Adam Winson MICFor, AWA Trees
My role as a tree consultant is to provide professional advice on managing trees in the built environment, specialising in expert tree surveys and reports. I started my own small company, AWA Tree Consultants Ltd, around two years ago, and so far it has been a growing, successful business.
Based in South Yorkshire, we offer our private, commercial and public sector clients across the UK a range of tree consultant services, including: planning applications for development, safety responsibilities and liabilities, mortgage approval and expert witness work. We have recently bought new office space in Kelham Island, in the heart of Sheffield’s old industrial quarter, and next year are looking to take on new staff.
I was conscious that, to be selling professional tree consultancy services to paying clients, without first achieving Professional membership of ICF, with Chartered Arboriculturist status, I ran the risk of being perceived as a charlatan. So, although I had a high level of academic qualifications and experience within arboriculture, it wasn’t until gaining professional membership that I truly felt confident to go for it and start a business as a tree consultant.
Professional membership of the ICF has been integral in the company’s successful establishment during the crucial first couple of years of trading, and it gives me assurance for its future prosperity. It has helped us win work that as a small newly established company we may have been overlooked on, if it were not for the confidence membership gives our clients. We’ve been instructed on major multiple-million pound infrastructure projects, such as new roads and wind farms, which clients can’t gamble with by instructing unproven consultants, with the risk of sub-standard survey data and the costly time-delays this could mean for a project.
In particular, Chartered Arboriculturist status is highly regarded, and many clients have singled us out as their preferred choice for tree survey work as a result of it. Many of our clients have chartered status, such as Architects, Landscape Architects and Town Planners, and they have actively sought out a similar professional to undertake specialist arboricultural work.
It’s an exciting time to be working as a tree consultant; public appreciation of the value of urban trees has never been higher, and it is finally becoming a recognised and established profession. A key part of this recognition is avoiding the use of non-specialists to undertake specialist work and an acknowledgement that an arboriculturist should be suitably qualified and experienced. There is no clearer way of showing this than by professional ICF membership. I feel privileged to be able to continue to work hard to grow the company and meet the expectations that my clients have when they see ‘Chartered Arboriculturist’ after my name.