The Near Zero Energy (NZEB) standard introduced by the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) was adopted into Irish Building Regulations in 2020. This has brought about a fundamental shift in how buildings in Ireland are constructed. Nevertheless, a large proportion of construction workers still need to be trained in how best to deliver quality NZEB buildings. To address this skills gap a suite of NZEB courses have been made available via the Education and Training Boards (ETBs). These included NZEB Fundamentals, NZEB Retrofit, NZEB Ventilation, NZEB Site Supervisor, NZEB Electrical, NZEB Plumbing, NZEB Carpentry, NZEB Bricklaying, and NZEB Plastering.

However, there is still a lack of awareness in the industry as to what training is available and why training is necessary. In order to tackle this, a one-hour online training session was developed, as part of the BUS League project, to be delivered to the staff of builders’ merchants and DIY stores. This awareness training outlines the key changes that have been made to Part L (Conservation of fuel & energy) and Part F (Ventilation) of the building regulations. It also addresses the essential considerations for delivering quality NZEB buildings including the need for teamwork in relation to maintaining the airtight layer of the building fabric. Finally, the availability of NZEB training at the ETBs was outlined and promoted.

Due to the Covid restrictions, this awareness training was delivered online to staff from Chadwicks, Ireland’ largest builders’ merchants with over fifty stores nationwide. Subsequently this training has been delivered to SIG Group who are Ireland’s largest providers of specialist building products. There are also plans to deliver this training to members of United Hardware, a buying group that represents 160 small hardware stores and Topline, a buying group for hardware, DIY and building materials. Chadwicks & SIG staff responded positively to the training they received and a number in each cohort have gone on to do further NZEB training.