Building Beyond the Building code

When it comes to building any new building, the government has a set of rules and regulations to make sure any new build is up to a standard building criteria. This is called the Building Code, and unfortunately people take it as being a measure of acceptable quality and safety that should be strived for. In reality, the building code is the absolute bare minimum of quality and safety a building should have.

What is the Building Code?

The Building Code is part of the regulations under the Building Act 2004. The Act governs the building sector and sets out the rules for the construction, alteration, demolition and maintenance of new and existing buildings in New Zealand. Essentially, it’s a set of standards that create the bare minimum for quality and safety for a new build in New Zealand for a new project to be considered safe for occupancy.

What else should be done

There are two main areas that can and should be built beyond the building code, energy efficiency of a new build and the accessibility & functionality of a new build. Let’s delve a little deeper into these areas.

Energy efficiency

In our blog series – “Passive design and thermal mass”, we covered about how passive design enables efficient use of energy flow inside a house however there isn’t a strict standard of how energy efficient a home should be.  There are a number of voluntary ways a home can be built to optimise for energy efficiency however home-owners and particularly rental properties do not adhere to these improvements. This means that homes built to the standard are not meeting a very high energy efficiency rating and thus causing home-owners and tenants more in electricity band heating. It is not only harming the environment, it is also harming your wallet.

Accessibility and functionality

Private homes don’t need to be accessible to those with additional needs, such as wheelchair access. This resistance to building appropriate accessibility in new housing has meant new homes are not going to work in the long run with the aging population. Kiwis have been slow to adapt to a more accessible design of housing dispute the international changes we are seeing overseas.  As a country, we love a bit of innovation and that’s all any design really needs. Innovation for accessibility and functionality for all will go a long way when It comes to futureproofing your home and when the time comes, selling it on the market.

Why build beyond the minimum

Building beyond the minimum requirements of the building code will be a great step in thinking about the future generations. When It comes to exergy efficiency, the design of your home can greatly impact how effecting your home will be to live in for years to come. So a little more time and thought spent in the designing stage can save you money in the long run. As for accessibility and functionality, well no one knows what around the corner, one day you might need wheelchair access, even if its for a short period of time, and your home won’t be able to accommodate you. Plus, when the time come to sell, these features can be huge selling points and add value to your property.

So when you are ready to build a new home, don’t accept the building code as a high level of quality and safety. Take a few extra days in the design stage to ensure your new home will be above and beyond the building code. If you’ve read this and thought you might want your next home to be built beyond the building code, feel free to get in touch with us via our contact us page and we can sort out a meeting.