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Award Wining Architects based in Monkstown, Co.Dublin and working in all surrounding counties.

Specialising in sensitive contemporary design for domestic extensions, renovations, new-build houses and interior design.  We also design and build custom joinery.

RIAI registered architects, project managers & interior designers

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Filtering by Category: Regulations

NZEB - Nearly Zero Energy Buildings in Ireland

Paul Mulhern

Today we've been at the nZEB-15 National Retrofit Conference at Dublin Institute of Technology listening to the latest research, developments and education in this energy retrofit technology for Irish buildings.

Introduction video - Near Zero Energy Buildings

Some Information on Nearly Zero Energy Buildings standards in Ireland:

From January, 1st 2019 every new public building will have to be designed to nearly zero energy building standards. Also, all other new buildings will have to comply with the new nearly zero energy buildings standards from January, 1st 2021. This arises from the Recast European Performance of Buildings Directive 2010/30/EU.

For a typical dwelling this will equate to 45 kWh/m2/annum and an Energy Performance Coefficient (EPC) and Carbon Performance Coefficient (CPC) of 0.302 and 0.305 in accordance with the common general framework set out in Annex I of Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings (Recast). This takes account of the energy load for space heating, water heating, fixed lighting and ventilation. A very significant proportion of which will be covered from renewable energy sources produced on-site or nearby. (Ref: Towards Nearly Zero Energy Buildings in Ireland – Planning for 2020 and beyond

 The proposed improvement from current building  standards  to  an intermediate and final NZEB target for buildings other than dwellings are:

Targets will be further refined when developing new the technical performance standard TGD L – Buildings other than Dwellings. (Source: Towards NZEB in Ireland- Planning for 2020 and beyond)

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)

The EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD - 2002/91/EC) is the main European legislative instrument for improving the energy efficiency of Europe's building stock. Under the Directive, the following obligations were introduced in all Member States:

  • A methodology to calculate and rate the integrated energy performance of buildings
  • A system of energy certification for new and existing buildings, with display requirements for public buildings
  • Regular inspections of heating and air-conditioning systems
  • Minimum energy performance standards for new buildings and for existing buildings that undergo major renovation with a useful floor area over 1000m2

The EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) was transposed into Irish Law from 2006 onwards.

From 2013, the EPBD was superseded by the Recast EPBD and S.I. No 666 of 2006 was superseded by S.I. 243 of 2012.  See more at:

Changes in the Building Regulations in Ireland

Building Regulations were first introduced in Ireland in 1976 in Draft form and revised draft Regulations were introduced in 1981. The Building Regulations were formally revised in 1991, 1997, 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2011.

There have been significant step changes in the Irish Building Regulations since 2005. Technical Guidance Document Part L (TGD L), of the 2008 Regulations required a 40% reduction in primary energy use compared to a reference dwelling specified in the TGD Part L 2005 Regulations. TGD L of the 2011 Regulations require a 60% reduction in the primary energy us. The gradual improvements leading to NZEB standards for dwellings are summarised in the table below. 


*These energy values are for a typical two storey semi-detached house.

Information from NZEB Open Doors Ireland.

New Building Control Regulations to be loosened - for some.

Paul Mulhern

Our Building Control (Amendment) Regulations were only implemented in 2014. But now it seems that some government ministers want to roll back the standards for some buildings:

Review of Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. 9 of 2014

Mr. Paudie Coffey, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, together with Minister Alan Kelly, T.D., today announced a review of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 9 of 2014), which will include an examination of the cost burden involved for one-off houses, including self-build, and extensions to existing dwellings.

The scope and objectives of the review are as follows:

(a) To review the operation of S.I. No. 9 of 2014 in consultation with industry and local authority stakeholders and members of the public,

(b) To consider in particular the impact of S.I. No. 9 of 2014 on single dwellings and extensions to existing dwellings having regard to specific concerns which have been raised in relation to the cost burden of the regulations and the level of certification required for this sector,

(c) To consider more generally the impact of S.I. No. 9 of 2014 on owners, occupiers and users of buildings have regard to the statutory purposes for which building regulations may be made (i.e. public safety, accessibility, energy efficiency, efficient use of resources and good building practice),

(d) To make recommendations that will strengthen and improve the arrangements in place for the control of building activity in keeping with the principles of good and fair administration,

(e) To report with recommendations to the Minister of State as soon as possible, but in any event no later than 30 June 2015.

Frank McDonald in the Irish Times comments:  "It’s important to remember the stated purpose of the amended building regulations introduced last year was to ensure there would be no repeat of the “widespread failures” during the boom years, for which Priory Hall became the metaphor.  

As the consultation paper notes, “common failures” associated with “stand-alone dwellings” include inadequate provision of drainage and sewage treatment, poor insulation and energy performance and “poor understanding, application of good building practice”. Although the first of these failures was addressed – under duress by the European Court of Justice – by introducing an inspection regime for septic tanks (of which we now have about half-a-million), the reality is very few such inspections are actually carried out".  (Link)

Public Consultation Information

New single dwellings (including self-build) and extensions to existing dwellings (PDF)

An owner’s guide to the Irish Building Control Regulations

Paul Mulhern

This informative guide has been produced by the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland.

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulation 2014 now provide for a much more intensive system of monitoring and control of certain building or works from March 1st 2014. The new legislation requires mandatory design certification, lodgement of plans and particulars, builders supervision and certification, mandatory inspection by an appointed Assigned Certifier with inter-reliance on ancillary certification by key parties involved in the building process. This will affect all buildings and works requiring a Fire Safety Certificate, new dwellings and extensions to dwellings greater than 40 m2. 

The new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations were introduced in order to improve evidence of compliance with building standards in the construction industry. The Building Owner is ultimately responsible for ensuring that buildings and/or works are designed by competent Designers, and are overseen by Assigned Certifiers such as an architect and supervised by competent Builders.

The building owner needs to ensure that they engage the services of a competent architect, a competent Builder and Assigned Certifier.

Summary of Building Owner’s Obligations under The Building Control Amendment Regulations 2014 (Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland - RIAI - Guidance Note)

  1. Appoint, for almost relevant building works starting from March 2014 onward, a Design Certifier and an Assigned Certifier as well as a competent Builder.
  2. Give a written undertaking on a statutory form to the Building Control Authority to appoint a competent Design Team to design the new building in accordance the Building Regulations.
  3. Give a written undertaking on a statutory form to the Building Control Authority to appoint a competent Builder to construct the new building in accordance the Building Regulations.
  4. Give a written undertaking on a statutory form to the Building Control Authority to appoint a competent Assigned Certifier who will prepare an Inspection Plan, inspect and certify, with the Builder, that the new building, when complete, is built in accordance the Building Regulations.

RICS owner’s guide to the Irish Building Control Regulations

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