An Arboriculture Impact Assessment is a report generated by a qualified consulting arborist. The report measures the impact that development designs and construction will have on the trees which are to be retained on your property.
There are many moving parts to both commercial and private property developments. As such, it’s important to have a plan in place to ensure any development doesn’t have an adverse effect on nearby trees. An arboricultural impact assessment is a report that determines how much a particular development will encroach into the protection zones of nearby trees. This is done using methods stipulated in The Australian Standard Protection of Trees on Development Sites (AS 4970).
When will I need an arboricultural impact assessment?
Usually, an arboricultural impact assessment will follow a preliminary arboricultural assessment. Undertaking a preliminary assessment significantly speeds up the arboricultural impact assessment process which will also speed up the development application process.
Most councils or authorities will require an arboricultural impact assessment when there is proposed development nearby a tree, either private or public. It is usually considered normal practice to include any tree within 15 metres of the development with a Diameter at Breast Height (DBH – measured 1.4m above ground level) of 25 cm or greater.
Some councils provide strict guidelines on what is expected for each arboricultural report and can reject reports that do not meet their requirements.
We require a few things in order provide an arboricultural impact assessment. Firstly, any Request for Further Information from the appropriate authority (if applicable) so that we can directly answer their requirements. Secondly we will require the builder’s or architect’s plans or drawings that often come in a CAD file (computer aided design). Basically, we need the accurate and up to date design and location of any proposed construction or building footprint.
We will then undertake a site assessment to locate and measure all of the relevant trees. We use this information, in conjunction with ArborCAD software (specifically designed for arborists), to determine the percentage of encroachment that the proposed construction has into the trees’ protection zones.
The result is a professional arboricultural report that includes a Tree Protection Plan. This can be submitted to council to as part of the development application.
Who can prepare an impact assessment?
An arborist should have a minimum Diploma in Arboriculture (Australian Qualification Framework Level 5) to prepare an arboricultural impact assessment along with demonstrated tree assessment and report writing experience.
Arborists with an AQF Level 5 in arboriculture should be familiar with the current Australian Standards for Protecting Trees on Development Sites (AS 4970-2009) and legislative acts that are in place to protect trees.
Our consultants have all these qualifications or higher, and are extremely familiar with AS 4970.
Get in touch with one of our consulting arborists to organise an assessment for the trees on your development site today.
Blog written by Mark Fahy
Mark has a diploma in arboriculture (AQF level 5) and is a registered Quantitative Tree Risk (QTRA) assessor. He has been an arborist for over 10 years and is passionate about trees. He is committed to providing evidence-based solutions and thorough reports to clients. Mark is specifically enthusiastic about living with trees in the ever-changing urban environment.