Recently after a couple of years of receiving emails from Bark (Bark.com), I decided to give our company a try with them and purchased some leads after I noticed that they offered structural engineer and surveyor options.
Once you register they ask you to fill up a few details about your company and provide a company description.
Through Bark one purchases leads and then when potential clients are flagged up if you select to click on one their link Bark deducts an allocated amount.
The idea is great however there are issues as far as I am concerned relating to the quality of the services and the lack of verification of the professionals
Bark list the services of structural engineers, structural surveyors and building surveyors which in order to undertake a piece of work, even for domestic purposes they need to be qualified, certified and generally carry PI and PL insurances.
Unlike another site called Local Surveyors Direct that actually searches up your company up and only approve you once verified, there was no such quality check by Bark.com. Basically through Bark anyone can claim to be a structural engineer or a building surveyor.
Also since Bark does not do such professional qualification searches it has come to my attention that non-qualified persons pretend to be structural engineers or building surveyors and through Bark there is no way for the uninformed client of verifying if the person responding through a lead is competent and qualified.
Recently a client of mine told me that she had another structural engineer price the design for a removal of a chimney breast and was not even going to visit the property just give her a fixed set of calculations. When I visited the property I noticed that chimney breast was shared with the adjacent property as it was a semi-detached building. The person that quoted turned out did not even have a degree in civil, structural or mechanical engineering but she trusted that Bark would have done this validation.
This has resulted in professional services through competition being ridiculously under-priced as any say student of civil engineering or with minimal experience can claim to be a structural surveyor, resulting in inferior and in most cases substandard quality of services which can have detrimental consequence's for the clients.
Also the HSE under CDM 2015 even for domestic clients and designs require an appropriate level of rigour that someone with inadequate training and experience will not possess. Bark without doing searches on competencies fail to safeguard their clients, which trust the site to provide them with competent and qualified professionals. By encouraging their clients to provide quotes online which is just means of them generating more revenue, goes against HSE guidelines in my view, which requires form professionals involved in construction and design to collect preconstruction information and evaluate risk form hazards, that one cannot identify remotely. By promoting clients to ask professionals to quote online without investigating a property and any particular hazards present, like the potential of asbestos, hidden critical elements, or even say form a load bearing wall roof loads or the direction of the span of floor joists.
I have written to Bark but they ignored my email regarding these concerns. Bark in my view by failing to address the above are contributing to potential failings, which could result to a collapse of structural work or failing to address subsidence issues properly. Anyone can claim to be competent and a professional without appropriate competence and certifications.
This could have been easily resolved by Bark if they took the time to study the industries related to the above and filter only companies or individuals that meet the minimum requirements like:
1. Professionals with degrees;
2. Charted engineers and surveyors;
3. Professionals with minimum industry quality requirements like a UKAS certified integrated management system;
4. Professionals with HSE and CDM 2015 proven competence, like SSIP, Construction Line; and level 2 at least, RISQS or other accepted certification bodies;
5. A minimum 2 million PI and 5 million public liability insurance.
The search for professionals via the internet is become more common however at the moment it is not regulated resulting in my above concerns.