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Building Site Tree Requirements

You can be fined up to $10,000 if you illegally remove or cut down a tree.

Your building permit cannot be issued to you 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 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 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 but depending on your building design:

Before Construction

Arborist Reports

Tree Protection Barriers

  • Your Tree Cutting Permit, Demolition or Building Permit will not be issued until the barriers are installed, inspected and approved, and all fees and securities have been paid. Barriers must be built to standard, and remain in place during the entire construction process.

    Learn more about putting up tree barriers and how to book an inspection.

Tree Security Bonding of $3000 per tree, up to a maximum of $10,000

  • This money is a deposit for the potential damage of trees during construction.​

During Construction

Arborist Supervision

  • required when works occur inside Critical Root Zones of trees. These works would be anticipated and prescribed in the Arborist Report. A Comfort Letter must be signed by both the homeowner and the arborist.

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 the Acceptable_Replacement_Tree List to be prepared for each visit.

Return of Tree Security Bonding of $3000 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 Inspection Request

Call to request a tree and landscaping inspection.