Applications are now open for a new $20 million Wellington City Council fund aimed at encouraging the construction of new buildings to accredited high accessibility and environmental standards.
Liam Hodgetts, chief planning officer, says as the city continues to grow and densify, the council recognizes it has a role in supporting and promoting design excellence.
“It’s an opportunity to close the gap with current government minimum building standards and promote buildings that are fairer and greener.”
The seven-year Environmental and Accessibility Performance Fund supports the council’s goal of being a zero-carbon city and an inclusive, people-friendly place to live by 2050. It is intended to cover part of the costs of these high-quality buildings.
The fund was welcomed by Andrew Eagles, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Green Building Council.
“Buildings account for 20% of New Zealand’s emissions. They also affect our health and how much waste ends up in landfills. Great to see this innovative Wellington City Council program to support lower carbon, healthier homes and buildings.
“Policies like these encourage designers, builders and developers to think about how they design and build their projects to create a healthier, lower-carbon city that will help meet Wellington’s low-carbon goals.”
Lifemark general manager Geoff Penrose adds that better homes allow people to do the things they enjoy, from the young living in their first home to the elderly living in their home live forever.
“Well-designed homes, such as those identified during COVID-19, provide a place to rest, a place to recover, a place to work, and a space to play.
“Structural and spatial dimensions are decisive criteria. Unfortunately, floor plans are often complicated by steps that prevent level access, narrow doorways, and poorly located and designed bathrooms.
“It will take bold decisions to change the way we design and focus on creating a more livable and socially sustainable future for all.”
Individuals can apply for this fund through the link on the EAP Funds page. Expressions of interest may be submitted up to six months prior to the submission of a building permit application or up to six months thereafter.
The expression of interest “reserves” the funds for a maximum of three years. If a development takes longer than expected, applicants must apply for an extension.
Commercial developments that meet the eligibility criteria are eligible for up to $500,000 and residential developments up to $2 million.
Environmental accreditation standards are via Homestar, Greenstar or Living Building Challenge and accessibility via Lifemark.
The fund replaces the waiver available through the 2022 Development Contributions Directive. Existing applications for green building remission will be considered.