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Building Site Tree Requirements

Your building permit cannot be issued until you have met all your tree requirements.

If you are a resident building a house or demolishing and rebuilding a house on private property, tree protection requirements must be resolved before the City can issue your building permit.

Tree protection requirements exist to make sure:

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

If you are a land developer, you have a different set of building site tree requirements for land development.

City arborists will make sure submitted proposed building plans and land surveys meet the Surrey Tree Protection Bylaw.

Your planner will keep you informed of any tree and landscape related requirements associated with your building.

Standard Requirements

Below are typical, but not all, requirements, depending on your building design:

Before Construction

Arborist Reports

A certified arborist inventories and assesses the trees, and then provides the basis for the Permit's tree protection requirements. Review the Arborist Report Specifications.

Tree Protection Barriers

Your Tree Cutting Permit, Demolition Permit, or Building Permit will not be issued until required tree barriers are installed, inspected and approved, and all fees and securities have been paid.

Tree barriers must be built to standard and remain in place during the entire construction process. See the Tree Barrier Installation & Inspection Standards.

Tree Security Bonding of $3,000 per tree is required, up to a maximum of $10,000. This money is a deposit for the potential damage of trees during construction.​

Tree Barrier Inspection Process

Book a tree protection barrier inspection through the City, or choose to hire your own arborist, who will submit a Tree Barrier Inspection Report that we will review.

Review the Arborist Supervision for Tree Barriers Terms of Reference for more information.

During Construction

Arborist Supervision

Arborist supervision is required whenever work occurs within the tree protection zone of a bylaw-protected tree. These works would be anticipated and prescribed in the Arborist Report. A Tree Care Supervision Letter must be signed by both the homeowner and the arborist.

Review the Tree Care Supervision Letter Terms of Reference for more information on this process.

Impact Assessments

Impact Assessment Reports are required when a bylaw-protected tree has been damaged or there is suspected damage to a bylaw-protected tree. If a tree appears to have been damaged, an arborist must submit an Impact Assessment Report.

Review the Arborist's Impact Assessment Reports Terms of Reference for more details.

After Construction

Replacement Trees

  • When 1 tree is removed to allow construction, 2 replacements are required.
  • When you pick up your Tree Cutting Permit, you must also put down a $400 security deposit for each replacement tree. We collect this deposit to make sure replacement trees are planted and maintained during their important first year.

  • We will return your $400 in a 2-stage inspection process, to make sure the replacement trees planted will survive and grow to maturity.

  • Once you have planted your replacement tree, book your inspection on our inspection line at 604-591-4675 or online. The first 50% of Replacement Tree Security ($200 per tree) will be returned upon successful inspection. One year after your first inspection, you will need to book your second inspection. The second 50% of your deposit will be refunded upon successful inspection.

See the City Arborist's inspection criteria in our Guide to Selecting and Planting Replacement Trees to be prepared for each visit.

Return of Tree Security Bonding of $3,000 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.

Demolition Permit Tree 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  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
  • 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.

Related Content

Planting Trees

Plant a tree in your yard, grab a tree voucher, or join the Releaf Planting team.

Tree Inspections

Book your tree replacement, tree barrier, or tree bonding inspections.