Thousands of New Zealand homes put through new healthy home check

10 December 2018

Thousands of Kiwi homes have been put through a new healthy home check – launched just three weeks ago – to gauge how warm, safe and dry they are.

New Zealanders have put over 5,000 homes through the free HomeFit online check, which was launched in mid-November by the not-for-profit Green Building Council as a bid to improve Kiwi homes.

In October, the last full month for which information is available, just under 7,000 homes were sold in New Zealand.

HomeFit was launched ahead of the start of the busy season for the housing market, and 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.

Of the 5,000 homes run through the HomeFit online check, around 150 met the warm, safe and dry standards. Around 300 more homes were close to passing and needed just one improvement. The most common improvement needed was more ceiling insulation.

Besides the free online check, which thousands of Kiwis are already using, those that want to prove to others that a home is warm, safe and dry can put their home through a full, independent appraisal, carried out by a trained assessor. Those that pass can then display the HomeFit stamp, showing to, say, prospective buyers, that it is warm, dry, safe and efficient.

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.

Andrew Eagles, chief executive of the New Zealand Green Building Council, said: “We’ve been staggered at the success of HomeFit. We all know that New Zealand homes aren’t good enough – that they’re cold, draughty, expensive to heat, and make us, our friends and our whānau sick. But we weren’t expecting thousands of Kiwis to use the online check in just a few weeks.

“That’s great news for everyone who wants our homes to be better, because now thousands of New Zealanders are clued up about how fit some of our homes are, and how to fix them.

“I’m sure a load of those who are now clued up on what to look for in a warm, dry home are looking at a place to buy or rent right now, so canny sellers and landlords are probably fixing up their homes and looking at getting a HomeFit stamp right now.”

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.

HomeFit 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.