News Items

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Damp, mould in wealthier homes

Not just a problem for the poor.

A publication from the consultants BERL, Energy wellbeing indicators in Aotearoa New Zealand, looks at recent research covering the levels of dampness and mould in homes.

BERL found surprising results – mould and dampness are not just a problem for low-income households.
 
“These results challenge the assumption that energy hardship is purely an income issue. While those who earned lower incomes experienced the highest rates of dampness and mould, middle income households came in a tight second. The proportion of high-income households experiencing mould or dampness is also remarkably large. Mould and dampness is a widespread problem in housing in New Zealand.”

You can find the BERL report here.

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National Adaptation Plan launched

Building Code changes flagged.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s First National Adaptation Plan, launched by the Ministry for the Environment, sets out actions for dealing with climate change. Actions involving the building industry and the built environment include:

  • Updating Building Code requirements to ensure buildings are designed and constructed to withstand more extreme climate hazards.
  • Identifying and adding climate hazards not currently in the Building Code.
  • Making it a legal requirement that Land Information Memoranda contain information on the natural hazard risks facing a property.

“How and where we build needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis. We can be proactive and choose to direct development away from areas that are susceptible to extreme hazards such as sea-level rise, flooding, coastal inundation and wildfire. However, avoidance is not always possible and the benefits of development now may outweigh the benefits of avoiding future climate risk.”

The Plan, the first in a series that will be prepared every 6 years, can be found on the Ministry for the Environment’s website here.

 

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Free BRANZ carbon tool webinars

Practical demonstrations online.

BRANZ has available online a series of free webinars that give an introduction into carbon tools, with practical demonstrations. The webinars cover:

  • LCAQuick – carry out a life cycle assessment of a planned building and understand potential environmental impacts including greenhouse gas emissions across its life cycle
  • HECC – Homestar Embodied Carbon Calculator
  • CO2RE – compares the impact and construction R-values of a range of common residential roof, wall and floor constructions
  • LCA Play – quickly provide comparative environmental impacts for different commercial building concept options
  • LCA Overview – a basic introduction to life cycle assessment. Recommended viewing before viewing the other carbon tools webinars.

Access to each webstream expires after 1 month.

You can find the webinars here.

 

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Changes to insulation upgrade dates

MBIE provides breathing space.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has announced changes in the implementation dates for house insulation under the 5th edition of H1/AS1 and H1/VM1. An amendment to the new 5th edition documents will be published in August 2022. Where building consent applications for housing are submitted before 1 May 2023, roof, wall and floor construction R-values can be equivalent to the previous (4th edition) requirements. The date for transition to the 5th edition documents will remain as 3 November 2022. From this date, the previous 4th edition H1 documents can no longer be used for building consent applications.

All window and door construction in new housing now has a 2-step increase. The first step is a minimum construction R-value of R0.37 for the whole country from 3 November 2022. After that, the date of the second step varies by climate zone:

  • From 1 May 2023, the minimum R-value in climate zones 3 and 4 rises to R0.46
  • From 1 May 2023, the minimum R-value in climate zones 5 and 6 rises to R0.50
  • From 2 November 2023, the minimum R-value for climate zones 1 and 2 rises to R0.46

Amended 5th Editions of Acceptable Solution H1/AS1 and Verification Method H1/VM1 will be published in August 2022.

You can download the full details of the decision from the Building Performance website.

This news item was amended on 21 July to clarify the fact that the date for transition to the 5th edition documents will remain as 3 November 2022.

 

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Design aid for 3-storey, 3-unit blocks

Guide for new standards.

The Government has published a national design guide to encourage inclusive and integrated housing under the new Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS).

The focus of the non-statutory guide is on three-unit developments up to three storeys in height that are permitted under the MDRS.

You can download the guide from the Ministry for the Environment website.