There is no doubt in the last few months the race to achieve net-zero emissions has been on many people’s minds and hit the headlines. It seems there have been some announcements from the UK government that have provided perhaps more questions than answers on a clear strategy. With COP26 also taking place recently in Scotland, the topic of net zero has been at the centre of public conversations.

How are the NI Building Regulations changing?

For those working within the construction industry, we are more and more aware of the need to build more sustainably and create greener homes for a healthier life and planet. Sadly, Northern Ireland does not have a strategy to achieve this.

We have seen an initial delay to bringing about much-needed changes but eventually some moves have been made to enhance building regulations in Northern Ireland. For example, the law changed last year to require that all new housing must be built as nearly-zero energy buildings (nZEB), which will require changes to building regulations.

These proposed changes are designed to be interim steps to raise energy efficiency standards for new builds and new minimum insulation values. In addition, the changes will encourage increased use of renewables on site and in energy production. To find out more about what these changes mean for the construction industry, read the Northern Builder article, ‘It’s time to zero in on nZEB’.

Have your say: Building Regulations consultation

 After much lobbying on this subject by FMB NI, we are pleased that the Department of Finance is now consulting on the proposed changes to Part F (conservation fuel and power) of the Building Regulations. There are three options being considered, which are: 

  • Option 1: do nothing
  • Option 2: a 25% betterment of the current emission targets for all new dwellings and a 15% betterment for new buildings other than dwellings; and
  • Option 3: a 40% betterment for new houses, and 25% for new flats and 15% for new buildings other than dwellings

All FMB NI members that are involved in house building are encouraged to contribute to the consultation process. More information and an opportunity to respond to the consultation by 19 December 2021 is available on the Department of Finance website

FMB NI and VELUX UK host roundtable

FMB NI along with VELUX UK hosted an online roundtable discussion in late November 2021, which focused on the challenges this consultation raises. The discussion addressed the following questions:

  • What time scale works best?
  • What skills will be needed by building contractors to deliver these standards?
  • What help and training can be offered to building companies?
  • How will this process be managed and accessed? 

The full recorded roundtable discussion can be viewed online or below and we encourage all members to watch it. Going forward we will continue to work for all our members in Northern Ireland and the many SMES who continue to put quality to the fore in their home building.

Any questions?

Contact Gavin McGuire, Director FMB Northern Ireland on 07341 869 080 or send us an email.

Email Gavin McGuire


Gavin McGuire

Gavin McGuire

Director, FMB Northern Ireland, Federation of Master Builders