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Building Code changes proposed

Big moves for clause H1.

On 6 April, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) began its annual consultation on Building Code changes. As it indicated many months ago, MBIE is proposing significant changes to clause H1 Energy efficiency as part of its Building for Climate Change programme. The deadline for comments is Friday, 28 May 2021.

This year’s proposals include:

  • Developing new climate zones
  • Higher minimum insulation requirements. Should we increase our minimum insulation to a level that is approximately half of that in other parts of the world with similar climates, equal to other parts of the world with similar climates, or above them?
  • A new verification method for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in commercial buildings
  • Changes to ensure apartment and other high rise buildings have enough natural light.  
  • MBIE is also consulting on its role as the regulator in the upkeep and referencing of building and construction standards.

You can find more details here and see a YouTube video here.



RMA replacement scheduled for 2022

Three new laws replace the old Act.

The Government has announced details of the coming repeal of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and its replacement with three new laws.

The first of these, the Natural and Built Environments Act, will provide for land use and environmental regulation. This is the primary replacement for the RMA and will be the priority for Government attention. The bill will be introduced into parliament before the end of this year and is due to pass into law by the end of 2022.

Under this new law there will be a mandatory set of national policies and standards to support the natural environmental limits, outcomes and targets specified in the new law. These will be incorporated into combined regional plans prepared by local and central government and mana whenua.

The government says that the current 100-plus RMA council planning documents will be reduced to about 14.

The two other laws that will be introduced are the Strategic Planning Act, which will address long-term regional spatial strategies, and the Climate Change Adaptation Act, which will address issues around managed retreat and funding and financing adaptation.

You can find more details here.




Green Property Summit 2021

Thursday 6 May, Aotea Centre, Auckland.

Local and international presenters will cover a wide range of green building topics at this one-day event.

“The Green Property Summit will present and discuss the latest initiatives in delivering green buildings and precincts, retrofitting existing buildings, and the policies and opportunities for building green.”

The day before the conference, Wednesday 5 May, site tours will visit some significant green buildings in Auckland.

You can find more details here.




Climate change impacts on Otago

Built environment risks assessed.

The first Otago Climate Change Risk Assessment, prepared by Tonkin & Taylor for the Otago Regional Council, has identified a number of risks for the built environment.

Six risks were identified as being ‘extreme’ by 2040:

  • To buildings and open spaces, from inland and coastal flooding, coastal erosion, sea level rise and salinity stress (coastal inundation of groundwater)
  • To flood management schemes from inland and coastal flooding and sea level rise and salinity stress
  • To water supply infrastructure and irrigation systems from drought, fire weather, flooding, sea level rise and salinity stress
  • To road and rail transport from flooding, coastal erosion, extreme weather events and landslides
  • To airports and ports from flooding and extreme weather events
  • To landfills and contaminated sites from flooding and sea level rise and salinity stress.

The areas at highest risk are buildings, open spaces and water supplies.

The report goes into a considerable amount of detail about specific locations and risks, in some cases putting numbers on the properties or assets likely to be affected.

You can find more details here.