We can now announce the members appointed to the Industry Advisory Group (IAG) for the HERA-led project titled “Low carbon design for a changing environment.

This HERA project which also has also received BRANZ funding support is a design framework to reduce construction waste, lifecycle embodied carbon, and to enhance the circular economy for construction materials, with a pilot for low-rise buildings. The IAG includes a range of key stakeholders, across a range of disciplines and building materials.

HERA is proud to be leading such an important project for the sector and believes this will provide a significant step forward in the design of low carbon buildings. While, initially focused on low-rise buildings, we intend to expand the scope to cover all building typologies.

BRANZ x HERA research project.

HERA has received $150,000 from BRANZ, funded by the building research levy, to support this $772,000 project. The objective is to develop a design framework to reduce construction waste, lifecycle embodied carbon, and enhance the circular economy for construction materials.


The project aims to develop:

  • a material- and typology-agnostic design guidance framework that can be used by the sector as a template for preparing design guidance to achieve the lowest embodied carbon;
  • specific guidance for design engineers in the pilot on steel, steel-concrete, steel-timber, and using the framework; and
  • identification of knowledge gaps that need further research and development to address. This will provide guidance to BRANZ on future research needs and guidance to the sector on future stages of the framework’s development so carbon reduction can expand to other areas of design.


The development of the framework and the subsequent pilot will help the construction sector to proactively respond to the impending changes being introduced by MBIE via the Building for Climate Change programme. This mahi is required because designers do not currently have the tools and guidelines available to comprehensively consider carbon reductions in building design.


Andrea Stocchero | Timber Design Society


Andy Buchanan | Timber Unlimited

Alternative for Robert Finch representing Timber Unlimited

Dr Andy Buchanan is a semi-retired structural engineer with a special interest in timber buildings. He is a Principal in PTL Structural and Fire in Christchurch, also Professor Emeritus in Civil Engineering at the University of Canterbury.

His current activities are in structural design, fire safety and seismic performance of multi-storey timber buildings. He promotes the use of mass timber buildings because of the low carbon footprint compared with other materials. He is involved in design and construction of innovative timber buildings around New Zealand, and the development of guidance for fire safety in mass timber buildings.

Andy grew up in Christchurch. He has a B.E.(Honours) degree from the University of Canterbury (1970), a Masters degree from the University of California at Berkeley (1972), and a Ph.D from the University of British Columbia, Canada (1984).


Casimir Macgregor | BRANZ

Dr Casimir MacGregor is Principal Social Scientist and Programme Leader of the Transition to a Zero Carbon Built Environment research programme at BRANZ. His research is focused enabling innovation, systems and behaviour change within the construction sector to address climate change. He has served on a number of expert advisory groups, such as the Construction Sector Accord’s Construction Sector Environment Roadmap for Action.


Charlotte Toma | SESOC


Helen Davidson | ACENZ

Helen Davidson is Chief Executive of ACE New Zealand, a member organisation that represents more than 250 engineering, consulting and professional services firms that deliver critical technology, construction, infrastructure and environmental solutions across the built and natural environments in Aotearoa.

After studying law and biomedical ethics at the University of Otago, Helen worked for 15 years across health law, professional regulation, patient safety policy and biomedical ethics, both in New Zealand and Canada. She then moved to the engineering sector, spending five years on the leadership team at Engineering New Zealand.

Helen is a passionate advocate for women in professional services and a driving force behind The Diversity Agenda, an award-winning programme to help engineering and architecture firms become more diverse and inclusive. She’s inspired to attract new talent into the professional services consulting sector, shining a light on the amazing work our professions do to build sustainable and resilient communities for everyone.

Hillary West-Reeve | Phoenix Metalman Recycling

Hilary is a New Zealand Registered Commercial Architect with 30 years experience in the construction industry, now co-owning and managing Phoenix Metalman Recycling, a nationwide recycling business. A graduate of the Sustainable Business Council’s Sustainable Leadership Programme, Vice Chair of the Sustainable Steel Council, a NZAMR board member. Hilary is currently an advisor on the NZ Green Building Council’s Expert Reference Panel for Construction & Waste/ Resource Recovery. Phoenix facilitate Aotearoa’s metals and all batteries circular economy supply chain, locally and globally; whilst also applying successful resource recovery deconstruction methodology to brownfields development sites.


Jerome Partington | Te Kahui Whaihanga NZ Institute of Architects

Jerome has an architectural and lifelong sustainability training, grounded in science, building, education and design facilitation. He’s an award winner, a lifelong learner and advocate for a thriving papatūānuku, deep green building and healthy, purposeful communities regenerating life.

His work enables nature and people to mutually sustain themselves. His experience is wide and deep as a green design advisor for civic, community, residential, healthcare, tertiary schools, commercial and infrastructure projects.

Jerome works tirelessly to steer Aotearoa, NZ toward a sustainable future – introducing Integrative Design Process (IDP) 2005 onwards, the Living Building Challenge (LBC) 2011 onwards and from 2015 Regenerative (living systems thinking) Development, learning from international leaders to work at the leading edge and share this kaupapa.

Jerome promotes IDP as a shift in thinking that motivates the team and ensures optimal outcomes for all stakeholders are easy and cost effective to achieve. He has knowledge and experience of ‘green’ and ‘ecological’ design and building to strategically inform new developments – modelling, materials, performance, technology, water and wastewater, energy, and alternative systems such as composting, solar hot water and uber efficiency. He has also delivered live build training of ‘self-builders’ in the UK as a great and fun way to build community.

His passions are:

  1. growing communities, the culture and kaitiakitanga during the design process, build stage and into the living stage (occupation);
  2. integrating community and their buildings into the natural system – so both are healthy and work together; and
  3. optimisation taking the diverse drivers of people, land and technical building systems and optimising them for cost (capex and opex), buildability and lifecycle durability, appropriate scale, and ease of use.

Katie Symons | MBIE

Katie Symons is Principal Advisor, Engineering, in MBIE’s Building System Performance Branch. She is leading the technical side of the Building for Climate Change programme’s work to reduce whole-of-life embodied carbon emissions.

Katie is a chartered professional structural engineer in New Zealand and the UK, and has over 15 years’ experience designing building structures in both countries. She has particular expertise in assessing the embodied carbon of buildings and construction materials.

Working as a consultant engineer, she developed tools and methodologies to integrate carbon assessment into the building design process. She has also undertaken research work at Cambridge University on the application of environmental life cycle assessment in construction, and is the author of a number of academic papers on the subject.


Kelly McClean | ACENZ

Alternative for Helen Davidson representing ACENZ

Kelly has a strong interest in systems design, circular economy strategies, bio-based materials and sustainable design practice. She joined the Aurecon Aotearoa Advisory team in 2022 and specialises in Circular Economy.

Kelly has innovation and sustainability project experience from a range of NZ sectors, including textiles, agriculture, manufacturing, FMCG, packaging and infrastructure. Projects have included circular strategic change implementation, life cycle assessment studies and methodology development, Environmental Product Declarations and continuous improvement quality assurance.

She has a Bachelor of Design (1st class Hons), majoring in textiles and in 2014 completed a Masters of Design as a Callaghan Innovation Fellow at Massey University’s College of Creative Arts. Kelly is also co-founder of social enterprises Reuse Aotearoa and CommonKind, and is a Life Cycle Association of NZ committee member, co-chairing the Best Practice Working Group.


Mark Roberts | Auckland Council

Mark is a Senior Waste Planning Specialist at Auckland Council. With 19 years’ experience in the field of resource efficiency and waste minimisation, his role works closely with the construction industry to design out waste, brokering the diversion of waste and developing opportunities for businesses, social enterprises, and communities.

He holds a Bachelor of Science, Master of Management and is a Churchill Memorial Fellow.


Nick Collins | NASH

Nick has been working in the residential construction sector since the 1990’s, in a variety of marketing, sales and management roles.

From 2004 to 2017 Nick was the CEO of Beacon Pathway – a consortia focused on making New Zealand homes and neighbourhoods more sustainable. Beacon’s programme focused on new and existing home performance, optimising resource use and market transformation. From 2017 to 2021 Nick was the CEO of Metals New Zealand. During this time he was involved in the reestablishment of the Sustainable Steel Council and was on the Executive of NZCIC.

Nick retired at the end of 2021 and now works part-time with NASH – the National Association for Steel-Framed Housing, facilitating NASH’s R&D programme, advocacy and providing technical support.


Nick Carman | SESOC

Alternative for Charlotte Toma representing SESOC


Ralf Kessel | Concrete NZ

Ralf has worked as a project architect for a number of Berlin based practices for around 12 years. During this time he was involved with a series of large-scale developments, apartment designs, hotel projects and institutional facilities.

As a registered New Zealand and European architect, Ralf also spent five years in Ireland, where as part of a prestigious Dublin based practice he worked on commercial and medium-rise residential projects.

Ralf’s extensive list of achievements have integrated a range of aesthetic and practical concrete applications, including precast panels, in-situ floor slabs and concrete masonry.

Ralf joined the Cement & Concrete Association of NZ in March 2009 as a Project Manager to advise and teach on architectural concrete topics, publishing solutions for the NZ Building Code, as well as compiling best practice advice for architectural concrete in residential and commercial applications.

He has recently been responsible for the development of Code of Practice for Weathertight Concrete and Concrete Masonry Construction and the Apartment Design Guide, and is also heavily involved with the delivery of weathertight and concrete masonry focused training. Ralf is also the convener of the Concrete NZ Masonry Sector Group and of the Concrete NZ Sustainability Committee.


Robert Finch | Timber Unlimited


Shawn McIssac | Te Ao Rangahau Engineering NZ

Shawn is well known in the Aotearoa New Zealand construction industry for challenging the status quo and advancing the sector forward. He is well regarded for his outspoken knowledge of building performance, energy efficiency, moisture control, combustible claddings and many other issues facing modern construction.

His expertise includes façade elements such as windows and claddings but also includes roofs, below-grade waterproofing, decks, and balconies. With his mechanical engineering background, his ability to integrate mechanical system performance with the performance of the building enclosure is unparalleled.

Using first principles concepts, incorporating thermal, air, solar and acoustic performance into his consulting work meaning buildings he works on are healthy, warm and dry and often incorporate innovative solutions to complex problems. His more than 15 year career includes 10 years of overseas experience designing enclosure systems in similar climates and seismic zones.

In 2016, Shawn moved to Aotearoa and has called Auckland home ever since. Shawn is a registered producer statement author with Auckland Council for building code clauses B1, B2, C3, E1, E2, E3, G5, G6, G7, and H1 as they pertain to the building enclosure and façade. He’s been a registered engineer in the US, Canada, Aotearoa, and Australia.

We congratulate all who have been appointed and look forward to working with them on this project.

Find out more about this BRANZ funded project

News release: HERA receives $150k of funding from BRANZ