Trees & Landscape: Building Site Requirements
Review the tree requirements for building and demolition activities on private property.
If you are building a house or demolishing and rebuilding a house, the tree requirements must be complete before the City can issue your permits.
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 need a development permit for your project please see tree requirements for land development.
Demolition Requirements for Trees
If you have trees on your property or within 4 meters of your property line, you need to protect them. There are two ways to do this:
- Hire a Consulting Arborist
- Build Barriers
To see if there are demolition requirements for your trees, review the Demolition Process Flow Chart.
Hire a Consulting Arborist
Hire a consulting arborist to supervise the demo and submit your arborist supervision letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Build barriers to protect the existing trees and request a barrier inspection by emailing photos of your barriers to email@example.com.
Note: There may be instances when the existing trees are too close to the structure to build barriers. In those cases you must hire a consulting arborist.
Building Requirements for Trees
If you have trees on or near your property, you will have tree requirements that span the building process from start to finish.
To see if there are building requirements for your building site, review the Building Permit Application Flow Chart.
How the Process Works
Before Submitting Your Building Permit Application
It is recommended that you hire a consulting arborist to write you an arborist report. Your arborist report should include:
- cover page
- inventory table
- site plan
- tree protection barrier specifications
Your site plan needs to show the following items:
- all protected trees on the property
- all trees on neighbouring or City property that could be impacted by construction
- services for the property such as water, sanitary, storm, etc.
- distances from tree to services or driveways
A terms of reference is available for consulting arborists to follow when writing the report.
Once you have submitted your building permit application, a city arborist will be assigned to your file.
Before Building Permit is Issued
A City arborist will review your arborist report (if applicable) and your site plan and let you know what the specific requirements are for your lot.
Requirements may include:
- design modification
- tree barriers
- fees and/or securities
- line of excavation inspection
- arborist supervision letters
- a tree cutting permit
Permits will not be issued until the required tree barriers are installed, inspected and approved.
Use your site plan and arborist report to help you build your barriers to the right size.
Tree barriers must be built to standard and remain in place during the entire construction process. See the Tree Barrier Installation & Inspection Standards. Signage for the barriers is available for download.
Once built, 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.
Fees and securities
Tree protection securities of $3,000 per tree is required, up to a maximum of $15,000 per single-family lot under development. This money is a deposit against potential damage to trees during construction.
If you need a tree cutting permit to build, you will be required to pay a tree cutting permit fee of $96 plus $37 for every tree removed and replacement tree securities at $550 per replacement tree.
Tree fees and securities must be paid before the building permit is issued.
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 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.
If you had an arborist supervise work during construction, you will need to submit a follow up letter to the City for review and approval. You may email your follow-up letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Replacement trees must be inspected by the City before securities are released. You can book your first inspection as soon as you plant the tree. Learn how to book your tree inspection and what to expect.
See the City Arborist's inspection criteria in our Guide to Selecting and Planting Replacement Trees to be prepared for each visit.
Tree Protection Securities
The retained trees on your property must be inspected prior to this security deposit being released.
To book your inspection, you will need to submit your follow up letter(s) (if applicable) and have them approved. You need building final approval and your property must be in good standing with the City.
- Arborist Supervision Letter Template
- Tree Protection Barrier Bulletin
- Demolition Flow Chart
- Arborist Supervision Barriers (Terms of Reference)
- Impact Assessment (Terms of Reference)
- Arborist Supervision Letter (Terms of Reference)
- Building Permit Flow Chart
- Arborist Report for Single-Family Building Permits
- Scope of Work Questionnaire: Renovation