Bunnings Trade

Sign in or sign up

No PowerPass account? Sign up

Job list

Sign in to your account

A white weatherboard cottage house with victorian latticework patio
HomeFit is being hailed as the new WOF for New Zealand homes. It’s good news for renters and homeowners, but could it also be a tool for the trade?

By now you’ve probably heard of HomeFit. At a basic level, HomeFit is an online tool designed by the New Zealand Green Building Council to help people figure out how healthy their home is and support them to improve it.

It’s essentially twenty questions to check the warmth, energy efficiency and safety of a house, ensuring it’s liveable and meets requirements set by the government’s ‘Healthy Homes Standards’.

As well as the basic online self-check, HomeFit also offers a more comprehensive, independent appraisal, carried out by a trained assessor. The assessment looks at damp, mould, insulation, heating, ventilation and other key areas and, if a home passes, it will be awarded a HomeFit stamp, showing that it is warm, dry, safe and efficient. And, on top of this, there’s a HomeFit PLUS standard for homes exceeding the HomeFit standards, with higher insulation levels, fixed, energy-efficient heating and other additional features.

When the CEO of HomeFit, Andrew Eagle asked their intern what she thought of the new app, her response was, “It’s useable.” Straight shooter, that one. But she’s right, it is useable. Useful, even. The question is, could it be beneficial for those in the trade?

The answer isn’t cut and dried, so let’s just say HomeFit has potential. Once people have completed a simple online check of their home, they’ll know what needs to be done to get a HomeFit rating – and that’s where the trade comes in.If people are self-assessing their homes, this will inevitably lead to higher demand for upgrades and work across the board for tradies, plumbers and installers. It might seem like bitsy work, but because so many homes are not up to scratch, it’s going to add up.

The fact is, 50% of Kiwi homes are not meeting current standards. It’s high time something is done about the state of housing in this country, however, raising the standard of housing throughout New Zealand is no small task and won’t come cheap – so who’s going to foot the bill?

If HomeFit’s intention is to achieve the government standard for housing in New Zealand, should the cost fall solely on homeowners? If so, will landlords pass the expense on, resulting in higher rents? As if the cost of living in New Zealand isn’t high enough. If it’s a legislated standard, shouldn’t the government chip in? To answer this question, we approached Marama Davidson, co-leader of the Green Party, who attended the HomeFit launch event.

Davidson wholeheartedly supports lifting the quality of housing in this country. She also believes it should not be solely the responsibility of homeowners – who may already be struggling with the high cost of living. Instead, she sees the government playing a role:

“There’s space for grants and support for homeowners, if they get work completed by certified professionals. I do believe this is something the government will consider, to start by helping with a subsidy.”

“It’s not new for the government to support initiatives like these. Think of the Warm Up New Zealand Heat Smart programme and the move towards solar panels. Enabling New Zealanders to live sustainably and energy efficiently is crucial. It’s something in which the government should play a role.”

With policy makers looking to rustle up support and grants to ensure everybody has access to – and can afford – a safe, warm, healthy home, there’s a better chance of builders, plumbers and tradies gaining business through these requirements, as long as they’re certified.

Being familiar with the requirements and assessment means tradies can pre-empt common questions and improvements. Potentially, if smart contractors and business owners collaborate to meet the public’s needs, they could work together to provide a package solution, making it easy for homeowners achieve a HomeFit rating and gaining business through the site.

“HomeFit has the potential to be used as a tool for contractors, where they could provide a package solution or form a network to help homeowners complete all aspects for certification. They could sort customers out as a group, and split the bill at the end.” – Andrew Eagles, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Green Building Council.

Another benefit is that the industry bar will be raised. Assessors are independent and there’ll be no cutting corners. Certified installers and builders could also be listed with HomeFit for referrals. One thing the trade, industry, government and the general public will agree on, is that any move to raise the standard of housing in New Zealand is a good thing. Watch this space.

You can find out more about HomeFit at homefit.co.nz.

View more projects

Keen to see more projects Bunnings Trade customers have worked on? Check out our more projects here.