Fitting out a place called home
As New Zealand’s largest residential landlord, Kāinga Ora owns and manages nearly 70,000 public homes across the country. Many of these homes are more than 60 years old and are in need of a full renovation so they can keep housing people for decades to come.
The Kāinga Ora Retrofit Programme is having a massive impact throughout the country as old public homes are remodelled and fitted-out to make them warmer, drier and comfortable homes for many years to come.
With a goal to renovate 10,000 homes over the next 10 years, the Programme aims to add at least another 50 years to the life of a home, making improvements such as full insulation (walls, ceiling and floor), double glazing, improved airtightness, ventilation, and new heating. Work varies for each home depending on needs, and may also include an upgrade of the bathroom or kitchen, converting homes to a more open plan living layout, and making the home more accessible.
“We deliver this national programme in partnership with over 25 of our build partners throughout the country,” says Nick Howcroft, Kāinga Ora Director of Delivery.
“This is not just about bringing our homes up to minimum requirements either – in many cases we are exceeding legislative and building codes, just as we do in our new builds.”
The programme reaches into the regions with full retrofits of over 1,000 homes completed across Northland, Bay of Plenty, East North Island, Taranaki, Manawatu, Tasman, Canterbury and Otago since the launch of the programme in 2018 and over 700 homes nationwide expected to receive renovations in the next 12 months.
“We are aware undertaking this work can disrupt people’s lives so we try to get the changes all done at once to get them back in their homes and enjoying the long-term benefits as quickly as possible,” says Nick.
Retrofitting a public home typically takes around three to four months. This includes construction as well as time for customers to relocate to temporary accommodation which is usually another public home in their neighbourhood.
Kāinga Ora build partner Rhys Finlay Contractors Limited completes an average of one retrofit home each week in the Hutt Valley region.
Director Rhys Finlay employs over 50 people full time, including seven apprentices, and contracts over 100 tradespeople.
“The construction work we complete for Kāinga Ora is always to high specifications whether it’s structural, insulation or windows,” says Rhys.
“Retrofitting an old state house is also great training for our apprentices as we often need to problem solve with architects or engineers during construction.
“We live and work in the Hutt Valley area so many people know us and we’re seeing the impact these retrofits are having on neighbourhoods. The Kāinga Ora customers whose homes we complete are excited to move back home and our teams take pride in seeing neighbourhoods refreshed as the homes are renovated.
“Its work we’re contracted to do, but for us it’s more than just a contract. We are having a lasting impact on many people’s lives and that’s work worth doing,” says Rhys.