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Wednesday 21 August 2019

Building costs rise over rules on energy

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Shawn Pogatchnik

Construction costs are forecast to rise 6.3pc this year as new energy efficiency standards increase demand for specialist workers and materials, according to an industry report.

Yesterday's forecast by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) shows that costs already have risen 3.4pc nationally in the first six months of the year and are expected to rise a further 2.9pc by year's end as developers compete for specialist materials and expertise.

"Higher demand for the latest low energy-use installations is having an inflationary effect on prices," the SCSI said.

SCSI director general Áine Myler said the EU-approved Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) standard is driving demand for scarce energy- efficiency skills.

She said new developments "require specialist knowledge so surveyors are further upskilling to help manage the costs on projects and bring them to construction as quickly as possible".

The standard, which promotes on-site renewable energy sources, requires all newly built commercial structures to meet stricter energy-use targets by December 2020. The standard, already enforced in buildings acquired by public bodies, seeks to cut the carbon footprint of commercial buildings by 80pc and residential buildings by 25pc.

The SCSI said commercial projects designed before the enactment of the NZEB standard were being redesigned, driving up costs.

Some vendors also were seeking to "future proof" developments by making them more energy-efficient than current requirements.

Such developers, it said, "are willing to stomach increased construction costs for the prospect of future savings".

Irish Independent

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