Conclusions

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The Tamaki community provided very specific conditions for researching retirement or upgrade.  Cases for retirement in other communities may differ

The enquiry framework could provide useful guidance for approaching the question of whether to retire or upgrade homes within other regeneration projects and a smaller, individual house scale.  Of particular note is that many households make decisions from a personal or family perspective rather than a house condition perspective; and in some cases legal ownership is not simple and sits across more than one nuclear family.  Many decisions are likely to be multi-layered, including connections with the home, section, immediate neighbourhood, past generations and extended family.  This is particularly likely in communities where the home has been owned through more than one generation.

The sample houses, and indeed, the Tamaki community, had some characteristics which may not be representative across New Zealand. 

  • The families recruited had lived in Tamaki longer than the general population
  • Domination of the state house or mass house typology
  • All families had strong connection to their local area at multiple levels

This suggests that further testing of the enquiry framework within other communities may be useful to see if there are more compelling cases for retirement in other circumstances.

 

High rates of deferred maintenance and a lack of understanding of why maintenance is important are likely to be New Zealand-wide problems

Deferred maintenance is a significant problem. Across New Zealand, 85% of the existing housing stock will still exist in 2025 and, in a typical year, more buildings are renovated than are built. Many of these are in poor condition - the 2010 House Condition Survey found that:

  • 41% of houses were in good condition and well maintained
  • 59% in moderate or poor condition
  • 25% of houses had defects that needed attention within 3 months.

The multifaceted reasons for this - financial, as well as advice and informational - are also likely to apply across New Zealand.  Resene’s research, for example, indicates that the importance of painting maintenance is poorly understood.  There appears to be a relatively low level of knowledge of how to solve house maintenance problems, even smaller problems.

 

Deferred maintenance is contributing to New Zealand’s poorly performing housing stock

Considerable research now shows cold, dampness and mould are major contributors to poor health outcomes.  In this case study, a majority of home owners considered their homes to be cold but had limited heating (in two cases, no heating at all).  The majority of households had problems with mould, mildew and moisture on windows. Six households reported doctor or hospital visits because of health issues that they thought could have been prevented if the home was in better condition.  The high levels of deferred maintenance in these houses were making very obvious impacts on living conditions; however, there was little awareness of the links between condition and performance. 

 

Simple home upgrades are a potential community enterprise across New Zealand communities

These findings support earlier work by Beacon and others indicating that a multipronged approach to the upgrade of homes is required, which combines information, advice, support in how to approach upgrades/ manage contracts, and, for some people, financial assistance.  This is likely to apply across all or most parts of New Zealand. 

Many interventions required to upgrade houses do not require a high trained skill set and are not especially expensive.  Some of these interventions lend themselves well to a potential community enterprise such as a home advice and retrofit service.  Specialist advice, such as structural work, electrical or plumbing, could be contracted in and managed on behalf of the homeowner. 

 


 


 

Quotes from homeowners

“Daughter, sons’  and moko’s placenta is here - no intention of moving”

Know place, know people; people and place know us”

“No insulation so it’s very cold in winter”

“All three children had asthma before we got the insulation and heat pump”

“We know we have mould but we don’t know how to solve it”