Tree roots in a stormwater drain causing localised flooding is an issue confronted by many homeowners, particularly during our summer storms.

So imagine the issues faced when the tallest commercial office building on the Gold Coast at 118m tall and with 27 floors above ground and 5 levels of basement parking gets roots in their drains.

tree roots in drainWell, this scenario is exactly what has occurred at the Gold Coast’s premier office building, GDI Property Group’s “50 Cavill Avenue” in the heart of Surfers Paradise on the corner of Cavill Avenue and Beach Road.

As you can see in the photo on the right, 50 Cavill Avenue is indeed a prestigious office building with a great street appearance. Part of that appearance is a magnificent fig tree in a grassed area on the very corner of the property at the Beach Road entrance. The tree can be seen on the bottom right of the photo.

tree roots at 50 Cavill Ave storm water drainUnfortunately, over the years since being transplanted onto the site, the tree roots of this beautiful tree had slowly but surely gained access to 50 Cavill Avenues main stormwater drainage system.

Stormwater drains are a critical part of any building and are designed to comply with AS 3500.3:2015 to ensure that the materials used, the design, installation and testing of roof drainage systems, surface drainage systems and subsoil drainage systems will always work.

Unfortunately, as we frequently witness the stormwater drains are installed not in accordance with the designs causing flooding.

This is in the main due to the fact that stormwater drains are inspected and certified by private building certifiers, rather than council plumbing inspectors which in our experience frequently means they are never inspected to ensure they are compliant.

Every summer after our storms and heavy rainfall events we see the consequences of poorly designed, poorly installed and poorly maintained stormwater drains.

As you can see from the photos above and below on the left the tree roots infiltration at 50 Cavill Avenue is extensive inside these 100mm stormwater drains. The tree roots in these photos are more than 30m away from the fig tree and are perfectly formed plus being incredibly strong requiring power saws to cut through them.

The process to rectify these drains at 50 Cavill Avenue is extremely complex as we have had to hydro excavate extensive areas of grass and soil to locate 50 Cavill Ave tree roots in drainswhere the tree roots are entering the stormwater drainage system.

tree roots cause floodingThe photo on the right shows a 6m length of tree roots lying on the concrete floor that we removed that were completely encompassing the entire interior of a 100mm pipe.

We are all aware we have had plenty of rain this summer and that stormwater drains have been tested to the limit.

But you should never be complacent where your stormwater drains are concerned if you have trees on your property. Infiltration by tree roots similar to what has happened at 50 Cavill Avenue will slowly sneak up on you.

Overflowing, slow draining or gurgling drains are your warning signs. They should never ever be ignored as they seldom go away and should be investigated immediately.

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