Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (113)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

113. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he plans to legislate to encourage the uptake of life cycle assessment and-or to promote such assessments through green public procurement in future public housing developments. [7689/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department has issued design guidelines for sustainable housing which includes recommendations to have due regard for the environmental impact of construction materials. These guidelines “Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities” are available on my Department’s website at the following link. https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/24d9e-quality-housing-for-sustainable-communities-design-guidelines/

Under the Climate Action Plan the Office of Public Works is putting in place a roadmap to promote greater use of lower-carbon building material alternatives in construction and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland is carrying out a research and development project to examine life cycle analysis and embedded energy in buildings to compare the use of sustainable materials.

The review of Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 (known as the Constructions Products Regulations or “the CPR”) was confirmed by the European green deal in December 2019 and the circular economy action plan in March 2020. In parallel, the European Commission initiated discussion on an implementation plan for a future environmental life cycle assessment framework for construction products, looking at the impacts on the wider environment that occur during the whole life cycle of a construction product. The objective is to identify the strategic issues that need to be addressed with a view to the implementation of Basic Works Requirement 7 ‘Sustainable Use of Natural Resources’ (BWR7) in the context of the current and the future revision to the Construction Products Regulation.

Ireland will be obliged to follow this harmonised procedure via harmonised technical specifications for construction products, when a consensus of approach emerges. In that regard, it would be counter to harmonisation to develop national rules for matters covered by the Internal Market regulation.

While no agreement has yet been reached on the specifics of a revision of the CPR, the European Commission have prepared a document assessing the impact and the preparation of a new proposal. The purpose of this document is to provide a starting point for an open dialogue with industry and other stakeholders to inform the discussions.

The Office of Government Procurement which is under the remit of my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, is responsible for Public Procurement – including the procurement guidance in the Capital Works Management Framework which provides guidance for all public construction including housing.