Last month, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) launched a new living infrastructure guide.

Launched by NSW Planning Minister, Rob Stokes MP at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the green roofs and walls guidance note provides surveyors with detailed advice and recommendations on the planning, design and implementation of green roofs and walls on commercial and residential buildings.

The guide looks at green walls and roofs from the surveyor’s perspective, exploring the technical requirements of both new and retrofit projects, their potential value, legal considerations, as well as environmental and community impacts.

UTS researcher and publication co-author, associate professor Sara Wilkinson, said the guide is a practical and tangible solution to the built environment’s mitigation of climate change.

“With roofs making up around 32 per cent of horizontal surfaces in urban areas, there is great scope to utilise these areas in ways that benefit the community and environment, in particular in minimising rising urban temperatures and better capturing rainfall,” she said.

It’s also a ‘world first’ template for owners wishing to license their rooftop for commercial uses.

“Rooftops can be income-generating spaces for owners, and the note proposes an approach to valuation of these spaces,” said Wilkinson.

Green roofs and walls trigger biodiversity revival in otherwise barren urban areas – great news for bees, birds and bugs, and in turn great news for us. Humans can’t survive alone. We need their survival to ensure ours, so supporting biodiversity through green walls and roofs is crucial.

The green roofs and walls publication is also important because it adds a key industry voice to the living infrastructure story. Accrediting surveyors in land, property and construction sectors worldwide, RICS is the industry leader we’ve needed to help spur and normalise the adoption of living infrastructure in urban environments and projects around the world. Their involvement helps reposition living infrastructure in the public eye – going from a fringe addition to the built environment to an essential component to its overall viability.

But more than just providing an endorsement of green walls and roofs, the RICS guidance note will ensure surveyors around the world have the knowledge and expertise to roll out high-quality living infrastructure.

I’m really excited about the launch of the green roofs and walls document and what is sure to be an exciting new chapter in our living infrastructure story. Things are just getting started!

To download the report, click here.