Construction Skills Need Greater Recognition in Government’s New Energy Bill

Posted on January 19, 2011 by Builder Bob There have been 0 comments

Focussing the ‘Green Deal’

The Government’s Green Deal programme needs to focus more on skills if it is truly to improve energy efficiency in the UK’s existing housing stock, argues Mark Farrar, Chief Executive of CITB-Construction Skills,

Upskilling SME’s

Welcoming Government's efforts to create use the 'Green Deal' to create new energy-efficiency markets, and despite SMEs already well skilled in low carbon work and able to tap into these, he claims that there “… are thousands more who currently don't have the skills or knowledge to effectively take on this type of activity”.

‘Cut the Carbon’

Referring to the 'Cut the Carbon' campaign that Construction Skills, the Federation of Master Builders and the National Specialist Contractors Council are currently running to raise awareness of these issues amongst SMEs, he points out that it is just as important for initiatives such as the Green Deal to fully address skills and training.  In his view “If it fails to do so, we simply will not have the people with the right skills to deliver the 'greener' construction and built environment sector now required by upcoming legislation and regulation."

Research on Builders

Research commissioned by CITB-Construction Skills recently highlighted the fact that  3 out of 10 builders still have a 'poor understanding' of the Low Carbon agenda, even though they - through the Green Deal from 2012 - will be expected to install appropriate products.  Proper accreditation of builders is also a continuing concern, especially since the scheme is intended to ensure that the public are protected against rogue traders' and 'cowboy builder' 'firms who undermine the industries’ reputation.

Self-Builders Beware

When appointing designers, manufacturers, suppliers and craft trades, Self Builders should bear in mind the recent change in the Building Regulations and the need for EPC’s.  The new Building Regs require at least a 25% improvement in energy efficiency and carbon emission reductions over the previous regulations. Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s) demand not only full Standard Assessment Performance (SAP) calculations that show Target Emission Rates (TER’s), but also actual Dwelling Emission Rates (DER’s) which evidence that the TER has been achieved, before the property can be occupied.

Interrelating Design, Specify, Manufacture & Build

Readers will now recognise the critical interrelationship between the way in which a building is designed and specified to achieve specific Target Emission Rates with the way its components, e.g. timber frame, insulation, airtightness, avoidance of cold bridging, joists, trusses, etc. are manufactured and then assembled and installed on site by craft trades. 

Government Concern should be Self Build Concern

Government concern indicates that, in many instances, these branches of the construction industry are ill prepared to satisfactorily deliver acceptable buildings. Accordingly, they are encouraging much greater integration of professional and craft competences as an early step toward achieving this. Anyone contemplating a Self Build project  will be well advised to seek providers at all levels who can display these competences.

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