Greengates Builders Merchants

Do You know The Rules About Cutting Down Trees?

Owners of newly built homes are being warned they could be landed with a massive bill for subsidence if they cut down existing trees and plant new ones to improve the look of their gardens.

Warranty claims in cases where builders replace mature trees while developing properties  are running at £4million a year.

Some £25million worth of damage was caused to new homes between 2008 and 2013.

But unlike developers, homeowners who plant the wrong types of tree are not covered by the warranty scheme run by the National House Building Council.

The NHBC is warning both developers and owners to get expert advice before tackling gardens, saying that fast–growing thirsty trees – such as like elm, poplar and willow – must be pruned often to reduce the amount of water taken from the soil.

Other popular types, like virginia creeper and wisteria, should be planted more than nine feet from a property.

NHBC commercial director, Richard Tamayo, said: “New greenery can create a more attractive garden as well as provide privacy and can help in reducing noise. But roots and branches can also cause expensive damage to homes.

“When an established tree is removed or a new one is added, it can affect the moisture content of the surrounding soil.

"In clay soils, this can cause swelling of the ground or shrinkage. This movement can potentially result in damage to the house foundations.

“If the tree was added or removed before the house was sold by the builder, NHBC’s Buildmark warranty may provide protection.

“However, if the tree was removed or planted by the homeowner subsequently, NHBC cannot provide cover and the house hold insurance may not cover the damage either.”


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