UKTC Archive

For the Clever People

Subject: For the Clever People
From: Paul Hawksford
Date: Aug 12 1999 23:40:33
UK Tree Care - http://www.oak-wood.co.uk/uktc/

To the clever people

Post Damage Investigation:

Damage occuring to the building at the present time

Given the increase in subsidence related building damage claims often
attributed to localised vegetation, how many UKTC members carry out
daily/weekly/monthly analysis in this area?

How confident are you in your analysis and what data do you refer to?

What are your definitive causal link procedures and abatement measures?

Is pruning the answer and if so why? Or is tree removal the only answer
(besides building precautionary measures)? 

What is the normal commission for your input - before or after the
engineers report?

Do you feel you are "expert" in such cases and why?

Scenario 1

Minor cracks in the building, proximity of neighbouring semi-mature Ash
tree (4.0 metres distance), soil sample analysis indicates Plasticity
Index (modified PI of 17), moisture content 38%. Depth 1200mm. Ash are
covered by a TPO. What are your abatement measures?

Scenario 2

Minor cracks in the building, proximity of neighbouring semi-mature Ash
tree (4.0 metres distance), soil sample analysis indicates Plasticity
Index (modified PI of 42), moisture content 28%. Depth 1200mm. Ash are
covered by a TPO. What are your abatement measures?

Preliminary Investigations:

NO damage to the building at the present time

Scenario 1

In a preliminary investigation, two early-mature Oak trees in good
physiological condition are positioned at 5.0 metres and 9.0 metres
from the rear flank of a 1930?s property on a potentially HIGH
shrinkable clay component, south east of London, what recommendations
would you provide?

Scenario 2 

In a preliminary investigation, two early-mature Oak trees in good
physiological condition are positioned at 5.0 metres and 9.0 metres
from the rear flank of a 1930?s property on a potentially LOW
shrinkable clay component, south east of London, what recommendations
would you provide?

How do you figure potential shrinkability from simple augured profiles?
How do you figure on-site soil moisture content and potential
differential in SMD?
How many samples across the site are sufficient, soils are not
generally homogenous.
Where are soil samples taken from, usually the shrub bed, easy, but
provides less evidence as opposed to samples taken close to the
building. If faced with hard surfaces do you dig it up and take samples
or go with the easy lawn/shrub bed option? Kid yourself not, your
analysis can be fucked if you run with the easy option! 

How do you deal with neighbouring vegetation and what caveats within
your report format deal with the situation in order to protect you PI
insurance? Do you put the neighbouring vegetation owners on notice,
after all, they may be liable for their property (the tree) should it
cause a problem to surrounding properties (directly or indirectly).

Given a TPO or Conservation Area Order, how do Tree Officers deal with
such situations? Is it a case of "prove it and we will act" or a case
of sheer ignorance?

I would ask the clever people out there to come up with some answers on
preliminary and post-damage issues. Those of you who think you know all
the answers are often those who actually don?t. Simple waffle often
misguides and prolongs the many myths and destabilises arboricultural
professionalism.

On-going research may prove useful, though myths will remain throughout
our allied industries. Doubts remain and PI insurance gets ever more
expensive.

After all, if in doubt, take it out! Or not as the case may be to the
"pruners." (Transpiration rates are intrinsically linked to soil
moisture abstraction etc, etc, etc) - Prune and all shall be won -
Bollocks!!!!!!!!!!!!


Anon??with a big Mac, but only if I'm sleeping in a Midlands back
garden, after falling into a pond!!

Paul H.




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