News | 17 August 2022

$20 million fund for better buildings

Applications are now open for a new $20 million Wellington City Council fund that aims to encourage the construction of new buildings to accredited high-accessibility and environmental standards.

Wellington City from Tinakori Hill on a sunny day

Liam Hodgetts, Chief Planning Officer, says as the city continues to grow and densify, Council recognises that it has a role to support and incentivise design excellence.

 

“It’s an opportunity to help bridge the gap around current regulatory minimum building standards and to encourage buildings that are more equitable and perform better for the environment.”

 

The seven-year Environmental and Accessibility Performance Fund supports the Council’s goal to be a carbon-zero city by 2050, and to be an inclusive, people-friendly place to live.

 

It’s intended to cover a portion of the cost of these high-quality buildings.

 

The fund has been welcomed by Andrew Eagles, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Green Building Council.

 

“Buildings make up 20% of New Zealand’s emissions. They also have impacts on our health and how much waste goes to landfill. It’s great to see this innovative scheme from the Wellington City Council to support lower-carbon healthier homes and buildings.  

 

“Policies like this encourage designers, builders and developers to consider how they design and build their projects delivering a healthier lower carbon city helping to achieve Wellington’s lower carbon goals.”

 

Geoff Penrose, General Manager of Lifemark, adds that better homes enable people to do the things they enjoy, from young people living in their first home to older people living in their forever home. 

 

“Well-designed homes, as identified during COVID-19, provide a place to rest, recover, a place to work and a space to play. 

 

“Structural and spatial dimensions are key criteria. Unfortunately, layouts are often made more difficult with steps that prevent level access, doorways that are too narrow, and poorly located and designed bathrooms. 

 

“Bold decisions are needed to change the way we design and to focus on delivering a more liveable and socially sustainable future for everyone.”

 

People can apply for this fund via the link on the EAP fund page

 

Expressions of Interest can be submitted up to six months before lodging a building consent application or up to six months after. 

 

The expression of interest will ‘reserve’ the funds for a maximum of three years. If a development takes longer than expected, applicants will need to request an extension. 

 

Commercial developments that meet eligibility criteria are entitled to up to $500,000, and residential developments up to $2 million.

 

The environmental accreditation standards are via Homestar, Greenstar or Living Building Challenge, and Accessibility via Lifemark.

 

The fund replaces the remission available through the Development Contributions Policy 2022. Existing applications for the Green Building Remission will be honoured.

 

View details on the Environmental and Accessibility Performance Fund.