Consulting Arborists – What They Do & Do You Need One?

When it comes to keeping both the air and our lungs clean, it’s important that we look after trees, which are basically nature’s way of keeping a vital necessity clean from harmful emissions. Before, I didn’t think much of trees, until a neighbour decided to remove one of his own which was really tall and provided enough shade to cover most of his and half of my backyard. At that time I didn’t know what was the reason behind the tree being removed from his property which prodded my curious mind until I sat down on the computer and read more on the topic.

I too have somewhat old trees in my yard that someday may need to be removed. Apparently, removing a tree can’t be done on your own terms as you need to have an arborist inspect the situation and provide you with the ideal solution. Here’s what I found out from my search on the matter.

What They Do

• Consulting arborists are experts in providing assistance around different fields like tree development, tree structure and health, legal & insurance matters, government consultation and real estate & property. Unlike certified arborists, a consulting arborist doesn’t cut and prune trees or perform any physical labour, since his job is to give you advice (if any) after inspecting the state of your tree(s). Although this might be the case with most consulting arborists, there are some that can do cutting and pruning alongside their consultative services.

• This profession also requires a certification though, which in Australia is a Diploma of Arboriculture being recognized as AQF5  (Level 5 Australian Qualifications Framework). This the minimum level of qualification needed in order for someone to be granted to write formal reports. Tree protection plans and assistance in legal matters are also part of a consulting arborist’s job and they can also communicate with structural engineers if infrastructure damage occurs or in cases where it needs to be mitigated or avoided.

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Experience & Insurance

• The AQF level 5 qualification isn’t the only asset that makes a consulting arborist an experienced or skilful one. Things like agricultural, town planning and even law degrees are also important as they broaden their capabilities. This makes for an all-around better and more versatile arborist which is what you should look for in one. In order to provide a better line of work, the Brisbane City Council has introduced what is known as NALL (Natural Area Local Law) to make sure companies provide the best technical advice and services supported with this bylaw.

• What I’ve also found is that a professional arborist should always have both public liability and indemnity insurance – you should always ask for a Certificate of Currency with each of their policies. There are some councils that require a consulting arborist to have 5 years of experience in order to be able to make reports. Usually, consulting arborists Australia wide provide reports for impact assessment, tree protection plans and other reports which provide value in the environmental, monetary and social terms of trees.

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• When explaining your situation to an arborist, make sure you are as clear as possible. For example, if you have received a letter from the council requesting an arboricultural report, make sure to send a copy to him or her. Check if the arborist you are going to be consulting with is able to provide you with the standard report that will correspond to the relevant body. Once the arborist knows what’s going on they usually send in an agreement that you need to sign – remember to read the whole thing thoroughly so that you fully understand it, as you do with all contracts.

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When Will You Need One?

• In cases where you want to make a routine check on your trees, maybe you want to rearrange the treeline in your yard, or when you are constructing a whole new yard, a consulting arborist should be included from the get-go. As I said, keeping an eye on your trees isn’t a consulting arborist’s only job, they can also help with the pre-design stages of your yard to make sure you get the desired look but also preserve the air purifiers of our planet.

• Although local laws may not require you to hire an arborist, it’s better to have one to take a good look at whatever it is that you are going to be doing. They can end up saving you a lot of money and time by preventing minor issues from becoming serious problems in the future.