Over the last 18 months, consents for multi-unit dwellings have grown to the point where there are more multi-unit consents each month than for standalone houses. Coupled with the current economic climate and the security that comes from Council, Kainga Ora or Government work means we are seeing more and more of our residential builders starting to work beyond the more traditional single dwelling build.
How do you define Medium Density Housing?
There are three different types of residential housing – low density, medium density, and high density.
With increasing pressure on New Zealand’s building stock, medium density housing is considered an attractive option to meet the changing housing needs. Demand for more compact homes is increasing, particularly in areas with rapid population growth (BRANZ, 2023). Medium density consents made up 48% of all consents in 2021 and were forecasted to continue to increase (Stats NZ, 2021).
The key difference between low and medium density housing is the level of complexity required to manage the build and the likelihood of additional layers of responsibility e.g. directors and development owners as PCBU’s above the building contractor.
This complexity of communication around safety means that the builds are often not solely run by a Group Home Builder or single builder and their subbies. Instead, for example, they can be run by project management companies, involving large stages of the build process that is then run and managed by specialists. This adds additional complexities compared to low density housing.
There are often complex stages of these builds, which are generally run by specialised subbies e.g. planning (engineers, architects, quantity surveyors), and build stages (civil works, construction management, carpentry/joiners, concreting) etc.
Because medium density housing creates more risk on-site due to the increased amount of subbies, machinery, equipment, and high-risk work taking place, It’s important that you have the right H&S tools in place for your contractors and a safe system of work e.g Site Specific Safety Plan (SSSP) for all medium density builds.
A SSSP for a medium density build will outline how all involved parties will manage health and safety on-site. This includes a detailed agreement between parties on how they will manage subbies, their expectations, roles, and responsibilities to ensure that all relevant site safety information is available.
The SSSP is intended to be a detailed agreement and communication tool. Due to the potential complexity of medium density builds, we always recommend a more detailed and customised SSSP.
This list is not exhaustive but all of these complexities are often above and beyond a low density build and need planning, controlling, and communicating to ensure the health and safety of workers and others are managed well.
The HazardCo system is suitable and capable of meeting the H&S requirements of medium density builds, so you can feel confident that HazardCo can support you as your business grows.
If you are a builder starting to diversify, now’s the right time to review your Health and Safety activity.
That’s where HazardCo comes in. If you’re building more than 4 units within a fenced-off section, then a Basic HazardCo Project will not be enough, you will need HazardCo’s Project Pro option. This is a customised Project, specifically for your build that gives you everything you need for your team as well as all the subcontractors you will have coming onto the site.
Here are some key components of Project Pro that will help you cover all your bases.
If you have a new medium density build kicking off, give us a call on 0800 555 339 or email email@example.com to discuss your requirements and what you need to be thinking about from a H&S perspective and the added complexities that come with it.