A home awarded with a HomeFit stamp will have passed the requirements of the proposed healthy homes standards, which set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture, drainage, and draught-stopping
New initiative launched to improve Kiwi homes
A new tool which enables anyone to assess the quality of their home has been launched by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) – and the organisation is excited the sector is driving adoption and use of the tool aimed at improving the housing stock.
The new tool is HomeFit and for the very first time in New Zealand it enables Kiwis to check any home to see if it is warm, safe and dry.
HomeFit works 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. If a home passes, it is awarded a HomeFit stamp, proving that it is warm, dry, safe and efficient.
Any home awarded with a HomeFit stamp will also have passed the requirements of the proposed healthy homes standards, which set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture, drainage, and draught-stopping in residential rental properties, and were enabled by the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017 which was passed into law in December 2017.
Tradies as educators
Andrew Eagles, NZGBC chief executive, says the trade industry should familiarise itself with HomeFit to help educate people on the importance of living in healthy homes. “That’s why we’ve developed HomeFit – people don’t always know what to look for to determine whether their homes in fact live up to standard warm, dry, safe and efficient conditions. HomeFit is going to make Kiwis more aware of what to look for – and they will be seeking advice from the experts.”
Mr Eagles says the launch of the HomeFit assessment tool is a really special moment for those involved in the maintenance and operation of homes, as well as those who supply building materials.
“From estate agents and landlords, to house builders, tradies and property managers, the use of HomeFit as a guide will help advance the quality of New Zealand’s housing stock,” he notes. “Industry experts are starting to utilise the HomeFit tool to talk to clients, customers, home buyers and sellers about improving their homes and getting the HomeFit stamp.”
Become a HomeFit assessor
The NZGBC is also interested in hearing from those who want to apply to become NZGBC HomeFit assessors. The appraisal system is a powerful independent demonstration that a building meets health and warmth standards, giving potential tenants or buyers confidence in their decision-making.
Around half of New Zealand homes have visible mould. Half of New Zealand adults say they live in a cold house, and over 60% 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 $6 billion a year, according to the Asthma Foundation.