Posted: 5 December 2022
The proposed amendments to the Building Act will:
- make it mandatory for new and existing public, industrial and large-scale residential buildings (such as multi-storey apartment buildings) to hold energy performance ratings
- require those intending to undertake certain building or demolition work to have a waste minimisation plan
- change the principles and purposes of the Building Act, to clarify that climate change is a key consideration.
These amendments form a key part of the building and construction sector’s contribution to the Government's goal of reaching net zero carbon by 2050. They are expected to lessen waste, reduce demand on the energy sector, and help drive the growth of the circular economy to build a better future for New Zealanders.
The proposed amendments to the Building Act also set the stage for wider work through the Building for Climate Change Programme, with additional initiatives being developed that will focus on reducing embodied carbon and improving operational efficiency in new buildings.
As the climate changes, an increase in extreme weather events will impact tenants and building owners. The proposed amendments to the Act will make it clear that it is a core responsibility of the building and construction sector to consider the impact of climate change and the resilience of buildings.
Having ready access to information on a buildings' energy performance will inform decisions by prospective owners and tenants and incentivise current building owners to take action to lift their building's energy efficiency. Providing building users and owners with an assessment of current energy use and practical options to reduce this will help reduce their energy bills and better manage peak electricity demand. Higher property values and improved rentability could result from a high energy rating.
These changes will be phased in over time and will initially apply to larger public, industrial and commercial buildings and large-scale residential buildings but could be applied to other buildings in the future.
The Government also intends to establish national requirements for waste minimisation to build on the localised work councils are doing in their communities and to help grow the circular economy. Analysis shows that waste reduction can generate cost savings and help ease supply chain pressures in the construction sector, along with reducing emissions through encouraging more efficient use of materials. Given construction and demolition waste accounts for up to half of all waste in our landfills and can drive a proportion of construction costs, this is an important area to address.
Buildings make up nearly 9.4 per cent of our domestic emissions, through the energy they use directly and from their embodied carbon.
Early analysis indicates that these proposals could support emissions reductions of 12.6 Mt CO2-e between now and 2050. For comparison this equates to nearly 19,000 plane trips between Wellington and Auckland per year until 2050.
In 2023, the Government will introduce a Bill to progress the proposed amendments to the Building Act. Changes to regulations will also be developed and consulted on publicly. You will be able to have your say on these changes and we will keep you informed on how to do this.
Changes are expected to be phased in from 2025 onwards.
Read the Government's press release - beehive.govt.nz
Read more about the proposed amendments to the Building Act - mbie.govt.nz