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Changes to Healthy Homes Standards

By Kate Major

In December 2021, the government announced it would be making updates to the healthy homes standards (HHS) based on feedback received from the rental sector. The changes should come into effect by May 2022 and relate mostly to new homes built to relevant 2008 building code requirements.

What are the changes to the Healthy Homes Standards?

Updates will apply to the heating, ventilation, and moisture ingress and drainage standards set out in the Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019.

The changes come following feedback from members of the rental sector and account for the higher thermal performance of New Zealand’s new homes that have been (and will be) built to the 2008 building code requirements for insulation, glazing, and apartments.

Changes to the heating standard:

  • Updating the heating formula assumption.
  • Provision of a different pathway for all homes to show compliance with heating standard based on policy intention — this targets homes with energy-efficient and innovative heating technologies.
  • A grace period for buildings subject to new heating formula, with the 90-day compliance period only starting six months after the HHS changes come into effect.
  • Transitional ‘top up’ heating allowance is increased from 1.5kW to 2.4kW.
  • Tolerance for large living room heaters installed prior to 1 July 2019 will now be lowered, so compliance is met when these are within 80 percent of the required heating capacity.
  • Geothermal heating systems with no heating capacity stated will satisfy requirements when providing heat directly to the living room.

Changes to the ventilation standard:

  • Continuous mechanical ventilation systems extracting from kitchens and bathrooms are now allowed in homes given building consent on or after 1 November 2019.

Clarification of the moisture ingress and drainage standard:

  • Installation of alternative moisture barriers is not required where it’s not reasonably practical to fit a polythene barrier.

Not sure if you comply with Healthy Homes Standards?

If you’re not sure about your HHS compliance, read about these changes in full, or get in touch with our Christchurch property management team.

Image:

‘Healthy homes protest’ by Harry via CC BY 2.0.

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