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Category: Construction (Page 2 of 14)

Time to Design and Plan

This post is written as we experience the Great Lockdown – this is nothing ever experienced in the history of humanity as we try to stop the already 155,000 deaths worldwide caused by this new virus and disease.

Our kids have been out of school and locked at home for 5 weeks. We have been forced to work from home for the last 3 weeks. We have seen the full spectrum of emotions everywhere and anywhere. Life goes on slowly as we adapt to this new way of living.

The uncertainty is big and it is surrounded by many questions that do not have answers. Uncertainty is a difficult thing to bear. But let’s focus on things that are certain:

  • New treatments and potentially a vaccine for Covid-19 are quickly developing.
  • This storm will pass – we will get through this.

This is the time to PLAN.

It is in moments like these that the best ideas are born. We are working hard in all our projects that are not yet on site.

A big part of any construction project is spent in designing and planning for construction. The graphic below shows how designing and planning can easily take more than 50% of the overall time in a typical construction project.

Typical construction project life cycle IS: 15883
(Source: ‘A Handbook for Construction Project Planning and Scheduling’ by Virendra Kumar Paul, Chaitali Basu)

If you consider the time that it takes to actually start construction work on site, you may realise that the decision to start the project should not be postponed. Most Architect’s offices have their staff working from home and are available to assist and connect with you through a variety of different platforms.

This is the time to PLAN! Let’s get the ball rolling.

Get in touch with us by email at or phone 053 916 8942.

All New Homes Will Be Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB)

Amendments to Part L of the Building Regulations (relating to the conservation of fuel and energy in dwellings) will come into effect on 01 November 2019.

All new homes will have a typical Building Energy Rating (BER) of A2 and will be 70% more energy efficient and emit 70% less carbon dioxide than 2005 performance levels.

What is a Nearly-Zero Energy Building (NZEB)?

‘Nearly zero-energy building’ means a building that has a very high energy performance. The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources, including energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby.

Are there any exceptions to the new regulations?

Yes, but only if planning approval or permission has been applied for on or before 31st October 2019 and substantial work has been completed by 31st October 2020.

“Substantial work has been completed” means that the structure of the external walls of the dwelling has been erected.

 What are the key changes to TGD L Dwellings 2019?

  • MPEPC (Maximum Permitted Energy Performance Coefficient)=0.30, in order to achieve the acceptable primary energy consumption rate.
  • MPCPC (Maximum Permitted Carbon Performance Coefficient)=0.35, to demonstrate that an acceptable CO2 emission rate has been achieved.
  • Where a dwelling undergoes major renovation, the energy performance of the whole dwelling should be improved to Cost Optimal level insofar as this is technically, functionally and economically feasible.
  • Introduction of a Renewable Energy Ratio (RER) of 20%.
  • Reduction of air permeability backstop from 7m3 /hr/m2 to 5m3 /hr/m2.
  • Table 1- Reduction of wall and floor backstop U-Value from 0.21W/m2K to 0.18 W/m2K.
  • Table 1- Reduction of window backstop U-Value from 1.6 W/m2K to 1.4 W/m2K.
  • Inclusion of guidance to avoid overheating in dwellings.
  • Par – removal of variation of U-Value with percentage glazing.
  • Introduction of calculation of Ru value for corridors in apartments.

How can compliance be achieved?

The correct specifications need to be prepared by your Architect to your specific project. Compliance is then demonstrated using the DEAP (Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure) software.

Below is an example prepared by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for a semi-detached dwelling with 126 sq.m. and with heat pump for space heating and continuous mechanical extract ventilation.

NZEB example specification
Semi-detached dwelling with 126 sq.m. and with heat pump for space heating and continuous mechanical extract ventilation

A nearly zero energy buildings (NZEB) future – Minister English reminds construction sector to be prepared for new building regulations on energy efficiency

What’s All the Fuss About the Revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

Overview of Key Changes to TGD L – Dwellings 2019

Construction Costs in Ireland 2019

For the last 10 years we have been sharing useful information to guide you on the costs for your construction project in Ireland.

Calculating the construction costs for your project is not an easy task. Every year we publish some guidelines and average prices to help you getting an approximate figure.

You can check our other articles in this series here.

The big news this year is the publication of the Building/Construction Cost Guidelines 2019 by the RIAI. This was long due an update and it provides a good overview of the current construction costs.

Construction in Ireland continues to boom, with all sectors showing significant growth.

Tender prices are still increasing in 2019, with construction inflation levels running well ahead of general inflation rates. This is fuelled by increased activity, pressure on wage rates, increases in material prices and regulatory changes.


Linesight’s reported that this year prices will be back to where they were at the peak of the boom.


Linesight’s research shows that, on average, tender prices rose by approximately 7.5% during 2018 while construction input costs rose on average by 3.5%. Due to high ongoing demand this level of increase is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

During 2019 Linesight  predicts that tender prices will increase by 6.5% on average. Their report emphasises the importance of budgeting for future construction inflation when evaluating proposed construction projects.

The rate of increase is not the same around the country – construction prices in the Greater Dublin Area and other major urban centres are increasing at a faster rate than provincial locations.


Average Irish Construction Prices 2019

To provide clients with guidance on building costs, the RIAI (The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland) has compiled the Building/Construction Cost Guidelines 2019. The information contained in this document is for guidance only using average costs for the building types as set out, current at April 2019.

The tables below are a summary of the RIAI Cost Guidelines 2019. The Guidelines highlight a number of exclusions and conditions and the summary below should be read in conjunction with the full document. The document can be downloaded here.  

(Click images to enlarge)


Isabel Barros Architects Wexford


The table below shows the average construction costs as generated by Linesight’s Cost Database and sets out typical building construction costs:

(Click image to enlarge)

Isabel Barros Architects Wexford

Isabel Barros Architects Wexford

Average Irish Construction Costs 2019. Source: Linesight



Turner & Townsend‘s annual construction cost survey also provides an overview of construction costs in Ireland:

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Isabel Barros Architects Wexford

International building costs per m2 of internal area, in 2019. Source: Turner & Townsend

Isabel Barros Architects Wexford

Percentage change based on last year’s Turner & Townsend International building costs per m2 (Available here:



Labour Rates and Construction Materials Prices

Turner & Townsend‘s annual construction cost survey provides labour costs and also the prices for some materials.

(Click image to enlarge)

Isabel Barros Architects Wexford

Labour and Materials Prices, 2019. Source: Turner & Townsend



The latest monthly data from CSO recorded that building and construction materials prices showed a decrease of 0.7% in July 2019. The annual percentage change showed a decrease of 5.9% in the year to July 2019. (Price Index July 2019: 94.1; Price Index June 2018: 100).


Isabel Barros Architects Wexford


The most notable yearly changes were increases in Sand and gravel (+5.9%), Cement (+5.7%),  Ready mixed mortar and concrete (+4.9%) and Timbers (+3.2%-7.9%) while there were decreases in Glass (-18.5%), Stone (-2.6%), and Bituminous emulsions (-1.9%).


Guide to Rebuilding Costs in Ireland

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) provides a House Rebuilding Cost Calculator here. This calculator can be used as a guide to give you a minimum base cost for your construction project.

Isabel Barros Architects Wexford

Table of Rebuilding Costs September 2018. Source: Society of Chartered Surveyors.


SCSI House Delivery Cost Calculator Tool

SCSI have developed a useful online calculator for developers to perform an analysis tailored to their own developments.

Private/individual users should use this calculator cautiously. Professional fees, for example, will be considerable higher for private developments than they are for developer built schemes where the level of repetition is often high.

SCSI highlights that the actual construction costs or hard costs made up less than half of the total costs. The online calculator allows users to adjust each elemental component of both the hard and soft costs for themselves.


Typical Exclusions

There are a number of other expenses that you should also consider when estimating your project. See some of the exclusions that may apply to your project here.

Architect’s fees will vary based on a number of factors ranging from size and complexity to level of the service required. These two articles provide some guidelines:

Additionally, you may also need to allow for:

  • Design Certifier Fees
  • Assigned Certifier fees

Check out our other articles in this series

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