Proposed Housing Warrant of Fitness

advertisement
Proposed Housing Warrant of Fitness
Background
Several national surveys and research studies have shown that private rental housing is in poorer condition
than either social housing, or houses that are owner occupied. These results are consistent, regardless of the
measurement tool used. Following the recommendations of the Children’s Commission’s Expert Working
Group on Solutions to Child Poverty, the position of the large proportion of children in poor households who
are renting in the private sector, has again highlighted the importance and utility of a Housing WoF in policy
and government circles.
There are a number of measurement tools available, which could form the basis of a Housing WoF, most
notably the Healthy Housing Index (HHI)(see Table One), which is the result of over a decade of development
between He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme and BRANZ (including the measurement
of several thousand houses)1 and the New Zealand Green Building Council’s (NZGBC) Homestar tool.
Researchers at He Kainga Oranga and the NZGBC have formally agreed to work together to combine the
expertise of both groups and develop a Housing WoF and have met with MoBIE to discuss this plan.
Purpose of Housing WoF
Recognising the poor quality of much of New Zealand housing, and the impact of this on health, safety and
poor energy efficiency, the proposed Housing WoF follows the now well-accepted analogy of a car WoF, which
is concerned with the health & safety of passengers and others on the road. It’s not just the person, who owns
the house that is affected by its quality, but tenants or visitors (the car passengers) and others who are
affected if the car crashes (publically funded –costs such as ACC or hospital costs).
The focus of the Housing WoF should be to diminish the ‘information asymmetry’ in the housing market, i.e.
the aspect of the house that are less obvious to potential tenants than the landlord (e.g. insulation, damp,
injury hazards), rather than whether it is falling down, has flakey paint, or is in a nice location or
neighbourhood). These aspects could be added on at a later stage.
The Housing WoF should concentrate on the small number of factors that have most impact on health, safety
and energy efficiency. These factors must be measured by trained independent assessors, with building
knowledge.
The Housing WoF should set a minimum acceptable standard for housing and incentivise improvements. It
would provide a more robust basis for policy development, compliance monitoring and research on the quality
of housing stock.
1
The HHI focuses on building condition rather than the occupants or the way they might live within a house. It provides a measure of
how likely it is that occupants will suffer ill health or injuries due to a housing factor(s). Each measure included in the inspection was
selected on the basis of previous local and international research, together with expert opinion. In addition each individual element has
been validated against respiratory health outcomes, injury claims to ACC and energy consumption.
1
What the Housing WoF is
The Housing WoF is a measure of the essential factors that are agreed to affect health, safety and energy
efficiency. It is oriented to the aspect of houses that are necessary for all households. 2 The draft elements of
a Housing WoF are presented in Appendix One.
What the Housing WoF isn’t
It is not a substitute for a house condition or comprehensive home maintenance inspection or a house
valuation. It does not necessarily identify ‘leaky buildings’. It does not cover how the house is ‘used’, i.e.
housing knowledge, attitudes and practice and therefore it excludes household crowding.
What the Housing WoF could include in future
It can be extended to measure sustainability, resilience to natural hazards (such as earthquakes), and the
suitability of the house for people with disability, older people or children.
How would the Housing WoF be implemented?
The WoF could initially be a voluntary, but advance notice should be given that within a set period regulation
would be introduced. The regulatory bar should be set at a level that will not ‘fail’ an unacceptably high
proportion of properties at the outset. There should be good buy-in from the public, politicians and (ideally)
landlords.
Who could carry out the Housing WoF?
There are already a number of trainers and building assessors, who are trained to carry out the HHI and the
Homestar rating. We have also had on-going discussions with Housing New Zealand, who have a large number
of building assessors and we have had preliminary discussion with the NZ Fire Service, who have 450 fire
stations around New Zealand and are keen to extend their health protection work.
What system would be used to measure the Housing WoF?
There is a prototype WoF inspection form that can be used on either an iPad or an Android tablet. There are a
number of data applications that could be used, including the PS Pocket Survey that is used to measure
housing in the England and the USA.
What would be the effect of a Housing WoF on the rental market?
The costs and benefits of a Housing WoF to tenants and landlords need to be evaluated in a pilot project,
which ideally would be in a city like Wellington or Dunedin.
Do other countries have Housing WoF?
England provides a model for the use of housing assessment methods to improve housing quality and
consequent health, safety and social outcomes. In 2001 England established a ‘Decent Homes’ standard, which
states that houses should be warm, weatherproof and have reasonably modern facilities. Alongside the
Housing Act 2004 the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) measures housing conditions. Rather
than assessing against a fixed standard, the HHSRS employs a risk assessment approach to enable risks from
hazards to health and safety in dwellings to be minimised. The system applies to all dwellings, regardless of
ownership.
Once it is accepted that unsatisfactory housing conditions can have a negative effect on health, it is logical to
assume that there will be a cost to society. In the UK the Audit Commission has recently stated that every £1
spent on providing housing support for vulnerable people can save nearly £2 in reduced costs of health
services, tenancy failure, crime and residential care. Furthermore, a report that combines housing quality data
2
Although it is based on extensive research, the proposed Housing WoF consists of simple combinations of features that
have been shown to be better and more consistent than expert opinion which does not follow an agreed formula. See
Daniel Kahneman, Chapter 21, Intuitions vs formulas. In Thinking, fast and slow. London, Penguin Books, 2011.
2
from the HHSRS and health service costs highlights potential savings of more than £600 million a year from
dealing with the most pressing housing problems, such as slips, trips, falls, mould and other treatable aspects
of unhealthy housing. This saving to the health sector is thought to be around 40% of the total cost saving to
society.
3
Appendix One: Draft Housing Warrant of Fitness
#
1.
2.
Question
Does the house have ceiling and under-floor
insulation to EECA standards?
Is there a functional toilet?
3.
Are there personal washing facilities?
Yes/No
4.
Is the storm water drainage to council standards?
Yes/No
5.
Is the waste water drainage to council standards?
Yes/No
6.
Yes/No
7.
Is there adequate food preparation and storage
areas?
Is there a functional stovetop and oven?
8.
Is there a potable water supply (hot and cold)?
Yes/No
9.
Is there mould and dampness?
Yes/No
10.
Is there a form of safe and energy efficient heating?
Yes/No
11.
Do the windows work?
Yes/No
12.
Have the windows got safety latches/stays?
Yes/No
13.
Is the house structurally sound?
Yes/No
14.
Do the bathroom, kitchen and all bedrooms have
some form of ventilation to outside?
Is the house in a reasonable state of repair and
weather tightness?
Does the house have working fire alarms?
Yes/No
Yes/No
18.
Are the power outlets/light switches safe, functional
and in a good state of repair?
Are there handrails for stairs/outside steps?
19.
Are the floor coverings safe?
Yes/No
20.
Is there adequate outdoor lighting near entrance
ways?
Is the water heating set to a safe temperature?
Yes/No
Yes/No
23.
Do ranch-sliders and low level windows have safety
visibility strips?
Is there secure storage for potential poisons?
24.
If there is a pool, is it fenced to council standards?
Yes/No
25.
Do the doors and windows lock?
Yes/No
15.
16.
17.
21.
22.
Comments
Yes/No
Yes/No
Yes/No
Yes/No
Yes/No
Yes/No
Yes/No
Yes/No
4
Table 1. Examples of components assessed by the Healthy Housing Index
Name of scale
Outcome
Respiratory
diseases
Health
Cardiovascular
diseases
Infectious diseases
linked to enteric
transmission
Examples of components required to pass the HHI
Core modules
Ceiling and under-floor insulation where possible,
installed to EECA standards
Sanitary areas to include a toilet and personal
washing facilities
Storm-water and waste-water drainage to Council
Standards
Adequate food preparation and storage areas
Water supply (hot and cold)
Adequate control of mould and dampness
Safe and energy efficient heating
Adequate laundry facilities
Working windows for ventilation; to include safety
latches/stays
Reasonable state of repair (E.g. doors, windows,
walls, roofs)
Energy efficiency
Injuries and
poisonings
All power outlets/ light switches safe, functional
and in a good state of repair
Safety from falls, including handrails for stairs and
outside steps
Structural soundness
Safe access to house, including structurally sound
steps with visibility strips on edges and handrails
Adequate lighting
Water heating set to safe temperature
Ranch-sliders and low level windows to have safety
visibility strips
Secure storage for potential poisons
Ceiling and under-floor insulation where possible,
installed to EECA standards
Safe and energy efficient heating
Financial and
environmental
costs
Possible additional modules for future consideration
Injuries from
Resilience
natural hazards
Financial costs
Sustainability
Environmental
costs
Infectious diseases
Suitability#
linked to household
crowding
Excess heat and cold control
Control of all indoor pollutants
Sound proofing for noise
Mechanical ventilation
High standards of driveway & boundary
fencing
Working fire alarms
Safety
Examples of additional components to
gain extra points on a five-point scale
Security from intruders
Fire resistant materials & design
High standards of fall protection
High standards of external lighting
Energy efficient lighting
Sustainable heating
Solar orientation
Thermal mass
Optimal house layout
Heating and cooling systems
Solar water heating
Window efficiency
Yet to be developed
#The
suitability module is proposed to provide useful information for occupants on aspects such as the number of rooms (and therefore
number of occupants the house can accommodate before it becomes crowded), disability issues (such as wheelchair access), and suitability
for children, but it will not form part of the rating system.
5
Download
Related flashcards
Banking

21 Cards

Banking

30 Cards

Banks of Russia

30 Cards

Payment systems

59 Cards

Create flashcards