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The first Australian Standard for the protection of trees on development sites - AS 4970-2009:

by Andrew Scales | April 12, 2010

'Protection of trees on development sites' - AS 4970-2009

2009 saw the release of the first Australian Standard covering tree protection on construction sites. The standard ensures sufficient consideration and a uniform approach to protecting and retaining trees as part of the building development process. Developers and arborists now have a tool to aid with the preservation and protection of trees throughout all stages of development.  

AS 4970-2009 Protection of trees on development sites offers best practices for the planning and protection of existing trees while setting out guidelines for tree management.  This assesses which trees should be removed or retained and how to calculate the tree and crown area requiring protection and isolation from the construction activities. Tree protection measures such as barriers and protectors and requirements for regular monitoring are also stipulated in the Standard.

The fact that these requirements and procedures must be in place to protect trees at every stage of the development process is key to the Australian Standard and includes the earliest planning of an outdoor event or the initial design of a new development, where trees are present.  

This information can assist arborists, architects, builders, engineers, land managers, landscape architects, contractors, planners and building surveyors. 

 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.  

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  

Naturally Trees can assist your project to comply with the conditions and process imposed by Local Authorities.  Proactive awareness and management of this new standard will save you time, disappointment and expense.  Please call us to assist you with tree management on your project.