With the first Australian Standard covering tree protection on construction sites now available, building developers and arborists now have an agreed framework for the preservation and protection of trees during all stages of a development project.
AS 4970-2009 Protection of trees on development sites offers tree management guidelines for the proper care and protection of trees retained and integrated into construction projects. This information is for use by arborists, architects, builders, engineers, land managers, landscape architects, contractors, planners and building surveyors.
The AS 4970-2009 includes guidance on which trees should be retained and the means of protecting those trees during construction work. Guidelines on how to calculate the tree and crown area requiring protection and isolation from construction activities and the use of tree protection measures such as barriers and protectors are also covered.
The requirement that procedures must be in place to protect trees at every stage of the development process is key to the Australian Standard and inclueds the earliest planning of an outdoor event or the initial design of a new development, where trees are present.
John Tucker, CEO of Standards Australia said the new Standard represents an important step forward in promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly building practices.
"Trees provide valuable environmental and social benefits to our urban environments. Inadequate development design, planning and supervision can have drastic impacts on the long-term survival and protection of trees well after construction is completed," he said.
"This new Australian Standard recognises the importance trees play in our daily lives and provides the building and tree care industries with a uniform, agreed approach to protecting and retaining trees as part of the building development process," said Mr Tucker.
"Until now, developers, planning ministers, local councils and arborists have had no consistent methodology for protecting trees retained on construction sites. This Australian Standard provides guidelines for tree management that have been agreed by government, arboriculturists and the building industry," he said.
The voluntary Australian Standard is attracting interest from local councils in Victoria and New South Wales who are looking to introduce mandatory guidelines to protect trees on development sites as there are no regulations currently governing tree management during development.
Danny Draper, Chair of the Standards Australia Arboriculture Committee responsible for developing the Standard said the certainty provided by the Australian Standard will assist in dispute matters between consulting arboriculturists, local councils and Local and Environment Courts and be beneficial for the costing and application of tree protection measures by the building industry.
City of Sydney Council has already applied guidelines stipulated by the Australian Standard to a development project to upgrade the Victoria Park playground in Camperdown, NSW.
Requirements in the Australian Standard include:
- Detailed topographical site survey to be conducted
- Preliminary tree assessment and arboricultural report to be undertaken
- The restriction of activities in tree protection zones including the dumping of waste, machine excavation, storage and preparation of chemicals, and physical damage to trees
- The erection of protective fencing around the tree protection zone prior to machinery or materials brought to the site
- The use of approved signs to identify the tree protection zone
- Mulching, watering and weed removal recommendations to maintain the tree protection zone
- Regular monitoring of tree protection in adherence with the approved tree protection plan throughout the development process