Getting to the root of the problem

Most of us like living and working near greenery, but there are major issues to take into account when designing buildings that will be close to trees.

The nature and depth of the foundations is a particular consideration. The species of tree, the distance between the building and the trees, the extent of the root systems and the type of soil all affect decisions about footings.

The aim is to ensure there’s no risk to the structure as a result of heave during wet winters or settlement during dry summers. The NHBC has a relevant set of requirements which have to be followed – any failure to meet them could result in disturbance to the foundations, which would then have insurance implications. It’s sobering to reflect that problems associated with trees account for the highest number of home insurance claims annually.

If you’re planning to build close to trees, it’s important to conduct a tree survey and to dig trial pits to assess the condition of the ground. Then you can establish with the design team whether a full site investigation is required. All this should be done at an early stage of the project so that the correct foundations’ depth is allowed for  from day one.