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DESIGNING PAPERWORK

James Wallace of Wallace Risk Solutions outlines the six boxes a pest manager’s paperwork must tick in order to be fully compliant.

It goes without saying that to minimise risk to your business your insurer, and to help manage consumer expectations an inspector, needs good paperwork.

An inspector must make the decision to design his or her own paperwork or use a third party’s paperwork.

When designing paperwork, consideration needs to be given to the following six points:

Research: The paperwork must be designed around relevant and current industry practice, principals and methodologies including:

  • Standards Australia. Inspections of Buildings. Part 3: Timber Pest Inspection Reports. AS 4349.3
  • National Pest Management Industry, Competency Standards

Technical review: Once the paperwork has been drafted it will need to be submitted and verified by an independent authority for technical accuracy, e.g. Unisearch UNSW.

Legal review: The draft paperwork, including the terms and conditions of inspection and report need to be reviewed by legal counsel. Consideration must be given to inspector contractual, tortious and statutory liabilities.

Delivery platforms: How is the paperwork to be delivered when considering costs and inspector/consumer expectations. For example, the use of Apps to generate paperwork is becoming more commonplace, but Apps are expensive to develop.

Insurance: Will industry insurers accept the paperwork and if the paperwork is given/sold to third parties, does the author have professional indemnity insurance for the paperwork content?

Ongoing reviews: Paperwork is always evolving and being updated to reflect current industry practice. Ongoing technical and legal reviews take time and cost money.

After considering the above points, the time and effort required for an individual inspector to develop their own compliant paperwork is normally cost prohibitive, especially considering the associated technical and legal issues.

In the vast majority of cases, an individual inspector is better off using a recognised third party’s paperwork, provided the inspector is satisfied that the third party’s paperwork meets the above six points.

Good procedures and paperwork greatly assist your insurer in defending claims against you.

In respect of written information, the inspector should retain: all letters of instruction and messages – telephone, email or fax; all records; site notes; and a copy of the pre-engagement inspection agreement and the report. AS 4349.1-2007, Clause 3.4 notes that the inspection records should be retained for a period of at least three years.

James Wallace, Director, Wallace Risk Solutions