Update on Homestar v5
04 November 2020
We are at a pivotal point for the New Zealand building industry. There are some big issues that need tackling, fast - most importantly climate change, housing quality and housing availability. There is also a growing consensus among both industry and government that New Zealand’s building code needs updating to ensure it is driving the standards we need and helps the sector address those issues.
Since Homestar v4 was released in 2017 the tool has had strong uptake. The residential construction sector is on the journey to improving project design and construction. We like to think Homestar has helped facilitate sustainable building and innovation, and the sector continues to drive for further improvement. As the sector continues to adapt and move towards a better built Aotearoa, Homestar needs to evolve with it.
So, every few years we review the tool and ask some key questions:
- What’s working in the tool and what needs improving to ensure we’re helping to deliver warmer, drier, more efficient, sustainable homes for New Zealanders?
- What is standard practice among industry and what can we build on?
- What new standards, technologies and processes have been introduced that will help us build better?
- What issues have been dealt with and what issues persist in the industry?
- How can we at the NZGBC most effectively deliver the tool and ensure its processes work for the sector?
We need to make sure Homestar remains a robust, relevant, fit for purpose rating tool that will continue to serve its purpose for the years ahead. That’s why we’re delivering Homestar v5.
In June 2020 we asked industry to give feedback on your experience with Homestar. You've told us what's worked, what you would like us to do better, and improvements that should be included in the tool moving forward. Encouragingly we had more than 100 submissions, plus feedback through webinars and subsequent focus groups. This was the highest level of engagement we have ever had on a tool – showing the place Homestar now holds in residential construction and the strong interest our sector has in ensuring it helps deliver the homes our country needs. Thank you to everyone who got involved, we now have a strong springboard to launch into creating the best possible v5.
So what’s happening now?
We’re working hard to analyse and reflect on the feedback that came through. We have developed a set of proposals detailing what the new version will look like which was presented to the newly established Expert Reference Panel – a working group of technical experts and Homestar professionals.
This panel will help guide the technical development of the tool, including:
- What technical aspects Homestar need to address and reward through credits
- What should be mandatory, and what should be optional
- What is assessed and how this can be improved
- How we can continue to improve the robustness of the tool and our process
So far the panel has reviewed our proposals for the overall structure of Homestar v5 and we’re now consulting with experts on specific credits. For example, to consider issues around water we’ve convened a panel of experts from engineering and utility firms, local government bodies, as well as community and sustainability advocates.
In addition, the broader strategic direction of Homestar is being guided by a newly established Homestar Advisory Committee which represents a cross section of stakeholders. They provide industry oversight and accountability, and ensure we have a tool that meets the needs of the sector.
So we’ve got a tonne of independent experts, sector experience, and bright minds helping us make the best possible tool and Homestar experience yet. We’re anticipating sharing the release with you next year.
The next step is to reach a consensus with the panel on Homestar’s final structure and the first detailed drafts of credits.
The draft credits will be provided to experts and industry for review.
That feedback will be used to further develop the credits and create a technical manual for circulation and comment from Homestar professionals.
We will also be developing and testing the Homestar v5 scorecards and calculators.
We aim to launch the full Homestar v5 tool in April.