Protection of vegetation on and around building sites

Building industry professionals need to ensure vegetation on building sites and adjoining properties is protected when allotments fall under a vegetation protection overlay.

The VBA is aware of several instances where site works have begun without relevant vegetation protection measures being put in place, resulting in significant damage to protected vegetation on and around building sites.

Property owners, builders and building surveyors must comply with Victorian building legislation, the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and any relevant planning schemes or local laws when planning building work that might impact on vegetation.

Vegetation on building sites

Relevant building surveyors cannot impose conditions on a building permit requiring a builder or property owner to comply with a planning scheme or local law protecting vegetation on a building site.

However, under the Planning and Environment Act 1987, builders and property owners are responsible for ensuring there is no unlawful damage to, or removal of, protected vegetation on building sites subject to a planning scheme or local law.

Builders or property owners seeking to remove protected vegetation from a building site must obtain the necessary planning permit from the relevant council.

Vegetation on adjoining properties

Relevant building surveyors are responsible for determining the extent of protection work required on adjoining properties before issuing a building permit. As part of this process, building surveyors must assess the nature and extent of any significant damage that might occur to adjoining properties as a result of proposed building work.

Although the Building Regulations 2018 do not specifically refer to the protection of vegetation, building surveyors have broad scope to consider any matter they deem relevant when assessing the need for protection work on adjoining properties.

The VBA expects building surveyors to consider potential damage to buildings, driveways, gardens and vegetation, paving and other structures on adjoining properties when determining the need for protection work. They should also assess the potential for soil subsidence on adjoining land.

To assist with determining whether vegetation on adjoining properties might be at risk from proposed building work, relevant building surveyors should contact the relevant council or adjoining property owners to confirm whether a particular property is subject to a vegetation protection overlay. They can also obtain a planning property report for the adjoining land.

Builders and property owners must comply with all decisions made by a relevant building surveyor regarding the protection of vegetation on adjoining properties.

For more information, contact the VBA on 1300 815 127 or email