Monday, 25 January 2010

After the thaw

Well, all the snow has now gone, along with the ice, and so our surveyors can get back on to the ground and make their assessments with confidence.

Henry and Nick managed to break out of a snowbound Oxford to help me with a couple of jobs, one in Walsall was a BS5837:2005 survey of an industrial site, and the second in Essex was to prepare a woodland management plan for a development proposal that my colleagues are considering.

Expressly interesting
The project for the Registered Social Landlord is still taking shape:
· would-be assessors and surveyors have been approached and one or two tentative responses have been received, I still need more!
· I am waiting for eMapSite to get back to me with a quotation for the supply of the OS MasterMap extracts that the project requires, and finally
· the plan of attack is still being finalised – the job will require us to be very efficient in our data capture, there will be no opportunity to go back to re-visit sites and so we must get it right first time.

As before, if you are a competent tree assessor and you want to know more then please don’t hesitate to contact me direct!

I am meeting a potential assessor for the second job in the Midlands tomorrow, 7000 records to be captured using ARBORtrack, the client team has given me his contact details and so he comes very well recommended.

My offer to the London borough has been despatched, and as always once an offer has gone into the post I begin to worry – was I too cautious, will the price be acceptable, what about the quality assurance suggestions that I have made and so on – hopefully I’ll be put out of my misery soon!

I have contacted a wide range of arboricultural professionals in connection with a presentation I am due to make in April at a Tree Diseases Conference organised by the RFS/RASE. I’ve had a number of very interesting responses so far, but would encourage you all to keep them coming please.

I have also been contacted by the BBC in Birmingham in connection with a piece that they wish to do, to camera, about salt damage to highway trees. Once again, my contacts in industry are coming up trumps and suggesting locations and making contributions to the debate, so my thanks to all of you who have responded on this one.

In practice
The small service delivery contract has been completed, according to the contractor – by my reckoning there is still one tree to be felled!

I spent some time with the architect for the scheme in Nuneaton last week going through the response from the Tree Officer; I hope that between us we have done enough to secure the consent for the proposed development.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Welcome to January!

Whatever happened to the first weeks of January?
As in previous years snow has struck (but it was in February last year as I recall) meaning that our tree assessors have been held up: it has not been possible for Henry and Nick to make as comprehensive assessment of site conditions as they would like, and so our production levels on the Oxford contract are down. We now have two hand-held data loggers on the go; both are Magellan’s MobileMapper loaded with DigiTerra software, with which Henry and Nick are becoming most proficient!

Expressly interesting
Unfortunately I decided that I could not proceed to tender for the research project for which I had been shortlisted – I felt that the brief was too open and that there was simply too much risk involved for me. I do hope that someone with an arboricultural interest, and a stronger nerve, was able to make an offer so that the industry might stand a chance of seeing an end-user’s voice as the foundation for an important guidance document.

The Registered Social Landlord’s project is taking shape, but again has been delayed by snow on the ground – there’s no chance to identify the grounds maintenance features that the client wants if all we can see is snow! I have emailed a load of would-be assessors and surveyors with information about this job, and another in the Midlands – if you want to know more then please don’t hesitate to contact me direct!

I have been working on an offer to a London borough that wants to outsource almost all of their arboricultural expertise and service delivery, this is the sort of instruction that really floats my boat and so I’m looking forward to being able to hone and burnish my offer so that it dazzles!

In practice
I’m overseeing a small service delivery contract; again the weather has played its part here. Because the site is relatively well protected, the trees are small and some of the work can be done from the ground the contractor has brought me forward in his programme. Completion is scheduled for Monday, weather permitting.

I have tried to keep our field team busy away from a snow-bound Oxford, with a couple of other projects for colleagues in the office, one in Walsall and another in Harlow. It has been very interesting for me to discuss with Nick how he can bring his experience, as a former Tree Officer, to the reports that he has drafted for those instructions.

I hope that a small project in Nuneaton can soon be put to bed; it has been most helpful to me to have the opportunity to bring a range of valuable comments from the arboricultural professionals that I deal with into my report on behalf of my client. Hopefully, the outcome will be consent for the proposed development.