Consult

Consulting services: Expert Witness, Appraisal, R&D, Training etc.

Dr Don’s work is mostly  contract research, expert witness & dispute work, training and assisting pest management businesses. Fees are competitive and retainers are available. (Click on the topic links in this paragraph or scroll down to browse.)
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Assisting business

Commercial operations and premises often have pest problems. These pests may present as constantly arriving annoyances, seasonal dispersers or occur as event-based outbreaks. Audits of food production and handling operations (Field Biologist appraisals)  comprise the bulk of this pest work but for example, transport, logistics, hospitals, aged care and educational institutions are commonly assisted.

Mouse remains in a bakery's electric motor
Motor Mouse

Business services include, risk assessment, pest identification, site survey, management plans, quality audits, training materials, integrated pest management (IPM) planning, in-house staff induction & training and assessment of pest management services and options. We will also review service provisions and contracts, assist with proposal evaluations and the drafting of specifications. Pest risk management companies are increasingly being assisted in the development of their corporate documentation and policies.

Businesses, particularly those producing, packing or handling food often require annual field biologist survey and assessment of the performance of their pest management program to meet the reporting requirements of their customers. Suppliers to Aldi, Coles, IGA and Woolworths are regularly serviced. A quality field biologist survey can not only help to meet HACCP and BRC requirements, it can catch nascent problems,  improve efficiency and reduce costs.

For the contracting pest manager, services include pre-contract inspection, field biologist annual quality inspections, evaluation of options and outcomes, reporting advice and various forms of training.

Contract Research

Fibre optic cable problems
Chewed cable sheath

Product suppliers, manufacturers and developers, please contact us directly to discuss your project requirements. Most work covers the assessment and development of items, methods and chemicals for the control or exclusion of termites, but other pests covered include stored-product pests, timber borers (mostly beetles), fungal decay, ants, moths and cockroaches. Both laboratory and field trials are available and research may be indicative (quick and dirty) or detailed (compliance assessment) of products, chemicals or services. Assessments against Coptotermes acinaciformis and Mastotermes darwiniensis are the most common, but assessments against Microcerotermes, Nasutitermes and Heterotermes are also available. Assessments against Schedorhinotermes are sometimes possible.

Coptotermes Field test
Termite row housing to compare building elements.

Assessment of termite management options in compliance with Australian Standards is available (Don is the principal author of AS 3660.3-2014 Termite Management, Part 3: Assessment criteria for termite management systems) and assessments to provide evidence to support Codemark certifications are available.

Research is also undertaken to provide documents such as specifications, agreements, procedures, protocols, Codes of Practice, policy documents and training materials.

Training

Don working with Conquer Termites, an up & coming SE Queensland company.
Don working with Conquer Termites, an up & coming SE Queensland company.

Formal training in the Australian pest management competencies is provided through Melbourne Polytechnic. Enrolments to suit specific needs are possible for

  1. the entire Certificate III course,
  2. the basic competencies (5, 6 & 18) to support a licence application,
  3. the timber pest units (8 & 10)
  4. and a selection of units suitable for back office staff.

Classes are held generally as 3-day blocks. Licence training takes two 3-day blocks spaced about a month apart plus on-the-job and assignment work. It is very flexible. The full Certificate III can be done over 1 to 2 years, though some have successfully done it in 6 months. Interstate, overseas and foreign students are welcome. On-campus accommodation is a possibility. For large groups, training is possible on company premises.

Informal training is available across a wide range of needs:

  • Skill updates
  • Technical training for technicians, office/sales staff and client’s staff
  • One-on-one technician ride-along
  • Working with a company’s in-house training program

 

When things get ugly

Drill holes tell a story
Drill holes tell a story

Disputes and the threat of litigation can be very damaging to both the affected client and the accused service provider. An independent third-party expert investigation may help

  • defuse matters where there is a misunderstanding
  • provide independent expert evidence to support a negotiated settlement or to inform a mediator
  • provide a credible expert witness report and testimony for courts and tribunals

Clients for expert witness work include property owners, body corporate, consumers, pest managers and insurers. Most of this work is expert witness assessment due to termite infestation but tasks have included stored product pests in Australia and SE Asia, rodents, mites, booklice, agricultural pests, ants, cockroaches, wood boring beetles and timber decay. Some jobs involve prospective risk such as failure of a builder or pest manager to provide the contracted services during construction/renovation of buildings Assessments of compliance with AS3660.1-2000, AS3660.1-2014 and AS 3660.3-2014 are provided. Pest managers who have a client complaint or claim can benefit from independent appraisal and advice. Often, problems can be solved by driving settlement through a weight of evidence.

Fees

Fees are available on request. In general, small jobs are either quoted or charged at an hourly rate plus expenses. Anything over 7 hours is generally charged at a day rate plus expenses. Where practical we fly economy/coach. Pest identification is charged at $75 to $120. Subject to the limitations of local law and the extent of insurance cover, these services are available worldwide. Distant clients are charged a little more to cover time differences and additional expenses for telephony and communication. Identifications may be cheaper and the occasional difficult identification, if pursued, may cost a bit more.

Retainers

It’s efficient to have someone available to review your problems, when the need arises. A quick phone call, without the slow-down of expenditure approval or engagement rigmarole, can be a wise investment. Smaller companies and individuals are invited to request a standard retainer. In general a retainer fee of $1,000 per annum covers up to 10 hours of email/SMS/telephone consultation and up to 10 pest identifications. Larger businesses, lawyers, and law companies are charged at a higher rate. Subject to the limitations of local law and the extent of insurance cover, these services are available worldwide. Distant clients are charged a little more to cover time differences and additional expenses for telephony and communication.