Tougher insulation rules date for new homes could be pushed out

A six month extension is being proposed to the date at which better insulation for new houses will be required.

Monday, May 30th 2022

Changes to insulation requirements are aimed at reducing the energy needed for heating residential homes by up to 40%.

The changes double the requirement for roof insulation, increase the performance requirements for windows, and raise requirements to underfloor insulation.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) first consulted on the insulation changes early last year as part of its annual Building Code update.

It was decided at the time the date for the new requirements would be 29 November last year..

However, MBIE general manager building system performance John Sneyd says the proposal to push out the date for the new requirements has been made following sector concerns about its readiness to deliver the changes.

“While there is still overwhelming support in the building and construction sector for these changes, we have been told that because of the pressure the sector is under the original timeframes set out are no longer feasible and an extension is needed to enable successful implementation.”

Following these concerns, MBIE held several workshops with key sector players to gain a broader understanding of the issues, leading to the new proposal which is now under consultation.

“We are aware the sector is under significant pressure. We want to manage the risk that delivering these changes in the short term will further impact the health of the building industry and those people working in it” says Sneyd.

“We consider the new proposed timeframe will allow the sector more time to successfully deliver what are the biggest energy efficiency changes to the Building Code in more than a decade, helping to move New Zealand towards its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Sneyd says given the importance of MBIE’s climate change commitments, the extension of this timeframe has been made as short as possible to enable successful implementation of the insulation changes.

“Homes built to the new standards will be warmer, drier, healthier, and cheaper to heat – by up to 40% in colder parts of New Zealand. MBIE needs these changes, which represent a meaningful contribution to carbon saving.”

Those who are able to build homes now which perform to the higher standard are encouraged to do so given the benefits they deliver.

Consultation on the proposed amendment opens today, and will run for two weeks, until Sunday, 12 June. A final decision will be announced before 1 July.

For more information on this proposal, including how to make a submission, visit the MBIE website.


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