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Changes to the Healthy Homes Heating, Ventilation, and Moisture Ingress and Drainage Standards

Changes to the Healthy Homes Heating, Ventilation, and Moisture Ingress and Drainage Standards National Propertyscouts


Changes to the healthy homes standards have officially come into play. For a lot of property owners, these changes aren’t likely to make a big difference to the standards they already have to measure up to. Instead, the changes will be most significant to property investors who own modern dwellings built to the 2008 building code (for insulation and glazing) or apartments.

The amendments include refinements to the heating requirements to take into account the higher thermal performance of homes built to the above building code requirements and apartments. They also include minor changes to the ventilation, moisture ingress and drainage standards.

Here’s an overview of the changes to the standards that now apply:

1. Allowance for smaller heaters in homes built to 2008 building code requirements

The changes to the heating standard generally allow for smaller heaters to be installed in homes built to the 2008 building code requirements for insulation & glazing and apartments. The updated formula for these building types means that tenants will still benefit from a living room that can be heated to and maintained at 18ºC on the coldest day of the year.

2. Updated Heating Assessment Tool

The heating assessment tool on the Tenancy Services website will be updated to reflect the changes.

3. Homes built to the 2008 building code requirements will have more time to comply with the heating standard

To assist in transitioning to the new arrangements, private landlords of new homes built to the 2008 building code requirements for insulation & glazing and certain apartments will have until 12 February 2023 to comply with the heating standard.

4. More flexibility for properties with innovative and energy efficient technologies

The Government has also introduced more flexibility for properties with innovative and energy-efficient technologies. Developers can now use new and different heating technologies to comply with the heating standard. This requires a specialist to estimate the housing needs according to specific criteria including that the system must be able to heat the living room to 18ºC on the coldest day of the year. Geothermal heating systems that provide direct heat to a living room will also meet the heating standard (geothermal heating systems will be primarily utilised by homes in Rotorua).

5. Electrical heaters are now allowed, to boost the heating capacity to  meet requirements

The Government is also allowing electrical heaters to boost the heating capacity to what is required when qualifying heaters installed prior to 1 July 2019 are short on capacity by 2.4kW or less, rather than 1.5kW or less. The trigger point to top up or replace existing heating installed before 1 July 2019 has been revised to existing heaters that are at 80% of the required heating capacity, instead of 90%. Over time, as heaters need to be replaced due to wear and tear, they will need to meet the full requirement of the heating standard.

6. Amendments to the Healthy Homes ventilation standard now support the use of continuous mechanical ventilation

Continuous mechanical ventilation systems extract moisture to the outdoors from kitchens and bathrooms. Continuous mechanical ventilation will meet the ventilation standard where they have been installed in homes that have first received building consent, and the system was part of that original consent, on or after 1 November 2019.

For retrofitted homes where installation of continuous mechanical ventilation happened before 1 November 2019, or if the mechanical ventilation system wasn’t part of the original consent, the system must provide ventilation for multiple rooms and meet minimum exhaust capacity requirements.

7. Minor change to the moisture ingress and drainage standard

A minor change to the moisture ingress and drainage standard for moisture barriers has been made. It clarifies that landlords are not required to install alternative moisture barriers where installation of a polythene barrier isn’t reasonably practical.

The Healthy Homes Standards are complex. If you have any questions about what the changes mean for you, get in touch with a property management expert. We have numerous Propertyscouts offices across the country who are happy to answer any queries you may have.

 

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