Saturday, April 13, 2024

Industry warms to MBIE insulation deadline

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has announced an extension of the compliance deadline for new home insulation requirements by six months to 1 May 2023.

The extension follows a period of consultation which the Ministry says received the highest level of submissions of any Building Code consultation to date.

Manager Building Performance and Engineering at MBIE, Dr Dave Gittings says the extension was granted in recognition of existing pressure on the residential building sector.

“Response to our consultation shows there is a high level of support for the insulation changes and the need for New Zealand to provide higher performing houses while responding to the urgency of climate change, however parts of the sector have told us they need some more time to prepare for the increase in insulation,” he said.

“Half of all respondents expressed a strong preference to keep to the existing transition period in November 2022, however there were some significant concerns raised by key parts of the system about keeping to this date.”

The Ministry reported that architects, designers, suppliers and building owners generally submitted in favour of keeping the transition period as it was, while builders and building consent authorities expressed a strong preference for an extension.

All parts of the sector indicated there are existing stresses caused by COVID-19 and the current economic climate. Feedback from builders indicated this would be further amplified by meeting the new insulation requirements from November 2022, it said.

Window suppliers and manufacturers advised they were confident in their ability to meet demand for the existing transition period and many have begun making changes to their operations to meet the demands for these dates. Given the short shelf-life of specific window elements, many of these products could perish if not installed, resulting in sizeable financial impacts, the Ministry said.

“Extending the transition period for changing to using these window types would penalise companies that had prepared for the transition period in favour of those that had not. This is why we haven’t applied the same blanket extension for windows and doors and will be progressing with a slight amendment to the previously communicated staged approach,” Dr Gittings says.

The extension will only apply to housing. The transition period for commercial buildings, communal residential and communal non-residential will still end on 2 November 2022.

In the meantime, anyone able to build houses to the newer wall, floor, and roof insulation standards is strongly encouraged to do so, as they will be warmer, drier, healthier, and cheaper to heat, the Ministry said.

“The insulation requirements deliver extensive benefits for New Zealand’s homes and buildings,” Dr Gittings says.

“For example, cheaper heating costs will make a particular difference in colder areas of New Zealand, where it is estimated heating costs will reduce by up to 40% for a 4 bedroom stand-alone home built to the new requirements

“This decision will allow the building and construction sector time to be able to deliver on the biggest energy efficiency changes to the Building Code in over a decade, which aim to support the sector to help New Zealand reach its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, while supporting those parts of the sector that are committed and ready to take action now,” he said.

More information on the requirements, and the revised implementation dates –  building.govt.nz

Latest Articles