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A framework for improving the process of building certification to enhance energy efficiency: the case of Ireland

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posted on 2023-08-30, 20:22 authored by Eymard Ahern
Since the implementation of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2021, all new buildings are required to be “Near Zero Energy Building” (NZEB). A key problem for delivering NZEB in Ireland, which generates a gap in knowledge, is that certifiers of compliance have no standardised compliance mechanism to certify compliance and they rely on other certifiers and building contractors to be accountable, competent, and responsible for design and construction compliance. This research examines the feasibility and proposes an original certification framework for certifiers to improve their compliance mechanism towards NZEB. A mixed methods approach was deployed to investigate the issues encountered by stakeholders in the design and construction of buildings to establish how certifiers of overall compliance can deliver effective compliance. A rigorous ranking and comparative analysis are undertaken to establish the most prevalent issues in the certification process that affect energy efficiency. Content analysis was used to analyse a questionnaire survey, site observations, and secondary data study, while qualitative content analysis was used to develop themes from primary data in interviews and a focus group. The results indicate that non-compliance issues stem from a lack of accountability, incompetence, and the lack of expertise by building contractors, building owners, and certifiers of building regulations compliance. This led to investigating how improvements could be made to the certification of the compliance process. The triangulation of quantitative and qualitative research methods provided the basis for formulating the compliance framework, proposed as the certifiers’ framework of Certification, Accountability, Design, and Inspection (CADI). The findings suggest that the proposed CADI framework could produce NZEB buildings by planning the certification and accountability process for the certification of compliance in the design and inspection process. This framework is intended to provide a uniform compliance mechanism for certifiers of overall compliance, and in doing so, could improve the energy performance gap. It is expected to also be useful for teaching students of the built environment in the universities of Ireland and lifelong learning professional development in the construction industry.



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