13 June 2016

Changes to the Tenancy Act that we signalled to parishes last year have now been enacted.

The two main areas that affect parishes relate to insulation and smoke detectors. We can now provide clarity around the requirements for each of these.

All residential properties of the Diocese whether occupied by clergy or rented to a third party, will need to meet the new requirements.

From 1st July 2016:

  • All residential properties will be required to have smoke alarms.
  • All new tenancy agreements will need to include a statement of the extent and safety of insulation in the property.
  • Any new or replacement insulation in the property will be required to meet the current Building Code.
  • The installation of electrically conductive products (such as reflective foil often used as underfloor insulation) will be banned.

From 1st July 2019:

  • All properties must have underfloor and ceiling insulation meeting the required standard:
    • Houses built up to 1st July 2016 – 1978 Standard Permitted Combinations for Type A Construction.
    • Houses built or upgrade from 1st July 2016 – Current Code.

Below are instructions from https://www.energywise.govt.nz/at-home/insulation/ on how to check insulation. The site also has instructional videos.

It is suggested that parishes with residential properties have insulation specialists check their buildings if in doubt.   The Energywise web site has listings of specialists.

The Energywise web site also has some funding options although there are limitations to grant availability.

DIY Ceiling Insulation Check:

You will need to add a top-up layer of insulation if there is some insulation but it:

  • is less than 12 cm thick (it should be thicker than the height of the ceiling joists)
  • doesn’t cover the whole ceiling
  • has gaps in it, or places where it is squashed or tucked in.

You need to remove the old insulation and start again with a new layer if:

  • it is wet or damp in areas
  • has been damaged by rodents or birds.

DIY Underfloor Insulation Check:

If you can access your underfloor area, have a look for insulation. There are 3 things you might find:

  1. Bare floorboards and no insulation – in which case you need to get some fitted.
  2. Foil-based product – if it’s held in with metal staples, don’t touch it. There’s an electrocution risk if the staples have pierced electrical wires and the whole lot might be live. Get an electrician to check it first.
  3. Please also note that this type of insulation can work too well and dry out floorboard, making them prone to cracking.
  4. If your foil appears to be well fitted and in good condition then it’s probably working well. You might find that the foil is ripped, parts of the foil are missing or there are gaps allowing airflow into the spaces above the foil. Depending on the extent of damage, you may need to be removed and replace it with modern bulk insulation, although minor damage can be fixed by an insulation professional.
  5. Bulk insulation – foil used to be the standard for underfloor insulation but there are more durable and effective bulk insulation products available these days. The types you might consider include rigid polystyrene sheets, or softer products like polyester, wool and fibreglass. Check to see that any bulk insulation is tightly fitted against the underside of the floorboards with no gaps or pieces missing. If any has slipped or fallen out, you should replace it. You may need some clips or other fittings to hold it into place.

Checking for Dampness:

While you’re under your floor, check to see if you have excess moisture in the ground. If your soil isn’t a dry dust, or you’ve got damp or musty smells under your floor or in your house, you may have a moisture problem. If you have an enclosed basement, it should be ventilated through gaps or vents in the enclosed perimeter walls. Uncover any vents that may have been blocked by paint, soil, plants or barriers to keep pests out.

It’s important to fix any of these problems – if the ground is still damp, you can install a ground vapour barrier. This will simply stop the moisture from moving out of the ground, into the air and up through your floor.

[Source: www.energywise.govt.nz ]