Sourcing skills, expertise and information

Most projects require the involvement of a number of different trades and skills, and the more complex the project, the more elements there are to coordinate. It is crucial that a specialist, experienced, green roof, wall or facade designer is engaged during the design and consultation phase, rather than at the end of this process.

Although there are no Australian standards for the specific purpose of green roof, wall or facade installation, some Australian building code standards are relevant. International standards that are often referred to in Australia are the German FLL guideline, ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) and Singapore’s Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE). See Standards in the References and source material section of this guide for more information.

The website of Green Roofs Australasia features a business directory covering aspects of green roof, wall and facade design and construction. The Landscaping Victoria website provides a list of commercial and residential landscape contractors, landscape designers, and landscape service and product suppliers. There are a number of useful books on various aspects of green roofs, walls and facades, some of which are listed in the References and source material section of this guide.

You may need to consult with various professionals, some of them possibly on an ongoing basis, throughout both the design and construction phases of your project. For small-scale projects, a green roof, wall or facade provider will often supply several services, from engineering to irrigation to project management and design. In other cases, it will be imperative that the provider is collaborating with the rest of the design and project management teams. The following list describes specific areas of expertise involved:

Project manager:

  • Develops a project timeline
  • Manages construction budget and payments
  • Ensures contractors have appropriate registration, licensing, insurance and working at heights training
  • Manages site inductions for all personnel.

Construction manager/Principal contractor:

  • Plans and oversees construction activities
  • Engages contractors, or sub-contractors

Architect or landscape architect:

  • Designs the project, working with the client to select the most appropriate system for the site, including consideration of how it will be managed and maintained in the long term
  • Coordinates planning and building permits, either directly or through a building surveyor
  • Reviews progress and inspects construction
  • Provides advice on the installation in the context of the whole site/landscape
  • Note: architects and landscape architects with experience and specialised knowledge of green roofs, walls and facades will be best able to provide conceptual designs and specialised design of support structures and plantings.

Structural engineer:

  • Examines the existing building, or the proposed design for a new building
  • Determines the structural elements required to achieve the desired weight loading.

Builder:

  • Constructs the building, or installs any structural reinforcement needed in a retrofit green roof project
  • Installs any built-in elements associated with the roof, wall or facade, often in conjunction with the green roof, wall or facade provider.

Building surveyor:

  • Reviews and approves building plans
  • Reviews construction for compliance with the regulations
  • Arranges for Building Permits and Occupancy Permits with local councils.

 Waterproofing supplier and contractor:

  • Reports on the condition of the existing roof (retrofit), and recommends the most suitable waterproofing for the project
  • Prepares the roof and installs waterproofing.

Leak detection specialist:

  • Carries out leak testing at specified stages of construction, and as part of regular scheduled maintenance.

Horticulturalist:

  • Provides advice on growing substrate
  • Recommends and sources suitable plants
  • Seeks specialist advice (for example, arboricultural advice for tree selection)
  • Coordinates delivery and installation of plant materials.

Green roof provider:

  • Provides design advice to architect/landscape architect (or may undertake all design work in a small project)
  • Provides advice on all elements required for the green roof build
  • Supplies and installs all green roof elements, usually including growing substrate and plant materials
  • May provide advice on maintenance and long-term management requirements.

Green wall provider:

  • Designs and installs the green wall
  • Provides advice on the most appropriate treatment for the site, including plant selection, irrigation and ongoing management.

Green facade provider:

  • Designs and installs the green facade
  • Provides advice on the most appropriate treatment for the site, including plant selection, irrigation, cabling, trellising and container-growing systems, and ongoing management.

 Irrigation consultant/hydraulic engineer:

  • Advises on a suitable irrigation system during the design process based on the proposed substrate depth/volume and water-holding properties
  • Advises on use of recycled/harvested water, pumps, and storage tank volumes and configurations
  • Advises on approaches to sustainable and efficient water management in the context of the whole site (water sensitive urban design)
  • Advises on integration of the irrigation system with the rest of the building’s water system.

 Landscape manager/maintenance manager:

  • Oversees maintenance contractors
  • Negotiates and manages contractual arrangements
  • Allocates budget and resources to maintenance activities.