How-to guide: The Living Pā case study

Who is this guide for?

This is a brief overview for those who are interested in more information on the topics raised in the video and case study on the Living Pā at Te Herenga Waka Marae, Victoria University of Wellington.

Incorporating and sharing the values

  • Having a set of guiding values is important in any project that wants to work towards specific goals. You may want to incorporate te ao Māori principles into your build, as this project does. Alternatively, you may have other values that you want those working on the project to respect.
  • Make sure everyone knows why you are doing what you are doing and understands their role. If you bring your values and principles into the centre of decision making, this provides a solid foundation to stand on when challenges arise and come back to when things become unclear.
  • Assign a project team member, or bring in an external resource, to uphold and become the caretaker of these values. It’s easy to get side-tracked, or overtaken by events, but incorporating core principles into every decision, means that you are much more likely to achieve your goals.
  • Use inductions, design and project planning and job-site meetings to share and emphasise what you want to achieve from the project. Talk to people, explain what you are doing, make sure everyone on the project feels part of the team, and understand their role.

Living Building Challenge

  • Achieving the level of sustainability expected by the Living Building Challenge(external link) is not easy, although more projects are being undertaken in Aotearoa and globally which you may be able to learn from.
  • The Living Building Challenge is not business as usual with an extra consultant, it is a culture of building for long-term change for all involved in the project. For the project to be successful, it requires continued advocacy, from materials suppliers, relationships, and clients through to contractors. All parts of the supply and value chain have a part to play.
  • There are ways you may be able to incorporate some of the Living Building Challenge principles into your project. For example, asking for products which are not on the LBC’s Red List of “worst in class” materials and encouraging suppliers to stock less damaging products and materials.
  • Start with the end in mind, including integrating carbon reduction, building above code, and the use of environmentally “good” materials as early as possible. It is more difficult to start looking at sustainability halfway through the project.
  • Being aware of the impact of your work is a definite starting point. For example, you could focus on one or more of the following:
    • Reducing waste to landfill through resource sorting, storing materials correctly, and asking suppliers for reduced packaging
    • Reusing and recycling any demolition materials
    • Reducing carbon in the build and working towards a high-performance build
    • Capturing and recycling water
    • Thinking about equity, and the occupants of the building
    • Incorporating renewable energy and/or working towards a zero energy (passive) build.