists such as highway inspectors who can identify a potentially dangerous tree and who should then refer the matter to a suitably qualified arborist who will then provide detailed advice and a suitable course of action. A number of people have attended the one day basic tree inspection course and are now calling themselves consultants and tree specialists which obviously they are not.
As recently discovered any report provided by these inadequately qualified people is worthless.
A recent case involved an unqualified arborist who had previously inspected and provided a written report on a group of trees. One of the trees failed during high winds which resulted in a damages claim against the tree owner. The insurance company involved requested the qualifications of the arborist who had only attended the LANTRA basic tree inspection course. In court this Level 1 qualification was deemed inadequate and due to the tree owner employing an unqualified arborist who had insufficient knowledge to identify a potentially dangerous tree damages and legal costs were awarded against him.
Please be aware of the risks of employing people who are not suitably qualified or experienced. Do not be afraid to ask your proposed consultant about their :-
Qualifications and experience
Membership of professional organisations like the Consulting Arborist Society
What level of professional indemnity insurance do they hold
This advice applies to all professions but in this period of increasing litigation and claims it can be an expensive and stressful mistake to employ a fraud to check your trees.
Beware the charlatans !!