The cost of building a house is set to rise further with the introduction of new energy regulations, says Build18 expert Bill Steele.

Proposals for Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) will see a significant hike in construction costs due to increased energy efficiency obligations, says the Letterkenny-based partner in Cullinane Steele Architects.

The Build18 team member says the proposed changes in requirements may influence those planning on building new a home to “pick up the pace” on their project.

He explained: “Over the past number of years, Building Regulations have featured significant step changes in the reduction of the primary energy use in dwellings.

Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB)

“Essentially, under NZEB it means that every new dwelling will be constructed to an A2 BER rating standard of 45 kWh/m²/annum. Achieving such a rating doesn’t come cheap.

“In the long run, the reduction in energy consumption and savings to homeowners will be substantial. However, the up-front construction costs will be much higher than they are today in a like-for-like building project.

“In order to meet the regulations, the construction standards of a dwelling will be notably higher. In particular, this means significantly increased insulation levels, as backstop elemental u-values can no longer be relied upon. Also, much improved air tightness levels, will lead to mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) whole-house ventilation systems becoming the norm.

“As for the oil boiler – forget it. A much more efficient primary heat source will be needed.”

Bill Steele is one of Build18’s team of experts. Build18, supported by AIB, is a free expo for anyone building, renovating, extending, buying or selling a property in Donegal.

The event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25 in Newtowncunningham Business Park. For full details log on to