Table 2

Links between housing quality features (and their associated hazards and methods of measurement by the New Zealand housing quality measurement tool) and likely outcomes (health, safety and sustainability)

Housing quality feature measuredHazards associated with housingMethod of measurementHealth, safety and sustainability outcomes
Adequate structural soundness:
Adequate foundations
Adequate walls, floors
Adequate roof, cladding
Adequate windows
Adequate stairs
Adequate chimneys
Adequate internal walls
Cylinders and header tanks have earthquake restraints
Structural collapse and falling elementsVisual inspection by trained assessor
Measurement of key dimensions (some structural elements)
Injury following natural disaster
Adequate water supply:
Adequate potable water
Adequate water for non-potable uses
Inadequate or contaminated water supplyVisual inspection by trained assessor
Source of water
Treatment method of water, if not reticulated
Enteric infections
Adequate sanitary areas and waste disposal:
Sanitary and functional toilet
Adequate personal washing facilities and hot water Sanitary and functional facilities for clothes washing.
Adequate solid waste storage and collection
Safe and functional sewage disposal
Safe and function storm water, surface water and ground water disposal
Infection from poor hand-washing and sewage
Infection from pests (rodents, flies, etc)
Visual inspection by trained assessor including subfloor inspection
Test water temperature at hot tap
Evidence of pests
Enteric infections
Adequate food preparation areas:
Safe and functional cooking device
Adequate space/area for food preparation and cleaning, hot water
Adequate safe space for food storage
Infection from contaminated foodVisual inspection by trained assessor
Test water temperature at hot tap
Type and safety of cooking device
Surface area and quality of food preparation area
Enteric infections
Adequate safety from falls and other injuries:
Safe bath and shower areas
Safe decks, surfaces, barriers
Safe stairs, treads, risers
Safe window sills
Safe handrails and grabrails
Safe floor areas
Safe outside paths and steps
Safe doors and windows
Adequate fencing of section
Adequate fencing of pool
Good location and operability of amenities
Falls associated with baths, etc
Falling on level surfaces, etc
Falling on stairs, etc
Falling between levels
Vehicle injuries in driveways
Drowning in pools
Collision and entrapment
Poor ergonomics and operation of amenities
Visual inspection by trained assessor
Measurement of key dimensions (stairs, decks, windows, handrails, paths, pools and fences)
Injuries and avoidable deaths in home
Adequate safety from fires, electrocution and explosion:
Safe and functional energy source
Safe and functional electrical and gas installations
Safe and functional wood burner, fire place, chimneys33
Smoke alarms34
Adequate escape route and exit ways
Hot water less than 55°C
Electrical hazards
Flames, hot surfaces, etc
Visual inspection by trained assessor
Test water temperature at hot tap
Test smoke detectors
Burns, scalds, electrocutions and avoidable deaths in home
Adequate warmth and dryness:
Optimal orientation
Adequate insulation
Adequate draft stopping Adequate heating
Adequate site/subfloor drainage35 36Adequate ventilation
Minimum indoor temperature
Damp and mould growth37
Excess cold13
Visual inspection by trained assessor
Measure thickness of ceiling insulation
Test of moisture levels in walls
Excess winter hospitalisations and deaths
Adequate protection from excess heat:
Optimal orientation and shading
Adequate insulation
Adequate ventilation
Safe heating facilities
Safe cooking facilities
Excess heatVisual inspection by trained assessorExcess summer hospitalisations and deaths
Adequate lighting and sunlight:
Adequate natural lighting
Adequate artificial lighting
Inadequate or excessive lighting
Inadequate sunlight exposure
Visual inspection by trained assessor
Measurement of light intensity
Falls at home
Reduced sleep and psychological well-being
Vitamin D deficiency and associated illnesses
Adequate control of indoor pollutants:
Minimum asbestos products
No lead paint
Water pipes free from lead
Minimum combustion products
Minimum VOCs
Asbestos and manufactured mineral fibres
Lead paint,38–41 pipes42
Biocides (eg, timber treatments)
Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products
Uncombusted fuel gas
Volatile Organic compounds—for example, formaldehyde
Visual inspection by trained assessor- especially noting where building material has deteriorated, releasing fibres into the air
Testing of paint for lead content
Measurement of VOCs with hand-held device (although the concentration is highly variable over time, making them difficult to measure43)
Acute toxicity or asphyxiation
Respiratory illnesses
Range of chronic illnesses
Adequate protection from noise:
Minimum internal noise sources
Adequate insulation from external noise sources
NoiseVisual and aural inspection by trained assessorReduced sleep7 and psychological well-being
Potential chronic illnesses§
Adequate security, privacy and space:
Secure windows and doors
Adequate privacy from neighbours
Adequate space for personal activities such as study
Entry by intruders
Inadequate space
Inadequate privacy
Visual inspection by trained assessor
Measurement of floor area
Assaults at home
Reduced sleep and psychological well-being
Impaired educational attainment
Addresses energy efficiency:
Adequate insulation
Optimal orientation to sun
Effective, sustainable heating
Sustainable and non-polluting energy sources (eg, solar water heating)
Environmental degradation (global warming; depletion of natural resources; environmental pollution)Visual inspection of insulation in ceiling, walls, floor
All heating sources listed
Environmental well-being
Adequate sustainability of water use and waste disposal:
Water-saving technology
Collection and reuse system for rainwater
Sustainable sewage disposal
Specific area for storage of recycling
Environmental degradation (global warming; depletion of natural resources; environmental pollution)Collection of rainwater not currently noted
Visual inspection of stormwater and site drainage
Environmental well-being
  • * Radon is a significant cause of cancer in Europe44 but barely present in countries with geologies such as New Zealand.

  • Earthquake hazards not addressed in much detail in the British Housing Health and Safety Rating System, as earthquakes rare in the UK—they are covered by Hazard No 29, Structural Collapse and Falling Elements.

  • All injury hazards, with the exception of drowning hazards, are included in the English Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

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