Trees need to be protected during construction works. If you have a protected tree on your property and it gets damaged during construction, you could be fined or prosecuted.
If you're concerned a tree is being damaged during construction, find out how to report it on our illegal tree damage or removal page.
To protect a tree on your property during construction follow the instructions below.
Check if you need a permit
Make sure you and any contractors such as builders, landscapers, plumbers and electricians have the right permit to do works near a protected tree.
Hire a qualified arborist
Hire a qualified arborist (tree specialist). They'll give you advice about how to protect the tree, such as:
- suitable construction and design near the tree
- what protections are needed, such as fencing and mulch
- works that need an arborist's supervision during demolition and construction
- ways to improve tree health, including instructions for watering, mulching and fertilising.
Arborists will prepare a report for Planning Permit and Tree Protection Local Law Permit applications. The report needs to be in line with our guidelines for arboriculture or tree reports.
Download guidelines for arborist reports
Set up a Tree Protection Zone
Before you start construction works, a Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) should be set up around trees.
The TPZ is an area around a tree that needs to be protected to make sure it remains healthy. It includes an area above and below ground.
This protection needs to be in place throughout construction. It's usually:
- ground protection.
To find out the TPZ of a significant tree check the tree's details on our significant trees map. For other trees use the TPZ calculator on the Council Arboriculture Victoria website.
Works within a Tree Protection Zone
You need a Tree Protection Local Law Permit to do works within the TPZ of a significant tree. Find out how to apply for a permit on our tree works permits page.
The following activities can damage trees and may require Council approval or an arborist's supervision as part of your permit:
- machine excavation, including trenching and removing topsoil
- parking vehicles and machinery
- compacting soil or making level changes
- installing temporary or permanent utilities and signs.
These activities are not permitted within the TPZ:
- preparing chemicals, including cement products
- storing or dumping materials or waste, such as soil or chemicals
- washing down and refuelling equipment and machinery
- lighting fires.
Read our tips for using an arborist.