Cheap but definitely not cheerful!

More often than not, Invasive Weed Solutions Ltd (IWSL) are contacted when an invasive species problem has been exacerbated by interference from another ‘specialist’ contractor.

Several months ago, IWSL were contacted by property owner X; for the purpose of this blog, I’ll refer to him as Mr Smith. Mr Smith instructed IWSL to undertake a full Japanese knotweed survey of the property and surrounding land, with his eventual plan to develop an area of his rear garden to housing.

Japanese knotweed was identified during the survey, recorded along the boundary of his property and neighbouring garden. IWSL analysed the site proposals and offered an array of mechanical remediation strategies following industry guidance and best practice. The preferred option included removing the Knotweed from within the development footprint to landfill, with the installation of vertical root barriers along the boundary line, and monitoring with continued herbicide treatments to prevent growth migrating back on to site.

After a-few weeks of liaising with Mr Smith, a decision was made to instruct another contractor, who offered a cheaper solution as they had ‘expertise in all fields of work’. All questions were answered, and works commenced in the following month.

10 weeks later…

IWSL were contacted by Mr Smith, explaining that the contractor had completed the removal but couldn’t provide the insurance policies that they once promised. After encountering various problems with the contractor, Mr Smith researched the company and discovered that the ‘invasive specialist’ was not registered with either of the recognised trade bodies (INNSA & PCA).

As the works were completed by a third party to an unknown standard, IWSL were unable to immediately issue Insurance Backed Guarantee policies for completed mechanical works. To resolve the issue, IWSL was instructed to undertake an additional site survey to assess the original Knotweed infestation areas. During this inspection, an additional 3 areas of growth were recorded, likely to have occurred due to cross-contamination during the main excavation works.

As a precaution, IWSL undertook further exploratory excavations and installed the vertical root barrier along the boundary which had not been included by the previous contractor. A two year monitoring and treatment programme was implemented to ensure that the in-situ areas were successfully treated. With works completed to industry standard, IWSL were then able to issue the necessary Insurance Backed Guarantee required for the sale of the new build.

A word of advice for home owners, please do your research prior to appointing someone to help you resolve the issue on your land. Spending a couple of hours to complete background checks, could potentially save you weeks of trying to correct the problem and save your pocket! Cheap is often not cheerful.

Natalie Roberts
Surveyor at Invasive Weed Solutions Ltd