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Starter home design competition announced

Hon Shane Jones
Minister for Building and Construction
Hon Maryan Street
Minister for Housing

15 September 2008 Media Statement

Starter home design competition announced

A competition that aims to generate innovative designs and creative solutions that will promote good quality, affordable homes was announced today by Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones and Housing Minister Maryan Street.

The Starter Home Design Competition encourages designers, architects, builders and students to use their creativity to come up with home plans that offer flexibility and function to match the aspirations of first home buyers.

The Starter Home Design Competition is being run by the Department of Building and Housing. The winning design will be built by the Housing New Zealand Corporation and showcased to the public.

“The housing affordability problem is made worse by the growing trend to build larger houses instead of more modest, less expensive ones,” Shane Jones said.

“I believe there is a real demand for smaller new homes and I want this competition to spur the housing sector into meeting that demand.”

“Housing affordability is a critical issue for Kiwis who work hard and save but are still not able to buy their own home,” Maryan Street said.

“The cost of building a house means that for many people, particularly first-home buyers, building is not an option. This competition will help show that with innovative designs of homes that are not unnecessarily large, building a home can also be an option,” Shane Jones said.

Designs will be judged on innovation, cost, design and functionality.

The competition will use the Department’s proposed Compliance Document for Simple Housing as a design guide. The Compliance Document contains measurements and specifications essential to building a good quality, affordable home. The feedback from the competition will inform the development of the document.

Dave Kelly, the Department of Building and Housing’s Deputy Chief Executive, Building Quality, said: “the proposed Compliance Document will make it easier for people to meet Building Code requirements.”

The habitable floor area of designs should be no bigger than 120 m² and the design should cost no more than $1,400 per square metre to build.

Plans should also meet the requirements for structural strength and durability for most locations in New Zealand and meet the expectations of modern New Zealanders, particularly first-time home buyers.

The competition is divided into two categories. The first is for the designs that demonstrate creative solutions that strictly comply with the proposed Compliance Document. The second is for the designs based on an innovative application of the proposed Compliance Document with departures from the proposed Compliance Document identified.

The prize for first place in each category is $8,000 and runners-up will win $2,000. There is also a student section in each category. The top student (in either category) will win $4,000 and the runner-up will receive $500.

Registrations open on 14 September 2008 and entries close on 19 November 2008 for open entries and 26 November for student entries.

For more information visit


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