Wednesday, September 3, 2008

IS AHK/China --- Independency of Arborist Report

*** Our weekly Station Mail is for the information of Station Members only, but Station Mail has given up copyright & can be freely circulated. For administrative reasons, comments from outsiders are usually not entertained & may be circulated within our system locally & overseas. Please note Station Mail is sometimes given in Blog at , although images are usually not attached due to size. ***

Dear Station Members,

This Station Mail is selectively circulated to Certified Arborists (CA), Landscape Professionals & VIP's in our Station for their information & knowledge. Details on client, location & Arborist Report are not disclosed for privacy reason except for the photos which are the possession of the Station Manager himself. This Station Mail is meant to be an academic discussion for anyone interested in the Arborist Profession only.

The Station Manager was called out to inspect & to provide recommendation for a mature tree in HK Island on 11.8.08 in the position of an Independent Practicing Arborist (IPA) to give a third party comment. An Arborist Report was required. At that time, there was strong sentiment among the client to retain this historic tree which appeared to be one of the first brought in by the British during colonial time. It would have been a beautiful tree if it was not damaged in an earlier typhoon. This tree was previously inspected by several contractors & some recommended 'protection measures' like propping & guying to retain this mature tree.

Upon Tree Inspection with Tree Climbing to assess the remaining parts of the tree, the decision was made by the Station Manager to remove this tree instantly because in his opinion, this tree was about to fall anytime. The client was hesitating on the decision during site inspection & some members of the client also expressed sadness if this tree was to be removed. However, the Station Manager stood firm in his decision.

The Arborist Report was submitted to the client with recommendation for removal two days after the inspection. Just while the client was looking around for a contractor to remove this tree under Arborist supervision due to the dangers involved, this tree snapped clean to fall in the early morning of yesterday. Luckily no one was hurt & property damage was minor.

This is a strong case of independency of Arborist Work especially when it comes to reporting. The Arborist, especially if practicing independently, must not be influenced by anybody's interest & must be Fact-finding & Truth-telling. Arborsits in ISA HK/China have all agreed to the Station Principles of Integrity, Professionalism, Participation, Fact-finding & Truth-telling. Any breach may lead to termination & this Arborist will lose group support to become a lone wolf. This may be the harshest punishment any Arborist can get in our territory.

There are so many mature trees in our parks, housing estates, roads, schools, hospitals & public places nowadays. Arborist Reports may become more frequent for our CA whether in-house or self-practicing. The Arborist Profession is strongly scientific in that National Standards & ISA Guidelines are the basis of producing Arborist Reports. In the case of a Court challenge, any discrepancies with practicing standards can be easily disclosed by a more experienced & stronger Arborist on the opposite side. It is therefore our recommendation that any Arborist Report must be written independently without bias to favour any Dept or employer so that any future challenge can be minimized.

We hope the above information can be useful to our readers & for those who would like to go into practicing.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

Trees are good for the community. Trees need care just like human beings. Arborists are the Tree Care Professionals. (