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HHS Compliance #2: Insulation requirements at a glance

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Welcome back to Part 2 to our Healthy Homes Standards Compliance Series.

After covering heating last week, let's turn our attention to insulation. Landlords will be well aware that there are the 2016 Minimum Standards for insulation to be met by 1 July 2019. The HHS Insulation Standards go a step further to require there to be qualifying ceiling and underfloor insulation to the 2008 building code level by compliance deadlines. As with last week's piece on heating, let's unpack the requirements at a more granular level. 

1. The standards in detail

Some background reading to consider for those who are not time poor and have an interest in the finer details of the Standards: 

Note that the latter two resources above are intended as overviews. They are fairly brief and do not cover the finer details we feel are important for landlords to pay attention to. Please do not use either as your sole source of information for the purpose of compliance. 

If you are looking for a go-to guide that covers the essential information you need to comply with the HHS, download and use our HHS Compliance Guide #2 Insulation. Our Insulation Partner, The Insulation Warehouse Limited (TIWL), has also supplied an overview powerpoint for your reference here. Note that these are members-only resources, the download will follow once you have logged into your account.  Tenancy Services is also set to publish its own compliance guidelines for landlords by July 2019. 

You may also be interested in attending our upcoming Property Show-&-Tell session hosted Kevan Hunt and the team at TIWL. This is a narrated warehouse tour showing you how to select the right product for your rental property, manage costs, meet compliance standards, and deal with ongoing maintenance and disturbance issues. There are still spaces left. Click here to register.

2. FAQ

1. What about the 2016 Minimum Standards (2016MS) for insulation (among other things) at rental properties? 

You still need to comply and meet these standards by 1 July 2019 (tick tock!). 

2. Darn it! I had to install new insulation after 2016 just to comply with the Minimum Standards, is the government double dipping on compliance? 

Most likely not. If your property was not insulated at 2016 and you had put in fresh insulation to meet the 2016 standards, chances are you already comply with the HHS standards. That said, we are aware that some installers had put in R1.8 products in the ceilings for Zone 1 properties (HHS standard is 2.9) for the purpose of meeting the 2016 standards. If that is the case for your rentals then you will have to top up. Best to check with the installer you used to confirm. 

3. I didn't have to do anything to meet 2016MS because my property was already insulated when those standards came in. Do I still have to comply with the HHS? 

Yes. If under the 2016MS you've never had to add/top up any insulation to meet 2016MS then it pays to double-check whether your existing insulation meets the qualifying insulation requirement under the HHS especially if the insulation thickness is below 120mm. Even if you meet the thickness requirement, you should also check that the insulation is still in reasonable condition as required by the HHS. 

4. I am so confused, should I be looking at R-value or minimum thickness?

It sure can be confusing! We recommend that you focus on R-value because that is what the Regulations uses at the primary test for qualifying insulation. R stands for Resistance and measures how well the insulation material can resist heat escaping through it. We can geek out all day on this but for the purpose of compliance, we recommend that you read the manufacturer's instructions (and save a copy!) to determine the R-value of your insulation material. 

5. Can I install the insulation myself?

You absolute can. As long as your installation work meets NZS4246:2016.

6. I have existing foil insulation installed for the underfloor, would that comply with HHS? 

Existing foil insulation could meet the partial exemption requirements under the HHS. It will need to be in reasonable condition and you will need to be in possession (and be able to furnish on demand) a valid compliance document certifying that the foil insulation was installed to meet the old building standards. If the foil insulation is no longer in reasonable condition then you will have to replace it with other qualifying insulation under the HHS.

Foil insulation would not be acceptable for any new installs or retrofits as it is now banned by the Building Act (for properties that have existing electrical installations). 

7. Will APIA be arranging any insulation deals for its members?

We already have one in place. The Insulation Warehouse Limited with bases in Auckland, Waikato and Taurange offers APIA members 20% off installed insulation.  Click here for more details.

8. What are the penalties if I don't comply?

Up to $4,000. 


Our Healthy Homes Standards Compliance Series is designed to help landlords understand the new Healthy Homes Standards as outlined by the  Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019. The Series is a mix of compliance guides, best practice protocols, link pooling, FAQs, video explainers and industry offers so please take the time to subscribe to our database if you haven't already or become a member if you like to take advantage of all of these resources.

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