Ireland is no better off in construction standards than it was during the Celtic Tiger…
A bold statement but unfortunately true.
Let’s look at what happened and what is now happening…
Celtic Tiger Days
We as designers and builders knew no better; increased levels of insulation and airtightness standards were still a long down the line – remember that although Ireland’s first passive house was constructed in 2004 it took a long time for these concepts to be adopted into Building Regulations and mainstream thought.
And the majority of the houses constructed in this period were thrown up so quickly that they didn’t even comply with the Building Regs of the time.
Money was abundant but the exponential increase in construction meant that the standards of construction were woefully poor. I’ve written copiously on this topic; here’s one on Why Most Irish Houses don’t pass Building Regs So what we’re left with is that during the period in which Ireland had the money (albeit imaginary!) the country undertook it’s largest growth in construction and is left with woefully inadequate housing stock.
So the standards have improved greatly and the forthcoming amended Building Control Act will improve matters greatly. But with so little money around, the banks not having or it unable to give it out, self-builders still requiring houses of the same size and standard we are left with the possibility of reduced levels of insulation, poor airtightness, non compliance with Part L… Sounding familiar?
This situation applies more to extensions rather than new builds (the banks are still asking for full compliance with Planning and Building Regulations and some banks are even asking for the architect to certify that the build is on budget!
Again the architect or engineer signing off the stage payments is left in the unenviable position of either signing off incorrectly and setting themselves up for possible litigation at a future date or being the ‘bad guy’. Me, I’m getting used to and happy being cast as the ‘bad guy’.