- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 21 Nov 2016
The dripline is the guide measurement used to prevent unnecessary damage to trees during construction works. It is defined as the outermost circumference of the tree’s canopy, from which water drips onto the ground. The ‘dripline area’ is taken to include the soil and roots that lie within that circumference.
It is crucial for the stability and health of a tree that the dripline area is ‘off limits’ from any construction activity. It may be necessary to erect a fence around the dripline or, if possible, further out around groups of trees so as to prevent their roots from being damaged by construction plant, or by works such as excavation, soil compaction or consolidation. Fences should remain in place until all construction work is complete, including the final grading and smoothing of the site.
If work inside the dripline is unavoidable, only hand tools should be used. Where possible, tunnels should be excavated beneath the root system as opposed to trenching. Other measures that can be adopted to avoid undue damage include:
- Using porous paving materials such as brick or flagstone rather than concrete or asphalt.
- Not raising the grade of the soil inside the dripline by more than a few inches.
- Not lowering the grade of the soil inside the dripline by more than 2 inches.
- Not piling soil or construction materials inside the dripline, even for a short period of time.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Which room is the most fun to design? Find out the 'Grand Designs' presenter's unusual choice in our interview.
Full suite of speakers are announced for this year's BSRIA Briefing event.
Book your place for the Architectural Technology Awards 2018.
There are many ways of classifying types of building. Have a look at our range of building articles.
BSRIA have launched the 'major update' of the go-to design framework guide for building services.
How to get results with building life cycle assessment.
Government publishes a prospectus inviting proposals for new 'garden communities'.
The Morandi motorway bridge in Genoa collapses during rainstorm while undergoing maintenance works.
'Developed design' is a phrase coined by the RIBA for their 2013 Plan of Work. But what does it actually mean?
New green paper published aiming to rebalance the relationship between landlords and residents and tackle stigma.
RIBA calls for a comprehensive ban on combustible materials.