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Design competition will boost starter homes

Date: 24 March 2008 Media Statement

Embargoed 2pm

Design competition will boost starter homes initiative

Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones is proposing a nationwide design competition as part of the package to improve flexibility and reduce regulatory costs of building a modest starter home.

“One way to promote the starter homes initiative is to look at the feasibility of holding a design competition as a way of getting people right across the board interested and involved in assisting us solve the housing affordability issue,” Mr Jones said.

“Part of my instructions to Department of Building and Housing is to work with the building sector on simplifying the design and approval of simple starter homes which can quickly be issued with a building consent.

“I believe by opening up the design process we may see some brilliant ideas on the best types of starter homes we can make affordable to first home buyers.”

Mr Jones said simplifying the design and approval of starter homes will be done primarily through a Building Code Compliance Document showing how to build simple starter homes based on standard details, including foundations, flooring, walls, roofing, windows, building services and systems.

Product certification for the buildings material used would also provide an assurance for the starter home owner.

“This two-pronged approach would allow councils to very quickly consent such homes while standard specifications could lower the costs of building quite substantially particularly if economies of scale can be achieved,” Mr Jones said.

The Department has had preliminary meetings with key sector representatives to test the concept and possible design parameters.

It is now setting up an industry reference group to fully develop it, with the Compliance Document draft to be prepared by the end of May with the intention of having it published and in effect by 30 October 2008.


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