Design-and-build contracts have become increasingly common in construction, a trend that must be reversed in light of the Grenfell Tower fire if we are to deliver safe and high quality buildings, says quantity surveyor Michael McCarthy.
With Ireland’s housing crisis continuing to escalate, government policies may be further exacerbating the problem, argues Mel Reynolds.
Investigations may eventually confirm the specifics of how the fire at the West London tower block spread so catastrophically on the night of 14 June, but the government and construction industry faces much deeper questions about whether a culture of deregulation, cost-cutting and buck-passing turned what should have been a small, inconsequential fire into a national tragedy.
After a litany of dangerous and high profile building failures in Ireland, many in the country’s building industry looked longingly across the Irish Sea and held up the UK as an example of how to do building control properly. But following a series of embarrassing defects with UK construction projects, it’s clear the British system is far from perfect. So is either of these building control systems properly equipped to deliver safe, healthy and well-constructed buildings?
Ten years ago Brussels had some of the most energy inefficient building stock in Europe — now it boasts a groundbreaking policy that means all new buildings in the region must be passive. How did the city do it?
The attempts to derail Dublin City Council’s proposed ‘passive house or equivalent’ planning requirement are bad news in the increasingly difficult fight to mitigate against and adapt to climate change – they risk being complicit in new buildings in the city breaching European law.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s passive house policy also leaves the door open for alternative approaches, provided their equivalence can be demonstrated. But what does this mean?
A cross sectoral group of organisations from government, local authorities, industry and charities met on 25 May to develop an ambitious strategy to improve the quality of the Irish existing housing stock
Unelected officials in Dublin City Council have rejected the decision by city councillors to make the passive house standard or equivalent energy performance standards a mandatory planning condition for all new buildings in the city. The council also included a statement to protect the route of the controversial Eastern Bypass, in spite of councillors voting against it.
Dublin is on the verge of taking a giant leap forward for construction, with two major authorities in the region set to make the passive house standard mandatory for new buildings. Can Ireland’s mainstream building sector rise to this challenge, and what can it learn from experience of big passive house projects across the water in the UK?
Cork City Council has added cellulose to its list of approved insulation products for its social housing attic upgrades.
All new buildings in south-east Dublin must be built to the passive house standard or demonstrably equivalent levels, in a move that may lead to the construction of upwards of 20,000 passive houses by 2022.
The Association for the Conservation of Energy (Ace) has described as “scandalous” the Chancellor’s announcement of a 42% cut in the help available to households living in “dangerously” cold homes.
Due to the ill-considered productivity of the house building industry towards the tail end of the economic boom, Ireland is now saddled with hundreds of thousands of vacant homes in various states of completion. Structural engineer Sadhbh Ní Hógáin, currently writing her thesis for a masters architectural degree in advanced environmental and energy studies at the Centre for Alternative Technology, looks at the options Ireland has to address the problem.
A framework for strategic sustainability is essential if we’re serious about greening the Irish built environment.
According to green architect Pat Barry, we should look no further than The Natural Step.
A sustainable energy project in north Tipperary has the potential to create a pioneering green community – buildings are getting energy makeovers, grants are available for renewables and the ecovillage at Cloughjordan is under construction. But getting householders in the area to go green is still proving a hard sell, as Lenny Antonelli reports
In an ideal world every occupied building in Ireland would be energy upgraded to the highest standard, tapping into numerous benefits for the building occupant, the construction industry and society as a whole. Construct Ireland is calling for the introduction of pay as you save, a repayment model which offers the potential of making significant energy upgrade investments achievable in the vast majority of Irish buildings, as Jeff Colley reveals.
Ireland has been waiting for a green procurement plan in the public sector for two years. Jason Walsh looks at what the plan should include and why it is needed, now more than ever, and with sustainable building at its core.
The government recently announced a fund of e100 million for energy upgrading Irish houses in 2009, to be divided equally between low income and middle income earners. Focusing on the latter, Jason Walsh looks at the details of the Home Energy Saving scheme and speaks to key figures in the industry to get their views on the ingredients needed to make the scheme a success
Energy Minister Eamon Ryan recently announced a e9 million fund to be administered by SEI for sustainable housing including, crucially, micro-generation of renewable electricity. Jason Walsh talked to SEI and industry figures to examine the scheme’s future.
The unprecedented development seen in Ireland in the Celtic Tiger years was fueled by the availability of cheap, abundant fossil energy. As the boom ends, the state is attempting to boost the economy with investment in larger than ever infrastructural projects which will not benefit many of the tax payers who are funding them, and crucially don’t recognize the extent to which peak oil production will affect their viability, as Richard Douthwaite reveals.
Newly elected Green Party Ministers John Gormley & Eamon Ryan talk to Construct Ireland about their vision for a sustainable future.
Public private partnership schemes have come to dominate many aspects of Irish infrastructural development, from toll roads to urban regeneration schemes. Jason Walsh asks if they amount to privatisation by stealth and whether they come at too high a social and environmental cost.
If one was to draw a conclusion on how seriously sustainability is being taken at government level using the number of occurrences of the word "sustainable" in policy documents, housing guidelines and speeches from Ministers, it would come across that Ireland's on a sound sustainable footing.
Jeff Colley spoke to Commissioner Piebalgs about key issues affecting Ireland’s energy future and the importance of local initiatives such as Fingal County Council’s groundbreaking introduction of sustainable building requirements
The need to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption from buildings has never been more immediate. There is a growing consensus that we must reduce our dependence on rapidly depleting, carbon intensive fossil fuels, which, amongst other things, will involve overhauling how buildings are designed, constructed and used.