FAQs Adventure Courses

Vertigo

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FAQs

Tell me about CONTRACTS AND PAYMENT SCHEDULES

We offer a simple contract, which simply states we will build you this course, to this design, at this price. It is a simple straightforward transaction so there are no headaches with contracts and payment schedules. You will have full drawings and specifications and a clear description of the build. The payment terms will depend on the scale of the project but invariably include a deposit and stage payments through the build. In this way you keep control to ensure that progress is, as promised in the contract. Due to the nature of the business we develop a good friendship with our customers. We invariably spend a lot of time together and we like to have an open, positive and friendly relationship so that they and by default us can have a happy and prosperous future.

LONG TERM HEALTH OF TREES?

Will adding a rope element affect the health of a tree? The simple answer is yes, but the trick is choosing the most appropriate design to minimise the effect and select a tree that is healthy.   The effect on the tree should be negligible and the impact can be off set through regular dead-wooding, woodland maintenance. The impact on the wider environment is further off set through:
  • Social benefits – providing an amenity to the wider society
  • Woodland management – if the site is economically successful then it could receive future investment, rubbish cleared, trees planted. In short the site will be managed in a way to improve the health of trees and the viability of a wood.

What security considerations are there?

Making sure that the site is safe when closed is imperative. Sites are designed to be attractive, and if you’re a cheeky monkey, the perfect place to hang out. But as the site owner it is your responsibility to ensure that the security measures that are in place are ‘reasonable and practical’. What this means in reality is open to interpretation. If you’re on a hill side in rural welsh Wales, the security would be quite different compared to site in central London. The options range from making the activities inaccessible, through to fences and electric eye and infra red alarm systems. We will tell what we think is the most appropriate approach for your situation.

What are the business models and commercial viability?

Just because you build a ropes course it will not guarantee that you can retire next year. There is a huge range of choices in the type of course, which affects how it operates and how successful it’ll be. We have seen it all, uber successful sites and sites where people have struggled. We will give you an honest opinion on whether we think this is a good prospect. We can also advise on the best activities and operating systems. This is often the most daunting aspect when first starting. We can help you choose the right activities, the right construction media, the most appropriate design and best location. We have been through this process hundreds of times and will give you  no nonsense advise. It’s not always the largest courses that are the best, but the best designed and most thoroughly thought out. We will give you a clear design, showing exactly what we will install, how it will operate and a clear and fixed price on the project. There won’t be any unforeseen invoices further down the road.

What about PPE EQUIPMENT (Helmets, harnesses etc)

There is a huge range of Personnel Protective Equipment (P.P.E.) equipment available. Hundreds of type’s designs and manufacturers of harnesses, ropes, karabiners, descenders etc. It’s a minimum requirement that the PPE equipment has to be safe and appropriate. The choice of the right equipment will make a huge impact on the speed and efficiently of operation along with the comfort and enjoyment of the participant. These are some examples of the types of questions: full body harness vs. waist and chest? Helmets, are they required? Rear connecting harnesses vs front connecting? etc. We can also advise on how to store PPE and what the appropriate inspection regime and paperwork.

Maintenance and Inspections?

Activities have to be regularly inspected and maintained. Failure to regularly check equipment could lead to accidents. As a centre's operator your are responsible to ensure that all the activities are fit for use. Inspections should be carried out in line with the legislation, and a minimum of every quarter. This may need to be increased in the summer when sites are experiencing increased use. A correctly designed inspection regime should have a manual that clearly slows every component that needs to be inspected, to what criteria they are being inspected and what standards are being applied. This should work in combination with a check sheet that clearly identifies all the components on a check list. These check lists should be signed and filed, building up a log on the equipment over life of the activity. The inspections should be conducted by a suitably qualified individual, with the relevant skills and experience to undertake an objective appraisal. The inspections should be carried out in a safe and controlled manner and this often involves designing access systems and safe methods of work. This may well fall under the work at height legislation that may require additional qualifications. We can help you with all of this.

How many staff will we need?

Each activity will require a finite number of staff; we will deign the activities to make the best use of staff. Through judicious planning it’s possible to have very few members of staff running larger venues.  This would take on a rolling program to allow for less demand at times of the year when the sites are quiet. Many sites will have an array of staff from full time permanent members, through to part time, seasonal. We can help you design the optimal staff programs.

What operational paperwork is required?

Every site should have extensive documentation. It is imperative that these are kept up to date. Most of the paperwork is ‘living documentation’, which should be regularly reviewed.
  • Standard operating policy
  • Health and safety policy
  • Insurance policy
  • Inspection log
  • Inspection manual
  • Certificates for all the PPE equipment
  • Arboricultural certificates
  • Construction certificates
  • Training certificates
  • Training manual
  • Accident book
  • Near miss book
  • Risk assessment
  • Copy of the legislation
This is a daunting undertaking, but it is imperative that is correctly compiled and that each of the individual policies is correct and appropriate. We can help with all of this and more.  

What training will we get?

Each site is unique and as such we provide a full and comprehensive training program. This complies and exceeds all the national and international bodies we adhere to (ACCT and ERCA). The duration and scale of the course is dependant on the type of activity and the level of the applicant. Most site the instructors have little or no experience and a course would typically last between 1 – 4 days. At the end of the course there is an assessment and if the participant doesn't have the necessary skills, they will be asked to go away, practice and assessed on another day. Depending on the type of course there are a number of roles from course manager, ropes instructor through to ropes course technician. Each of these has a different level of responsibility and level of training.  Generally the instructor can lead a session as they are first aid qualified and can undertake rescues. A technician has a limited brief i.e. they can manage a zip wire or a giant swing. There is an appropriate level of training for each ropes course and activity.

What is the product lifespan?

Ropes courses should easily last 20 – 25 years, they will require maintenance and inspections. The life of the ropes course is as much determined by usage as age. Every time the course is used there is an infinitesimal amount of wear, in the same way that every time you drive your car you wear the engine. In itself this wear is negligible, but over a prolonged period of time it becomes significant. A simple example is that a zip wire should be good for 20 – 30,000 rides. But this is affected by the profile of the cable, its operating system, its location and architecture of the cable, hence the importance of regular inspections. We take every possible step to fabricate our products to the highest possible standards, the materials are all robust, weather treated and the ropes have the highest UV resistance possible. Woodlands in particular are aggressive environments, sediment from the trees will land on the equipment and as they rot down on the cable they will act as an electrolyte promoting corrosion. Insects will try to eat everything, wood peckers will try and bore holes in poles. It is the nature of the environment. But these are all considered in the design and our courses: they are strong; beautifully designed; and built from the highest grade materials and are pretty much bomb proof.

Do I need planning permission?

It’s not a simple answer, different planning authorities have different rules, different sites have different levels of impact. Generally, the decision whether a ropes course requires planning is determined by the affect on the environment. This is judged on the following.
  • Noise
  • Traffic
  • Environmental
  • Visual
  • Ecological
Planning is rarely an issue, they are generally viewed as a positive to the environment and if there are any concerns a number of things can be done to mitigate the course's impact. A simple example, when installing elements in trees you will have an impact on those trees. This cannot be avoided. But the impact is small and can more than be offset through an agreed program of on going planting. This may form part of an environmental management plan for a site which could form part of a planning application. We can help with your planning; we have a wealth of experience and can develop the drawings and draft an application. Often full applications aren't necessary as installations come under the auspices of permitted development. There are plenty of other issues which can affect the planning status of a ropes course, namely: Designation of the site: Site of Special Scientific Interest, (SSI) ,  Area of Outstanding National Beauty (ANOB)
  • Do the tree have preservation orders
  • Type of ropes course, and the groups for whom they cater
  • Green belt
  • Soil contamination
  • Habitat surveys
  • Breeding bird surveys
We can guide you through all of this!