Making recommendations and generating work schedules are all part of the survey process. OTISS also allows you to record when (and by whom) the work was actually done, and to take photos of the results.

This section applies to Tree Safety and Furniture surveys. For BS5837 surveys, there are 3 fields on the survey form to record the Pre-, During- and Post- construction recommendations.

The recommendations, work done, work notes and photos form part of the History or Audit Trial record of each tree/item.

Recommendations and Timescales

The survey form has three separate Recommendation fields to record what work is required. Each recommendation field has a separate Timescale/priority, so that you can itemise short and long term work/maintenance recommendations. The Timescale fields state how quickly the work should be carried out; e.g. Urgent, 3 months, 1 year, etc.

To keep the survey form simple, many users choose to hide one or two of the recommendation fields and group all the action items together with a single timescale.

The Recommendations fields allow for free text entry. Below each field there is another button that allows you to select from a list of commonly used work items, these are appended to the text field and can then be modified as required. You can customise the Recommendations and Timescale fields to suit your own working practices – this is done via the Customise Survey button on the TreeSafety or Furniture page.

You have two options on what to do when there are no actions required on a particular tree.

  1. For some surveys, it is best to fill in the Recommendation field to say ‘No action required.‘ (or similar) and set the Timescale to ‘No Action‘. This provides an explicit record of your recommendation and will be shown in all the Survey and Recommendation reports.
  2. Alternatively, you can simply leave the Recommendation fields blank. In this case, the Recommendation reports will be shorter, and more focused on the works/actions required.

Work Due Dates and Map Icons

The Work Due dates are automatically calculated based on the date when the inspection was made (e.g. 22 Jan 2020) and the timescale (e.g. 1 Year).

The Work Due dates appear as columns on the spreadsheet pages, and can be used to sort the tables.
On the Maps page, you can colour code the icons based on when the work is due for completion.
The Work Due dates appear in the Excel Recommendation reports and the Excel Complete reports. You can add also them into your own Excel Report Templates.

Recording the Work Done

Each of the three Recommendations above also have a set of fields that are used to record the work actually carried out on the tree/item. WorkDone is always linked to a set of recommendations – so you have to first create a recommendation, and then add the work done information.

When you tick the “All works completed” box, we record the date the work was done, the name of the OTISS user (i.e. who was part of the team who actually did the work – or who did a followup visit to check everything was done) and some work notes. The work notes may be useful when the job was not straight-forward. You can record reasons why all the work was not completed, or why extra work was carried when more issues were uncovered.

The work dates and notes allow for a complete record and audit trail of all survey and subsequent maintenance work on each tree.

The Work Done fields are accessed via a WorkDone button that is located beside the corresponding recommendation field on the survey form (both on the mobile survey apps and on the website).

You can customise the WorkDone fields via the Customise Survey button on the TreeSafety or Furniture page. These WorkDone fields are often hidden whilst doing the surveying, and then made visible for the follow-up work.

Survey – Active stage

Each survey moves through a set of stages – from PlanningActiveWork and finally Closed. Read more…

During the Active stage of the survey the trees/items are plotted, inspected and the recommendations are made.

  • To keep the survey form simple, many users choose to hide one or two of the Recommendation fields and group all the action items together with a single timescale.
  • You can/should also hide the Work Done fields, to keep the survey form smaller and stay focused on the inspection process.

Survey – Work stage

When all the inspections are complete and the work schedules agreed, the work teams are assigned to carry out the work. The survey can be moved from Active to Work stage.

  • Other OTISS users can be assigned to the survey.
  • The Work Done fields should be made visible on the survey form.
  • This allows estate staff or arboricultural contractors to carry out and record the work done. Using the OTISS Tree Survey app, they download the Work survey and see all the trees and photos that require work (coloured red) on their phone/tablet.
  • As the work progresses, the work team can tick the ‘Work Completed’ checkbox, add notes (if required) and can take photos to show the results. The coloured icons turn green when the work has been recorded.
  • The important thing about the Work stage, is that none of the inspection details, recommendations or photos can be changed – only the Work Done checkbox and work notes can be updated.
  • If a tree/item is felled/removed, you may want to tick the ‘Remove from Map’ checkbox. When checked, the survey records will show on the OTISS spreadsheet webpage and reports, but this tree/item no longer appears on the maps.
  • Alternatively, when the work has been completed on a tree, you may wish to keep the tree icon on the map, but can change the Tree Structure fields to be Stump, Pollard, etc to record the new state.

Rather than letting the contractors update the Work Done fields, the arboricultural consultant may choose the re-inspect the trees after the work teams have completed the works. In this case, they will check that everything has been done to their satisfaction and update the Work Done fields themselves. This can be done either in the Active or the Work stage.

Finally, when all the work has been completed, the survey should be moved to the Closed stage. This prevents any further changes to the data stored. Next year a new Re-Survey created so that we don’t overwrite any of the previous data.

Survey – Carrying out Re-Surveys

In many cases, OTISS is not used to record the Work Done using the Work Stage surveys described above. What often happens is that the consultant will be asked to re-survey the estate after a year or so, and he/she finds that only some of the recommended works have been carried out. In order to maintain accurate history of a tree, we want to do all the following:

  • Where works recommended in the previous survey have been completed – then mark them as Work Completed.
  • Where works recommended in the previous survey have been partially or badly carried out – then make notes and carry forward any remaining tasks.
  • Where works recommended in the previous survey have not been done – then re-assess and carry forward as required.
  • Add new recommendations as required.

On the mobile apps when you are carrying out a Re-Survey, a Record Work Done button appears at the top of the survey form to allow you to first update any outstanding Recommendation/Work Items that are present on the previous survey – then you can continue with the Re-Survey. In effect, you fill in the Works form for the previous survey, then return and fill in the ReSurvey form for the new survey. Note: if there is no outstanding work, then this button does not appear.

We achieve this by automatically placing the previous survey into the Work stage. When you are finished on-site, you Sync the ReSurvey (as usual) and you will also need to Sync the previous Work survey.

Later when you have finished your reports etc, we recommend that you change both surveys to the Closed stage.