Scoping and Planning the survey

Scoping

Scoping the site is the next step to ascertain timings, planning and the cost involved, as well as determine the suitability of the surveyors ability to meet the clients expectations. The surveyor needs to take considerations of their own personal safety when assessing the site. Restoration projects carry their own associated risks and will differ from site to site, all surveyors need to be dilligent when entering a restoration site. A risk assessment may need to be drawn up depending on the site or have been signed off an existing risk assessment for the site. 

Understanding that a tree is a living organism is paramount in assessing trees. Attributing factors such as condition, size, and relationship to buildings can alter greatly over a period of a few years and even months. A survey should state a period of time that should be expected for a tree to maintain its current condition and hand over the monitoring to the appropriate managing body. Once confirmed by both parties, a written confirmation would be beneficial to state that everyone understands the instructions and expectations agreed, as well as other necessary documents including risk assessments, terms and conditions, insurance and access.

Planning and Preparation

Depending on the site, apporiate planning and permissions may be required to gain access, decide upon  the timing and retrieve equipment such as PPE.  It may also be useful to prepare a plan highlighting the procedural and operational stages of the survey and a basic tree survey sheet.  Access which requires landowner permission should be sought prior to conducting the survey, as well as having the land manager/project overseer offering written permissions for surveying the site. When lone working ensure you maintain contact with a responsible person throughout the day.

Steps:

1. Visit the site and to decide upon timings, plans and cost of survey

2. Obtain or create suitable risk assessments

3. Investigate the size of site and identify 'target areas'

4. Decide whether the surveyor’s knowledge or experience is sufficient for the job

5. Obtain written confirmation, permissions and documentation from client relating to the site

6. Prepare survey plan and survey sheet

7. Acquire appropriate PPE

tree survey from boatPhoto: Offside tree survey along the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation

1. Visit the site and to decide upon timings, plans and cost of survey

2. Obtain or create suitable risk assessments

3. Investigate the size of site and identify 'target areas'

4. Decide whether the surveyor’s knowledge or experience is sufficient for the job

5. Obtain written confirmation and documentation from client relating to the site

Further Guidance

More information regarding the necessity of tree safety can be found from the Forestry Commission's National Tree Safety Group

Advice

For advice on hazardous trees on your restoration site contact Alex Melson at alex.melson@waterways.org.uk

Resources

Tree Survey Form

Example Risk Assessment

OPAL Tree Identification Guides