The CSO publishes data every quarter on the numbers of domestic Building Energy Rating (BER) audits conducted. Since 2009, a BER certificate must be supplied when offering a property for sale or rent, in line with the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations.1 There are some exemptions from the requirement for certain buildings, (e.g. protected structures, places of worship, non-residential agricultural buildings), but there are no exemptions for residential buildings. A new dwelling Final BER certificate is required for any newly-built dwelling before it is occupied and a new dwelling provisional BER certificate is required for any dwelling that is not yet constructed but is offered for sale or rent off the plans.
|Final BER||New dwelling completions|
The number of new dwelling Final BER audits for new domestic dwellings in 2017 was 9,416, an increase of 58% on 2016.
Figure 4.1 above shows how the general trend in Final BER certificates issued based on the date of assessment has closely matched the trend in New Dwellings Completions over the period 2011 to Q1 2018. However, there are a number of reasons why the administrative system developed to record BER certificates is not sufficiently robust to estimate the number of new houses completed, in particular there are issues around the time lag in assessing a new dwelling for a BER certificate and compliance in certain cohorts of the housing sector.
As an MPRN, the unique identifier for an ESB connection, is required for the BER certification process it is possible to link new housing completions data to BER certificates and further analyse the BER data.
Less than half of all new housing completions (42%) could be matched using the MPRN to a New Dwelling Final BER certificate.2 Figure 4.2 illustrates that the match rate is significantly higher among counties with a large urban area which make up two-thirds of all matches as opposed to more rural counties. Three quarters of all matched records are in counties Dublin, Cork, Kildare, Wicklow and Meath and 77% of all matched records are scheme/estate dwellings as opposed to apartments (12%) or single dwellings (10%) as shown in Figure 4.3.
71% of UFHDs could be linked to a Final BER certificate as well as 46% of the reconnections can be linked to an Existing BER certificate.
More than half of all new dwellings (52%) connected to the ESB network between 2011 and Q1 2018 were not matched with a BER certificate. There was no difference in this matching rate between urban and rural areas. However, three-quarters of the unmatched ESB connections were single dwellings (75%), while 13% were scheme houses and 13% were apartments (Figure 4.4).
This analysis indicates that single houses built in rural areas do not have BER assessments completed.
The time lag between a dwelling being connected to the ESB network and the completion of the BER assessment afterwards can be investigated using the linked BER and ESB data.
Table 4.1 below shows that, for records that can be matched, the average time between ESB connection and BER assessment is 43 days, with a median lag of 17 days. The average time between ESB connection and BER publication date is 67 days, with the median lag of 26 days. However the time gap for single dwellings can stretch, on average, to a year, with the majority of those who have completed the BER assessment process taking at least four months. It is also clear, however, that some BER assessments can take a number of years to complete and it is not always a timely indicatior of housing completions.
|Table 4.1: Time between ESB connection and BER assessment/publication by dwelling type, 2011- Q1 2018|
|Date||Dwelling Type||Maximum days||Mean days||Median days|
|All dwelling types||2,337||43||17|
|All dwelling types||2,337||67||26|
Figure 4.5 shows that there have been some 17,000 New Dwelling – Provisional BERs assessed over the period 2011 - 2017. Provisional BER certificates are only required when a building is being sold off the plans and it is required by regulation, that the Provsional certificate is ocnverted to a Final certificate prior to the conclusion of any transaction, or occupation of the dwelling. However just over 5,000 of the Provisional certs lodged since 2011 have been converted to New Dwelling Final BER certificates in this period.
|New Provisionals||Provisional to Final|
When a Provisional BER is converted, there can be a considerable time lag in the Final BER certificate assessment, with the median delay being approximately six months. This lag allows for completion of the building. There are two problems arising from this when using BER information for estimiating new builds. First, it is too early to count a dwelling as complete when a Provisional BER certificate is assesed. And secondly, there is the possibility of the same certificate being published as both Provisional and Final which can result in double-counting.
As an MPRN is not required for a Provisional BER certificate it is not possible to link these records to the unmatched new dwellings. However, it can be seen in Fig 4.6 that the majority of outstanding Provisional BER certificates, basedon BER house type infiormation, are for other house types which relate to scheme dwellings (59%) however they also exist for detached dwellings (32%) and apartments (8%). This analysis explains the majority of scheme dwellings or apartments that do not have Final BER assessments complete.
|Other House type||59.083230958231|
The CSO recognises that while the individual sources have significant analytical potential, there is huge potential for new and improved statistical products, as well as improved data quality, when linking between administrative datasets is facilitated. Central to this is the development of the National Data Infrastructure (NDI) – a platform for linking datasets using unique identifiers for individuals, businesses and locations.
Although ESB connections and BER datasets do not currently have a high coverage of Eircodes by using the unique identifier, MPRN, to link we can demostrate the analytical potential of matching data sources in Figures 4.7 to 4.10 below, where the house types in the New Dwelling Completions series can be further described using BER building type descriptions.
Figure 4.11 further demonstrates the value of data linkage where the floor area in the New Dwelling Completions series can be analysed taking advantage of such variables from the BER dataset.
1See Article 7.2 of the European Communities (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2006
2A small number of New Dwelling Completions (7%) have been matched to an Existing or Provisional BER certificate.
Go to next chapter >>> Building Control Management System