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Renovating or developing in Sydney? Engage an arborist at the planning stage

Updated: May 15

The true value of a tree can be difficult to quantify. However, when we break down all of their different roles and functions, just how priceless they are becomes glaringly apparent. They are oxygen producers, beautifiers, air purifiers, wind blockers and energy savers, whether that’s via shade in the hot months or timber in the winter. Importantly though, a mature tree is not easily replaced. Most take decades to reach states of maturity and the roles they play only amplify in their latter stages. For these reasons, the city of Sydney has strict laws directing the management of trees and qualified arborist Sydney are best placed to cater to the complex legal and physical management of Sydney’s precious trees. 


With the management of trees in Sydney directed by the Australian Standard 4970 Protection of Trees on Development Sites 2009, there is a recommended process to adhere to in order to ensure that trees are managed effectively. It’s important to note that the standard is not necessarily biased towards development or conservation but exists in order to ensure that there is consistency and transparency in the way trees are managed in Sydney. Penalties for mismanagement of trees in Sydney are significant. Therefore, it’s imperative that you engage an arborist Sydney before diving into your development plans. Below are some helpful tips on how to navigate this process.


Get a consultant arborist on board right from the start

The City of Sydney will only accept tree reports from an arborist with an Australian Qualifications Framework Level 5. So, establishing your consultant arborist’s credentials should be the first priority. Once this is verified, the arborist consultant can advise on how best to manage your trees and then compile a report that will be assessed by a qualified City of Sydney officer. Advice, whether written or verbal, from arborist Sydney, will require a fee. The cost of these fees are not standard and the cost of a tree report can vary significantly, depending upon the scope of the project and the number of trees that require assessment. The preliminary arboricultural report that will be written up by the consultant will help to establish what kind of opportunities and constraints your site has in regards to its trees. This allows you to be aware of what trees will need to be retained and what trees it may be possible to remove. Details, like the structural root zone will also be outlined in the report. These are incredibly helpful to have in your planning stage as you can move forward with a clear view of what is possible on your site. Ignoring this stage can create a lot of headaches in the future. 


Arboricultural Impact Assessment

The next stage is the Arboricultural Impact Assessment. This is submitted alongside a development application and allows the City of Sydney to assess the tree management plan and provide specific recommendations on how the tree management plan can best be implemented and achieved. Whilst this might sound tedious, your arborist Sydney can assist you in this process and having these details established smooths the development process. 




Tree Protection Plan and Specification

Once the tree protection plan is established you will receive a graphical plan with tree-specific information on protection and management. The complexity of this will depend on the scope of your project. 

Throughout your development projects, regular monitoring is often needed to ensure that the tree protection plan is being followed and that tree protection certification can be issued. 


With so much at stake, the last thing you want is for a development or major renovation to be derailed by a mismanagement of your site’s trees. Engage a sufficiently qualified arborist right from the planning stage on your project and reap the benefits. 


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