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Terms and Conditions

Copyright © Arbtech Consulting Ltd 2006-2024

1. Arbtech Consulting Ltd

1.1 Arbtech Consulting Ltd is a private limited company, Companies House registration number 05678552.

1.2 We are registered for Value Added Tax, registration number GB 903660148.

1.3 A list of directors is available for inspection at our Registered Office.

2. Registered Office

Charter Court, Well House Barns, Chester Road, Chester, CH4 0DH.

3. Our Aim

We aim to offer a fast and efficient survey and consultancy service at a fair cost.

4. Our Commitment to you

4.1 We will:

4.1.1 give you independent advice;

4.1.2 explain our work clearly and avoid using technical language;

4.1.3 ensure you are advised in writing of any costs associated with our work; and

4.1.4 survey and report with scientific integrity.

5. Terms and Conditions of Business

5.1 The following terms and conditions of business (“Terms”) give details of the basis upon which we will provide our consultancy services and should be read in conjunction with any accompanying correspondence.

5.2 Any dispute or legal issue arising from them will be determined by the law of England and Wales and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh Courts.

5.3 Unless otherwise agreed in writing, or unless superseded by a later edition of these Terms, these Terms:

5.3.1 establish and represent the entire agreement between us;

5.3.2 supersede any previous or other agreement; and

5.3.3 shall apply without variation to all present and any future instructions given to us by you;

and you confirm that in entering into these Terms you do not rely on, and shall have no remedies in respect of, any representation or warranty (whether made innocently or negligently) that is not set out in these Terms.

5.4 These Terms and any documents referred to in them are made for the benefit of the parties to them and their successors and permitted assigns, and are not intended to benefit, or be enforceable by, anyone else.

5.5 The rights and obligations of the parties shall continue for the benefit of and shall be binding upon their respective successors and assigns.

5.6 Subject to clause 5.9, we shall not be in breach of these Terms nor liable for delay in performing, or failure to perform, any of our obligations under these Terms if such delay or failure results from events, circumstances or cases beyond our reasonable control.

5.7 Nothing in these Terms is intended to, or shall be deemed to, establish any partnership or joint venture between any of the parties, constitute any party the agent of another party, or authorize any party to make or enter into any commitments for or on behalf of any other party.

5.8 Although your continuing instructions will amount to acceptance of these Terms, it may not be possible for us to start or continue work on your behalf until one copy of them, signed by you, has been returned to us.

5.9 Nothing in these Terms limits any liability which cannot legally be limited, including but not limited to liability for:

5.9.1 death or personal injury caused by negligence;

5.9.2 fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation; and

5.9.3 breach of the terms implied by section 2 of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 (title and quiet possession).

5.10 Unless otherwise agreed in writing between us, all sums due under these Terms are exclusive of Value Added Tax (“VAT”) or any other sales, import or export duties or taxes (if applicable) which shall be payable in addition at the same time as payment of any sums due.

6. Hours of Business

The normal hours of opening at our offices are between 9.00AM and 5.00PM on weekdays. Messages can be left for us by e-mail outside of these hours and will be responded to within one working day.

7. Responsibility for your Work

7.1 In our confirmation of your instructions, you will be given the name and contact details of the person or persons responsible for dealing with your work. In the first instance, you should always direct inquiries to this person. We will try to avoid changing the people who handle your work, but if this cannot be avoided, we will try to inform you promptly.

7.2 We do not accept any responsibility to store your data or files and our work, including any communications between you and us, in hard copy or using digital media. Any storage of your data or files and our work is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy your data or files and our work after such period we consider reasonable, which may be less than one year. During our engagement we will not store or make available for retrieval your data or files and our work, whether in hard copy or digital media.

7.3 We do not accept any responsibility whatsoever for the collection, recovery or disposal of any items, products or equipment purchased by you as a disbursement and utilised as part of our work at your site or elsewhere, collectively referred to as “Disbursement Items”. Examples of Disbursements Items are fencing, signposts, reptile refugia (list is not exhaustive). If you require Disbursement Items to be recovered from your site, this does not form part of our standard method of work nor our Fees. Therefore, any collection, recovery or disposal of Disbursement Items is an incremental demand on our time and would require a revision to our agreed Fees, pursuant to clause 8.2.

8. Fees and Expenses

8.1 You shall pay our fees and expenses (“Fees”) in consideration of us providing our consultancy services to you. Our Fees include (without limitation) any sums payable under this clause 8.

8.2 All of our Fees are exclusive of any VAT.

8.3 We may provide you with a quote for our Fees. Any quote may be on the basis of a fixed price, and/or an estimate of the likely fees (calculated on a time-and-materials basis) for carrying out the services in question.

8.4 Where we have provided you with a quote for our Fees:

8.4.1 this will be based on the information available to us at the time and assumes that our work will not prove to be substantially more complex, require more resources nor be more time consuming than is normal for that type of work. We reserve the right to revise any quote or provide a further quote if we are required to do work that is additional to that which was initially anticipated, and/or if you instruct us to carry out further work;

8.4.2 where that quote contains an estimate of likely fees, that estimate is subject to revision and does not amount to a contractual commitment on our part to carry out the services for those fees; and

8.4.3 where that quote contains a fixed price, unless otherwise agreed with you in writing, our Fees for carrying out any services in excess of those included within the fixed price shall be charged on a time-and-materials basis.

8.5 Where our Fees are calculated on a time-and-materials basis, this shall mainly be by reference to the amount of time actually spent by our surveyors and other staff carrying out any work which we are instructed, expected or required to do on your behalf. This may include (but not be limited to) time spent travelling to and from our place office or home; meetings with you and others; reading and working on papers; preparing and approving documents and drawings; correspondence (including by e-mail); making and receiving telephone calls; and preparation of any detailed costs calculations.

8.6 We also reserve the right to charge additional Fees for:

8.6.1 any additional services required: due to disruption in our performance of the services because of any variations to the project that you require; by agreement with you; due to any failure or delay by you in fulfilling your obligations under these Terms; because we are delayed by others (or by events which were not reasonably foreseeable); because of any other reasons beyond our control;

8.6.2 any abortive and/or wasted time and costs including but not limited to the amount of time actually spent by our surveyors and other staff attending a survey site but where they have not been able to obtain access to the survey site for any reason;

8.6.3 our work done where, for any reason, your instructions do not proceed to completion, (including but not limited to work of an administrative nature and any expenses incurred), our Fees in this case being subject to a minimum charge of £100.00 (one hundred pounds) (exclusive of VAT); and

8.6.4 any reasonable expenses incurred in the course of performing our obligations under these Terms, including (without limitation) for any reasonable accommodation, travel, telephone, food, subsistence, out-of-pocket, any other expenses incurred in the course of performing the services.

8.7 Should you instruct us in accordance with clause 10 of these Terms, but cancel (for whatever reason) before we have carried out a survey then (without prejudice to clause 12 of these Terms), you will be liable to pay a cancellation fee of £250.00 (two hundred and fifty pounds) (exclusive of VAT), or an amount equal to 50% of our quote or estimate (pursuant to clause 8.2) (exclusive of VAT), whichever is the greater, to cover the cost of our consultant not being engaged on a survey, plus any disbursements already incurred (pursuant to clause 9).

9. Disbursements

9.1 In the course of discharging your instructions, we may need to incur some additional costs called disbursements. Examples of disbursements include obtaining an Ordnance Survey tile for your tree survey, or obtaining biological data from a wildlife trust or local authority records centre for your ecology report.

9.2 We will advise you of the requirement for us to incur such costs and the likely expense to you as the matter progresses. You should be aware that under normal circumstances we invoice for disbursements separately and in addition to our Fees. We are entitled to the reimbursement of disbursements at cost plus a handling charge of £50.00 (fifty pounds) (exclusive of VAT). Disbursements are quoted exclusive of VAT. If you instruct us to procure disbursements on your behalf, and then cancel your survey for any reason, you are still liable for the disbursement costs plus our handling charge of £50.00 (fifty pounds) (exclusive of VAT).

10. Instructions

10.1 We will not undertake any work without being instructed to do so in writing.

10.2 The only acceptable method of instructing us is to complete and return our survey booking form, in hard copy or online, which constitute your unequivocal agreement to these Terms.

10.3 In the highly unlikely event of any dispute, you accept that a returned e-mail from your account including our survey booking form as an attachment and our original quotation in the e-mail chain, is considered as binding as a physically signed copy.

11. Limited Companies and Limited Partnerships

11.1 When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited companies and limited partnerships, we may require a director/partner/controlling shareholder to sign a form of personal guarantee in respect of our Fees. If such a request is refused, we will be entitled to stop acting and to require immediate payment of our Fees incurred to that time.

12. Consumers and Distance Selling

12.1 If you are a “Consumer” (as defined by regulation 4 of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (“Regulations”)) then you will be deemed to have instructed us in accordance with clause 10.

12.2 If these Terms have been entered into as a “Distance Contract” (as defined by regulation 5 of the Regulations) then under normal circumstances, you have a right to cancel your instructions within 14 days of instructing us.

12.2.1 Such cancellation must be made in writing to us. A model cancellation form can be provided to you, though you are not obliged to use it.

12.3 If you are a Consumer and cancel in accordance with clause 12.2, we will reimburse any payments received from you, unless you have supplied us with your “Express Request” (as defined by regulation 36 of the Regulations) for us to begin your work immediately or within the 14-day period, pursuant to clause 12.4. Such payment will be made without undue delay and not later than 14 days of receipt of your written cancellation.

12.4 If you are a Consumer and require us to carry out any work within the 14-day period pursuant to clause 2, then you must supply us with your Express Request before we can undertake our work.

12.4.1 The following action taken by you shall be understood by us to be your Express Request for us to begin your work: instructing, requesting, or agreeing for us to begin your work on a date that falls within the 14-day period, verbally or in written correspondence (including by e-mail), originating from you, or from an Agent acting for you, in accordance to clause 13 of these Terms.

12.4.2 Usually, that means we will have begun our work within the 14-day period.

12.4.3 For the avoidance of doubt: your cancellation rights under the Regulations will end if we receive your Express Request for to us to begin work within the 14-day period.

12.5 If you are a Consumer, we reserve all rights to recover full payment for our work in circumstances where you attempt to cancel your appointment or require us to cease work after the 14-day period has expired, or in the event you gave your Express Request for us to being your work within 14-day period, pursuant to clause 12.4.

12.5.1 If you are a Consumer and provide your Express Request for us to commence work pursuant to clause 12.4, and we have completed the work as instructed, then we are entitled to charge you our full Fees plus other costs pursuant to clause 8.

12.5.2 If you are a Consumer and provide your Express Request for us to commence work pursuant to clause 12.4, and you then cancel before we have completed our work as instructed, you shall pay us an amount which is in proportion to what has been performed until you have communicated to us your cancellation of our work.

13. Agents

13.1 You are an Agent if you are instructing us on another party’s behalf (“Agent”).

13.2 For example, the Agent might be an architect instructing us on behalf of a client. It could also be a consultant, lawyer, friend, relative, or business associate.

13.3 In the event that the Agent instructs us, then the Agent agrees to Joint and Several Liability for our Fees.

14. Joint and Several Liability

14.1 In the event that two or more individuals or parties are instructing us, including Agents instructing us on behalf of their clients, the individuals or parties shall be jointly and severally liable for their respective obligations and liabilities arising under this agreement.

14.2 Arbtech Consulting Ltd may take action against, or release or compromise the liability of any person with Joint and Several Liability or grant time or other indulgence without affecting the liability of any other person.

15. Billing and Payment

15.1 In respect of any quote given pursuant to clause 8.3, unless otherwise agreed in writing, payment in full is due immediately upon receipt of your instructions under clause 10.

15.2 On receipt of your instructions we will normally contact you promptly to obtain a payment over the phone, by credit or debit card. Depending upon the type of card, card issuer and the amount, we may levy a small administrative charge for payments by credit or debit card.

15.3 We require payment in full prior to accepting instructions from or on behalf of overseas clients.

15.4 In all other circumstances, and unless otherwise agreed in writing, you shall pay each invoice within 30 days of the date of the invoice.

15.5 Any survey reports, drawings and other documents shall only be provided to you following payment of our Fees due in accordance with these Terms in full.

15.6 Invoices shall not be re-assigned without the prior written consent of a director of Arbtech Consulting Ltd.

15.7 We are entitled to charge you interest on the amount of our bill until the date of payment, if payment of the bill is not made within 30 days of your invoice tax date. Interest is charged at 8% over the HSBC Bank PLC base lending rate from time to time in force.

15.8 You are liable for any costs (including but not limited to interest; compensation; our Fees; disbursements) involved in recovering outstanding Fees including those levied by the us in accordance with The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 as amended and those levied by third parties including but not limited to Debt Collectors, Solicitors and the Courts.

15.9 You shall pay all amounts due under these Terms in full in cleared funds and without any set-off, counterclaim, deduction or withholding (except for any deduction or withholding required by law).

15.10 Interim invoices for our Fees and disbursements incurred may be raised at any time during the course of our work on your behalf.

15.11 Alternative payment methods are: bank transfer to our nominated bank account.

15.12 Our nominated bank account details are available upon request.

15.13 We only accept payments in cash made directly into our nominated bank account. Cash payments made directly into our nominated bank account must be confirmed to us in writing, otherwise we have no means of identifying your payment.

15.14 Receipt of your payment does not constitute our acceptance of your instructions and we reserve the right to return your payment and decline to accept your instructions.

15.15 The title to our intellectual property and copyright covering all work issued by us (whether hard copy or digital media) remains in our ownership until paid for in full, and can be subject to withdrawal from either public or private domain if our payment terms are exceeded. The continued use of our intellectual property, by any party following withdrawal shall be considered a breach of the Terms and copyright.

15.16 All Fees and disbursements for next working day services require payment immediately upon booking for all elements of your quotation including both the service you are booking, our disbursements and the next working day delivery charge.

15.17 We may decide to stop working for you if there is or may be a conflict of interest, where you fail to produce satisfactory evidence of identity, or where there is another good reason (such as failing to pay a bill in accordance with these Terms). We will give you up to 24 hours’ notice in writing (which may be by e-mail) if we decide to stop working for you. If you or we decide that we will no longer work for you, you will pay our Fees up until that point with immediate effect.

15.18 We do not accept payment by instalments unless a director of Arbtech Consulting Ltd has agreed this at the outset in writing.

16. CIS Scheme and Retainers

16.1 There will be no CIS deductions in respect to our invoices as the type of work undertaken by us is explicitly excluded from the scheme.

16.2 Retainers will not apply to your instructions. Our invoices are due without deduction, demand or set-off.

17. Complaints

17.1 It is our aim to offer you an efficient and effective service at all times and we hope that you will be pleased with the work we do for you. However, if there is any part of our service you are not happy with, please raise your concern in the first instance with the person you are dealing with. We aim to rectify the occasional mistake promptly and at no charge to you. Along with a sincere apology, this action is generally sufficient to satisfy our clients.

17.2 If you still have queries or concerns, please ask the person you are dealing with to escalate your complaint through our formal Complaints Handling Procedure.

17.3 By forwarding any report, survey or other work to a third party (including but not limited to local planning authorities) and thereby using it for its intended purpose, you are deemed to have accepted the quality of such work and shall not be entitled to any set-off or refund.

18. Data Protection

18.1 We will use the information you supply primarily to provide you with our services and for related purposes including: updating and enhancing client records; management and analysis of our company and its performance; statutory returns; legal and regulatory compliance. Our use of this information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 2018, GDPR and our duty of confidentiality. We may sometimes have to give your information to third parties such as your other professional advisors and local authorities and public bodies. You have a right of access to the data we hold about you.

19. Limitation of Liability

19.1 The following provisions of this clause 19 are subject to clause 5.9.

19.2 We maintain adequate professional indemnity insurance policies at all times, however, in no circumstances whatsoever, including negligence, shall we be liable to you or any other third party for indirect or consequential loss of revenue, profit or business opportunity (list is not exhaustive).

19.3 You acknowledge and accept that our Fees do not contain a sufficient premium to cover the risk of our unlimited liability and that a limit of liability is therefore reasonable in any and every circumstance or eventuality. Without prejudice to the remainder of this clause, our absolute maximum liability will be limited to an aggregate equivalent to no more than five times our Fees, up to a maximum of £50,000.00 (fifty thousand pounds). We have no further liability to you or any other third party in connection with our work. You agree not to pursue any claim, issue or other legal proceedings against any individual including shareholders, directors and employees of Arbtech Consulting Ltd for any reason.

19.4 We will not be liable to you for any losses, damages, costs or expenses (“Losses”) if such Losses are due to the provision of false, misleading or incomplete information or documentation, or due to the acts or omissions of any person other than a member of permanently employed staff at Arbtech Consulting Ltd.

19.5 We will not be liable to you for any loss of revenue or profit whether potential or realised, or any potential or realised foregone economic or business opportunity, for any reason.

19.6 Details of our professional indemnity insurance cover and provider are available upon request.

20. Performance

20.1 We will provide you with an estimated programme for our works either in our quotation or shortly after accepting your instructions.

20.2 Subject to clause 5.9, we will not be liable for any delays in performance caused by circumstances beyond our reasonable control and will be entitled to a time extension for such performance.

20.3 We may subcontract some or all of our obligations to a competent third party.

20.4 Where we request documentation or information from you or other parties we expect to be in receipt of this information within one working day, otherwise this will delay the performance of your work.

21. Hard Copies

We do not provide paper and other physical or hard digital media copies of our work or communications unless otherwise stated explicitly in our quotation at the outset. All works and communications will be electronic for speed and environmental sensitivity.

22. Reliance

22.1 Information provided to us by you or third parties will be relied upon and will not be verified or checked for accuracy by us. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of survey data where there is no easy access to the subject or in the event we are supplied with inadequate documentation or information on which to base our work.

22.2 If we are unable to complete a report compliant to an recognised or industry best practice standard because of an absence or inadequate, a); information supplied by the client b); lack of third party data, goods or services, or c); lack of access to the survey subject, then we reserve the right to release your Report in draft only.

23. Site Access

You are exclusively responsible for making all necessary notices and arrangements to grant us access to your site, and third-party landholdings (if any), and to secure it after we have left. We require free and unfettered access to relevant areas of your site or property. Access must be free from hazards to health including but not limited to medical paraphernalia and animal excrement. Access must always be arranged by you in an appropriate time frame and not less than one working day before we are due to visit your site. We do not hold, collect, drop off or post keys.

24. Site Plans and Drawings

Depending upon the type of survey you are instructing, you may need to supply us with a topographical survey drawing in AutoCAD DXF or DWG format showing clearly all salient features of the site in addition to a drawing or plan showing clearly your expectation of the survey area extent. This drawing must be correctly geo-referenced. In the absence of an adequate topographical survey drawing, we may require your authority to procure an Ordnance Survey tile at an appropriate scale.

25. Seasonality

Many of our surveys and assessments can be undertaken at any time of year (including under seasonal conditions established by best practice guidance to be sub-optimal) and a single site visit is all that is required to produce downstream work and satisfy a planning authority and or other statutory organisations. However, if from a combination of field survey and desk study your site appears to be suitable to host locally or nationally important, priority or legally protected habitats and or species of plants, fungi and animals, we may need to recommend further survey work within an established ‘optimal’ season in order to produce downstream work and or fully discharge your obligations under various local and national planning policies and Acts of Parliament. In this event, regardless of the circumstances, any such further survey would form part of a separate instruction and fee agreement, and you shall not be entitled to any set-off or refund against your original instructions.

26. Money Back Guarantee

Our guarantee is simple. If you accept and execute our recommendations exactly as we describe and advise you, and you do not achieve a planning consent exclusively on the basis of our advice, we will refund your money in full, provided that the three following conditions are met: (i) we have been given the opportunity to communicate with the local planning authority directly to resolve any query or objection to our work, or any error or omission in our work within ten business days of being notified by you of the same, and; (ii) in the course of doing so we have confirmed that their view is a difference of a quantum that is both objective and measurable, and not the LPA’s subjective interpretation and application of industry best practices or legislation; and; (iii) following our undertaking of either or both of section 26, sub-clauses i and ii (above), we have been given the opportunity to correct any mistakes of an administrative or technical nature in our reports and drawings within a further ten working days. For the avoidance of doubt, if your planning consent was refused on any grounds other than or in addition to a query or objection to our work raised by the local planning authority (and not a third party objector of any type), the guarantee shall not apply.

27. Language

The only language offered by us for any contract is English.

Terms above revised 20th March 2023, superseding previous terms that can be found HERE

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