10/02/2004

Amendments to building regulations emphasise energy efficiency

The forthcoming changes to Northern Ireland’s building regulations for 2005, which aim to enhance the conservation of fuel and power, have been outlined by NIO Minister Ian Pearson today.

The government’s Energy White Paper (EWP), published in February 2003, set out goals and targets for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide by 60% by 2050. It is anticipated that half of the reduction will be achieved through greater energy efficiency.

The White Paper follows the publication of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which will play a vital role in delivering the White Paper’s energy efficiency objectives. It also has far-reaching implications for energy managers and for the owners, operators and developers of all buildings, both domestic and non-domestic, in terms of complying with updates to Part F of the Building Regulations.

The amendments to Part F will be made in two stages, at which point Northern Ireland will be in line with England and Wales. New regulations relating to the installation of high-efficiency boilers in domestic buildings will come into effect from March 2005, followed by a further amendment to significantly update the requirements relating to the thermal efficiency of buildings in December 2005.

A 13-week public consultation which will seek views on both sets of proposals will begin at the end of August 2004.

Mr Pearson said: "Given the far-reaching nature of the impending changes, I am anxious that the construction industry in Northern Ireland and its suppliers have early notice to allow them to begin considering how they will integrate the changes into building practices and design methodology."

An explanatory paper, which sets out the background to the proposed amendment to Part F and explains in detail the scope of the anticipated changes, is available online at www.dfpni.gov.uk/buildingregulations

Over the next few of weeks, copies of the explanatory paper will be widely distributed to all sections of the construction industry. In addition, officials will be arranging for it to be discussed at future interface meetings with the industry and will be available to discuss specific items of concern. Implementing these complex provisions within the tight timetable is going to be challenging and it is important that we move forward together, Mr Pearson concluded.

(gmcg)

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