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Trees and Construction

Tree surrounded by a tree protection barrier.

Building on a site with trees

Follow the tree-related policy and procedures during construction on private property to make sure:

  • Trees are not damaged during construction and demolition activities
  • Trees are not removed unnecessarily
  • Trees that are removed are replaced

Protected trees on a construction siteAcknowledge the Considerations For Building On A Site With Trees
You must also meet the Tree Survey Requirements.The submitted land survey must include the following:

  • Trees on property
  • Adjacent trees on neighbouring property
  • Trees on adjacent City property
  • Plan drawings that include tree locations and tree protection zones of associated trees.

Building Permit tree-related requirements

If you are building a house or demolishing and rebuilding a house, tree protection requirements must be resolved before the City can issue your building permit. The City's arborists will make sure submitted proposed building plans and land surveys meet the Surrey Tree Protection Bylaw, No 16100.

Standard requirements for Building Permit

  • Arborist Reports. The Reports inventory and assess the trees, and provide basis for the Permit's tree protection requirements.
  • Replacement Tree. When 1 tree is removed to allow construction, 2 replacements are required. The Replacement Tree Requirements include a $400 deposit per tree, returned once the replacement tree is planted.
  • Tree Security Bonding of $3000 per tree, up to a maximum of $10,000. This money is returned following inspection upon receipt of building final, as long as trees have not been damaged during construction.
  • Tree Protection Barriers inspection. Barriers must be built to standard, and remain in place during the entire construction process. Contact 604-591-4675 for Tree Protection Barrier inspection.
  • Arborist Supervision during construction is required in instances when works occur inside Critical Root Zones of trees. These works would be anticipated and prescribed in the Arborist Report. A Comfort Letter must be signed by both the homeowner and the arborist.

Demolition Permit Tree-related Requirements

The Trees and Landscape Section will review your private property demolition permit to determine the tree protection requirements.

All trees as defined by Surrey Tree Protection Bylaw, No 16100 (see pages 4-5) must be protected during demolition. This policy is adhered to unless the demolition is not possible with trees in place.

You have 2 options to satisfy tree protection requirements for the Demolition Permit: to construct a tree protection barrier, or to have arborist supervision of the demolition.

Demolition Option 1:  Construction of Tree Protection Barrier

Book a Tree Protection Barrier inspection at 604-591-4675.

Tree Protection Barrier installed correctly.Your structure must meet the complete specifications outlined in the Tree Barrier Installation and Inspection Bulletin, including:

  • Be 2 x 4 construction with top, bottom rail,
  • Display an X pattern,
  • Be wrapped in orange mesh, and
  • Pass a City arborist's inspection.

The distance from tree depends on the diameter at breast height (DBH) of the tree.

Demolition Option 2: Arborist Supervision of Demolition

You must have arborist supervision when demolition activities occur within a tree's Critical Root Zone. For example, you need arborist supervision when trees are close to structures and surfaces that are to be demolished.

For this demolition option, you must submit Comfort Letters, signed by the homeowner and the arborist.