First of all, I’d like to say that I’m a massive believer in the Passivehaus model; I’ve gone through the PHPP course and I’m hoping to complete a certified Passivehaus later next year. So this blog post isn’t intended to belittle the great work done by the Passive House Institute or the training academies throughout the world.
It’s just that I’m a little concerned that care should be taken by the general public when employing someone with the qualification offered by the Passive House Institute (Certified Passive House Designer). I appreciate that Passive Houses can take many forms and it’s great to have a recognised qualification in the subject but being able to construct a house to the Passive House requirements may not result in a great building. Obviously the building will have incredibly low heating bills but where is the joy, the spirit, the architecture ?
If we’re not careful the result will be a succession of boxy, houses, designed by people with no formal architectural training that are admittedly highly insulated and airtight !
If you look at the prescribed professions that can register on the Passive House Designer course (below), would you honestly want your house designed by a bricklayer ?
Timber construction engineer
Engineer for environmental protection in the building industry.
What I’m saying therefore is to be careful when choosing someone to design and construct your biggest asset – your house. The most important person to employ is a good architect; if he/she is a certified Passive House Designer then that’s brilliant but if not you should be looking at appointing someone acquainted with the Passive House requirements as part of your team.
The gripe I suppose is that I’m now living in a country (Ireland) where the Architect profession has been so emasculated that there is now an outcry over the technical assessment required by people wanting to included on the Architects register that have nil formal architectural training. And if we’re not careful the architectural profession will be hit again by ‘Passive House Designers’ in the same way as other ‘house designers’ that have no formal architectural qualifications or training. See the link here about why it’s essential to oppose the John O’Donoghue Bill that wants to remove the technical assessment ENTIRELY !
I’m not even going to start on the lack of government assistance given to the self-employed that are currently struggling with the mess Ireland is in compared to the official unemployed that get their Passive House training course paid for in full (incidentally 120 possible, additional Certified Passive House Designers could be qualified in Ireland by the end of this year).