Major new initiative to improve New Zealand homes

19 November 2018

A significant new initiative to improve the nation’s homes will be launched today (Monday 19 November) by the New Zealand Green Building Council.

For the very first time in New Zealand, Kiwis will be able to simply check any home to see if it is warm, safe and dry, thanks to the launch of the new project, called HomeFit.

HomeFit empowers Kiwis to find out the health of a home in two ways.

Firstly, there’s a free online check which all Kiwis can use to examine their own home, or a home they’re looking to buy, sell or rent. The online check is available at homefit.org.nz and contains around 20 questions before providing a tailored report on the home, detailing how warm, safe, efficient and dry it is. And, if it isn’t, how to improve it.

Secondly, there’s an independent appraisal, carried out by a trained assessor. The assessment looks at damp, mould, insulation, heating, ventilation and other key areas and, if a home passes, it will be awarded a HomeFit stamp, showing that it is warm, dry, safe and efficient.

HomeFit is being launched by the New Zealand Green Building Council just ahead of the start of the busy season for the housing market. The Green Building Council is hoping that thousands of keen house-hunters make use of the online check during open homes, and that sellers and landlords use HomeFit to make their homes healthier, and prove it with a HomeFit stamp.

Around half of New Zealand homes have visible mould. Half of New Zealand adults say they live in a cold house, and over 60 percent of Kiwis say their homes need repairs.

Cold and damp New Zealand houses have been linked to asthma, rheumatic fever and respiratory infections. Respiratory disease affects 700,000 Kiwis, is responsible for almost 80,000 hospital admissions, one-third of which are children, and costs New Zealand $6billion a year, according to the Asthma Foundation.

Any home that passes a HomeFit assessment will also have passed the requirements of recent Government legislation to improve homes, the Residential Tenancies Act. And, once the Healthy Homes Standards are confirmed, the HomeFit stamp can be used to confirm if a home passes this mandatory level too.

Andrew Eagles, chief executive of the New Zealand Green Building Council, said: “New Zealand homes aren’t good enough. All too often, they’re cold, draughty, expensive to heat, and make us, our friends and our whānau sick.

“That’s why we’ve developed HomeFit – because we believe it’s going to make our homes better. HomeFit is going to do that by empowering all Kiwis with a no-nonsense way to check the quality of a home – that it’s warm, safe and dry.

“HomeFit gives Kiwis a way to see very quickly if a home is a warm, dry, healthy place to live – and what you can do to fix it if it isn’t. By going to homefit.org.nz, you can either arrange a HomeFit assessment, or do a simple online check, answering a few easy questions about the home with a few clicks on your screen.”

HomeFit has been developed over the last 18 months, in consultation with a wide range of housing and health experts, and is supported by ANZ, Bayleys, Bunnings Warehouse, Contact, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, Mitre 10, Pink Batts, Plumbing World, and Rinnai.

The New Zealand Green Building Council is a not-for-profit organisation, working to make sure that all New Zealanders are safe, healthy and happy at home, at work, wherever they are, because better buildings mean healthier, happier Kiwis.

Find out more at Homefit.org.nz