What renovation rules mean for the construction industry

The construction industry needs to respond to changes in regulations by upskilling and developing the workforce, Orla Coyle of the SEAI will tell the CIF Construction Management Summit

7th March, 2019
Orla Coyle

What's your name?

Orla Coyle

What position do you hold?

Programme manager for Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) and high performance retrofit with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

My role involves working with my colleagues in the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and the SEAI in developing policy and programmes to encourage and develop the NZEB and high performance retrofit in our building stock. This leads to working closely with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) on the implementation of NZEB through the building regulations and developing the methodologies for demonstrating compliance with the regulations.

What is your professional background?

I am a Chartered Engineer who has 20 years’ experience working in the construction sector both in Ireland and Australia. Prior to joining SEAI two years ago I worked as a consultant involved in the environmental, energy and sustainable assessment of both new and existing buildings.

Tell me about yourself away from work?

I have two boys who have inherited my love of sport, so my weekends are no longer spent playing sport but ferrying kids and cheering from the sidelines!

You are speaking at the 2019 CIF Construction Management Summit. What are you speaking about?

I will be discussing NZEB and major renovation and what it means to the construction industry.

What challenges do you see for leaders in the construction sector?

Skills shortages. As our regulations develop, the requirements on our design teams, contractors and manufacturers will change. We need to ensure that the industry responds to these changes in upskilling and developing the workforce. Not only do we have a new build housing requirement, we also have a long-term renovation requirement under EU legislation in order to reduce the carbon emissions from our existing building stock. SEAI programmes such as the deep retrofit and the heat pump grants allow us to upskill the market and take the learnings to feed into policy and standards going forward.

Where would you like to see the industry in 10 years’ time?

That our building stock (both new and existing) is moving toward decarbonisation but in a holistic manner; that we are looking at solutions that not only tick a box but that protect our building users in terms of operational energy performance and internal environmental quality, and address issues such as carbon in materials and water usage.

Orla Coyle is speaking at the 2019 Construction Management Summit on March 29th in Croke Park. See www.constructionsummit.ie for details.

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