Impact of trees on buildings

Working with the natural geography of a site is all about honouring nature and letting the land drive the decisions. Is this possible?

For many new home builders, the lure of a leafy suburb or a property in a natural bush setting can be a hard temptation to resist. A tree doesn’t just offer a shady sanctuary on a warm summer’s day; it is a place for children to explore, a canopy for a lazy brunch, and a home to an array of local wildlife.

While a tree can form a critical part of a home’s mini-eco system, those thinking about a tree-change need to consider a range of pros and cons.

Check to see if the tree is one of the varieties that extract significant amounts of moisture from the ground. When one of these tree varieties is living in reactive clay soils it can lead to the soil shrinking and cracking, and that can cause footing movement and cracking to walls.  This is often a significant problem and expensive to fix.

Native trees typically have high suction capacity and have perfected the ability to extract every drop of moisture that they need to survive. If a native tree is near a home – especially one that may not have gardens or lawns that are regularly watered – it can cause problems by drying out the soil under the home’s footings.

It is important to remember that a property with trees will need to have moisture put back into the soil in dry weather to maintain the tree and prevent damage to a home. A tree’s moisture requirements are roughly proportionate to the leaf mass – so a tree with a small light canopy will need much less water than one that has a larger dense canopy.

Australian Classic Homes engages specialist professional engineers to undertake soil testing and the design of foundations to safeguard your investment. Solutions are specific to your home and land, both with and without trees, so neither under-engineered which can result in  structure damage, nor over-engineered resulting in greater unnecessary costs. If you are looking at land with trees and have questions regarding building your dream home, speak to Australian Classic Homes on 8332 6099… we’d love to hear from you.

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