Tree Surveys : A Brief Guide to a System of Inspection

'Informality has the obvious disadvantage that it makes it more difficult for the estate to resist claims based on an inadequate system of inspection' - Judge Iain Hughes, Atkins v Scott 2008


A system of inspection should be able to demonstrate responsible proactive management where the selection of approved suppliers is defined, the recommended actions are acted upon, the trail is auditable and the whole programme is systematic, so as to be able to demonstrate that the client dispensed his or her duty with reasonable care.

A system of tree inspection should include the following:

  • Aims of the survey, e.g. to assess and record the health, safety and overall condition of all trees defined by the scope of the survey
  • The scope of the survey
  • Objectives of the survey, e.g. tree safety, public safety, statute, property maintenance, grounds maintenance
  • Survey limitations and validity, e.g. the observations and recommendations are valid for a period of 3 years
  • Survey methodology
  • Survey specification, i.e. the range of data to be collected and recorded
  • Survey criteria to help define the working relationship between the client and contractor
  • Experience, qualifications & training of the surveyors
  • Health and safety statement - all works undertaken should comply with current health and safety legislation
  • Insurance - the contractor should be suitably indemnified