What is QualiBuild?
QualiBuild is an EU funded BUILD UP Skills project which hopes to address Ireland’s current knowledge gap in the construction industry in relation to building quality, energy efficient buildings.The aim of the project is to add transparency to the building sector and to improve standards. It will achieve this by providing training for those employed in this sector and a register for those who want to employ an approved level of craft worker. QualiBuild will provide two training courses: the pilot ‘Foundation Energy Skills’ and ‘Train the Trainers’ programmes will focus on teaching skills that will ensure that new construction and retrofitting work is of high quality and energy efficient. QuailBuild will also support a Quality Building campaign to the industry and to the general consumer.
Why is it important?
New building regulations set very strict requirements for energy efficiency of buildings. These will radically change the way that we build. Everyone involved with the building industry, from craft workers on site to architects and engineers and property professionals, needs to understand their role in properly complying with these new regulations.
Energy use in buildings accounts for over 40% of total final energy consumption in Ireland. At a national policy level, Ireland has committed to reducing its total energy consumption by 20% by the year 2020. As a pathway to meeting this target, building regulations and standards have been amended significantly since 2002, establishing a new approach to construction and renovation to prescribed energy performance standards.
What does this mean to you? We all live and work in buildings and we want those buildings to be comfortable, healthy and built and retrofitted with good attention to detail. Additionally, the energy efficient design and construction of buildings means that as the building will be future proofed – delivering good energy performance as energy prices rise and energy sources change. Whether you are building owner, builder, trainer, or just a building user, we all need to join together to raise the standard of building in Ireland and to understand that the good energy performance of building is important to our future.
Who should take a Foundation Energy Skills course?
The Foundation Energy Skills course is intended for all those who work on site, building operatives, craft workers and site managers. A fundamental part of the construction of an energy efficient building is making sure all those working on the project know what consequences their actions and attitudes have on the quality of the build.
But I have been working as a tradesman for 20 years, what can I learn? Surely it is just the Architect or foreman who needs to know this.
The impact of the new building regulations mean that the way we build is now changing radically. The way we construct walls, fit windows, bring plumbing through the building, fit our electrics also has to change radically. Achieving the goal of an energy efficient building, is no longer someone else’s job. It is the job of everyone on the site. Just one untrained trade worker on site can undo the work of everyone. No amount of inspections by building control officers, architects, engineers or foreman can ensure quality of construction
What will I learn through the Foundation Energy Skills programme?
Some of the key steps for achieving energy efficient building have to do with small details. We have all heard how important insulation is order to save energy. However unless this is correctly fitted it does not work as intended. Even small gaps of a couple of millimetres in insulation can have a big effect.
Airtight construction also has a very big effect on energy efficiency. In order to achieve airtightness every trade on site needs to understand their role in achieving an airtight construction, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, window fitters, ventilation installers, block layers etc. Every single trade now has a role in ensuring the building is energy efficient and they need to understand this. Even tiny gaps left at junctions between windows and walls, or gaps around pipes entering the building allow cold air and draught to leak into the building.
Properly designed ventilation is critical to the health of both the building and its occupants and you will learn the difference between designed ventilation and unintended draughty construction.