Top tips: Building near trees

Trees can represent a significant and often unanticipated development constraint on greenfield sites. The presence of trees can lead to deepened strip footings or alternative foundation solutions such as piling with significant abnormal development costs and extended programmes. But trees can also bring benefits to development by enhancing the ecological, social and environmental value to the development. Check out our top tips below on how to manage and mitigate these risks to meet and enhance your project deliverables.

Unsure on the tree species? Download our Tree Identification Guide here.

✔ Top tips

  • Define your site conditions (geology, groundwater levels and trees/shrubs) prior to your layout
  • Consult with the Local Authority Tree Protection Officer early on to see if any trees have protection orders that could restrict development
  • Consider the zone of influence of trees within your layout, both existing and proposed
  • Where possible, design around and incorporate trees
  • Consider the impact of proposed trees on foundations. Liaison between your arboriculturist and ground specialist is recommended at design stage. 
  • Do not overlook the influence of recently removed or to be removed trees/hedgerows etc 
  • Seek specialist advice on the likely influence of trees on the built development

× Things to avoid

  • Do not construct sensitive structures in close proximity to trees
  • Do not introduce high water demand trees
  • Unnecessary removal of trees (trees can enhance your development), especially those that may have Tree Protection Orders
  • Don’t ignore the impact of trees - there are 27,000 insurance subsidence claims a year, many caused by trees
  • Don’t ignore the ecological, social and environmental value that tress can bring to a development


Glynn Jones.png

Glynn Jones

Principal – Environment Compliance and Ground Engineering T: +44 1454 853 000 Email
Cardiff - Callaghan Square | UK
Paul Jeffery

Paul Jeffery

Technical Director T: +44 1235 821 888 Email
Abingdon | UK

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