British Standard BS5837 Trees In Relation To Construction: Root Protection Areas

British standard BS5837 trees in relation to construction is a guideline that has become the British standard for dealing with trees on construction and property development sites. A large part of these standards deal with the issue of 'root protection'. What exactly is 'root protection' and how does it guarantee the safety of trees on a site?

The root protection area (or RPA) is a calculation performed by a tree consultant as part of a tree survey. Usually this formula is worked out via the diameter of stems at breast height. By using the dimensions of a stem, it is possible to work out the length of any tree roots. The consultant, also known as an arborist, can then specify a zone where any construction work should be avoided to ensure that the roots of a tree are not damaged in either the short-term or long-term. As roots are largely not visible above the ground, it can be easy for workers to forget that roots are there. This damage can be done rather easily on construction sites via, for example, foundation excavations that would severe the roots. Additionally, trees that are covered in a BS5837 tree survey are considered not to have fully matured. For this reason, the growth of a tree and its roots are projected to increase as part of the survey work. Local planning authorities expect construction companies and property developers to perform such surveys to ensure the safety of trees, buildings and people on any site.

To do that, your organisation is going to need an arborist to perform a British standard BS5837 trees in relation to construction survey. You needn't look far. Braemar Arboriculture Limited has been providing surveys and advice that adhere to British standards for over 13 years. For more, please visit, or email