The Green Building Council is overhauling its "Homestar" quality verification tool for the first time in seven years.

The NZGBC said the changes would make it easier for the building and construction sector to "lift and verify the performance of new homes".

The new standard comes into effect today.

Arguing that the New Zealand Building Code is insufficient, Homestar is an independent rating tool that certifies the health, efficiency and sustainability of New Zealand homes.


The NZGBC has already received support for the changes from the construction and health sector.

Dr Rhys Jones of OraTaiao, a group of health professionals calling for healthy climate action, said housing was "one of the major 'win-win' areas for climate and health in New Zealand".

"Low-quality housing is a significant cause of poor health, particularly in our most disadvantaged communities, and addressing this can have huge environmental benefits," Jones said.

"This will be great for health and for the low carbon future that New Zealand needs."

Katja Lietz, general manager of masterplanning and placemaking at Housing New Zealand subsidiary HLC also welcomed the changes.

"With this new standard, we can assure our customers of quality homes without an onerous overhead," Lietz said.

Panuku Development Auckland, a subsidiary of Auckland Council charged with urban regeneration, supported the new standard and said it had plans of making it a requirement in locations with a social housing component.

Panuku chief executive Roger MacDonald said: "We're supporting this tool, because we believe it is necessary for the New Zealand housing market.

"By simplifying the tool considerably, NZGBC is making it possible for sustainable healthy homes to become the norm, not the exception."

Other supporters include the Tamaki Regeneration Company, which is overseeing the construction of about 7500 new homes; insulation provider Pinkbatts; Auckland Council; Watercare and Housing New Zealand.

NZGBC chief executive Andrew Eagles said that by listening to the market, the group was able to adapt and simplify the standard for volume builders.

"We've made it more economical to drive momentum with a concrete, streamlined methodology which helps accelerate the delivery of quality housing stock," Eagles said.

"The revised tool provides a clear framework for constructing a quality home that contributes positively to the health and wellbeing of its occupants," he said.