Govt calls for feedback on insulation requirements

Insulation installers with underfloor insulation. Photo: John Borren/SunLive.

Feedback is being sought from New Zealanders on whether the Building Code should be updated to require more insulation in new homes and buildings.

The proposals also suggest adopting new climate zones to better reflect the New Zealand environment.

The request for feedback is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment annual consultation on the Building Code.

“In previous consultation processes, we received strong feedback that changes should be made to the Building Code to ensure New Zealand’s homes and buildings are warmer, drier, healthier and more energy efficient,” says building performance and engineering manager Dave Robson.

“We’ve listened, and we want to make changes to the Building Code that work for New Zealanders,” says Dave.

“We are considering options for New Zealanders to bring our insulation requirements in line with other parts of the world.

“Before we make any changes, we want to hear what people think of the proposals – if New Zealanders think insulation requirements should change, and if so, how fast the changes should be made, how far the changes should go, and how we might progressively phase in any changes.

“We’re also looking into additional climate zones in the Building Code to better reflect the New Zealand environment, so insulation requirements would vary based on where a building is located.”

He says as an example, Queenstown will no longer be in the same climate zone as Nelson, as clearly the weather these areas experience is very different.

“We’re also proposing changes that support the increasing demand for higher density housing. This includes new requirements that will ensure people living in apartments and high-rise buildings have enough natural light,” says Dave.

Other proposed changes include a new verification method to ensure heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in commercial buildings are designed and installed to reduce the load on the national grid, and minor changes to weather tightness testing methods for cladding on mid-rise buildings, and geotechnical requirements.

“In addition to the Building Code consultation, we’re also consulting on a new approach to how we ensure the set of standards that are referenced in the Building Code system remain up-to-date and fit-for-purpose.

“These are important changes, so I encourage everyone interested to take the time to read through the proposals and let us know what you think,” Dave says.

Consultation runs from April 6 to May 28 2021.

To find out more about the proposed changes or to submit feedback, please visit https://www.mbie.govt.nz/have-your-say/building-code-update-2021/

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