What is a consulting arborist and what do they do?
Before we get started, let’s establish the basics. A consulting arborist is a qualified professional who is either engaged for the duration of a building or construction project (think architects, developers, civil contractors), or to provide ongoing asset management services onsite (for schools, parks, golf courses and the like).
In both cases, it’s our role to provide best practice tree care and management advice to help clients make important decisions, plan for works around existing trees, and maintain healthy, safe assets. Arboriculture is a science, and we have the training and certification to help people navigate complex issues – often where there are various stakeholders involved and requirements that need to be managed.
Why hire a consulting arborist?
One of the questions we field regularly is, “what are the benefits of engaging a consulting arborist?”.
Our response? There are lots, and the precise benefits depend on who you are and what your requirements are. However, there are many commonalities between our clients. Below, we break down some of the main advantages and scenarios where our services offer the most value.
Report writing forms a major part of our arborist services. Below is a summary of the reports we regularly provide for clients and the detail that is provided:
Pre -Purchase inspection
An overview of the trees onsite and any limitations undertaken before you to purchase a property or take on a development project.
An assessment of the retention value of your trees, completed utilising accepted methodologies and sustainability ratings. Aims to identify structurally sound trees, trees that need to be removed and specifies tree protection zones for architects to consider during design.
Impact Assessment and Tree Protection Plans
Generally completed once major building plans have been drawn up, the report assesses the impact of potential works on the remaining trees.
Tree Protection Plans
Outlines any activities that cannot occur, and any protection zones and fencing required onsite during weeks. Often required by council before works commence.
Arborist Oversight and Compliance
Ongoing visits to confirm agreed plans and compliance onsite, and often includes a post-construction report to confirm compliance has been met.
Why hire a consulting arborist?
At the core of it, having a dedicated arborist resource can save you time and money, while reducing risk to people and property, and maximising the aesthetic and value of your trees. As experts in Tasmania’s unique urban forest ecology, we also know the area and can therefore provide timely, relevant advice.
For a client such as a school or park, the case is clear. Our scheduled site visits and the tree management plan we will put in place discharges your duty of care to provide a safe environment for your community. It allows you to factor tree care spend into your annual budget, therefore reducing the likelihood that you will need expensive, urgent works.
For our architect, developer and civil clients, they enjoy the added benefit of our extensive council planning and development knowledge. By proactively assessing, monitoring and providing reports throughout your project, we can reduce unknowns and streamline planning and approval.
What arborist qualifications should I look for?
As with any profession, different qualification levels of arboriculture can be achieved. If you are looking to hire a consulting arborist on a major project, the minimum requirement is AQF5 (aka Australian Qualification Framework Level 5 Diploma in Horticulture). However, if you simply need an arborist to trim, prune or remove a tree, you can accept a minimum of AQF3. In either case, it’s a good idea to request proof of insurance and qualifications before confirming any engagement, and seek further quotes if you are not satisfied with the response.
This is the minimum qualification required to produce arboriculture reports and is achieved through vocational study such as TAFE. Some arborists dedicate more time to their careers and go the academic route through university. Graduate degrees are offered at the University of Melbourne which is a classified as AQF8 (Graduate Certificate in Horticulture) AQF9 (Graduate Diploma in Horticulture) and further specialised study in Masters of Urban Horticulture and PhDs.
Check out the qualifications of our team here.
We are always happy to answer any questions you might have before hiring a consulting arborist. Feel free to contact us at any time.
Blog written by Mark Fahy
Mark has a diploma in arboriculture (AQF level 5) and is a registered Quantitative Tree Risk (QTRA) assessor. He has been an arborist for over 10 years and is passionate about trees. He is committed to providing evidence-based solutions and thorough reports to clients. Mark is specifically enthusiastic about living with trees in the ever-changing urban environment.