Revealed: Why the cost of building houses in Donegal is soaring

New energy efficiency requirements and Brexit care partly to blame - typical cost for rebuilding a three bed semi is now €10,000 more than in 2019

Revealed: Why the cost of building houses in Donegal is soaring

The latest Guide to House Rebuilding Costs published by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) shows that national average rebuild costs have increased by an average of 7.3% over the past 18 months. 

And Donegal has seen the biggest average increase, an average of 9% in Donegal over the past 18 months.

The average cost of rebuilding a typical three bed semi detached house in the north-west (including Donegal) is €140,000 - up €10,000 on 2019.

The Guide to House Rebuilding Costs, which is used by homeowners to calculate the rebuilding costs of their home for insurance purposes, shows the increase in rebuild costs ranges from 5% in Dublin to 9% in the North West. 

Although Donegal and other counties in the North West recorded the biggest increase the region still has the lowest rebuild costs.

Tomás Kelly, Chair of the Quantity Surveyors Group in the SCSI said the main reason for cost increases was compliance with new Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) standards requirements and an increase in the cost of building materials.

“We fully support the introduction of NZEB standards and recognise the key role they will play in helping to reduce CO2 emissions and reducing energy costs over the long term. However, from a building perspective, they do come with an upfront cost. For example, if you’re rebuilding a house – or 25% or more of it – the ‘envelope’ or surface area of the home has to be bought up to a B2 BER rating. The envelope is the total surface area of the house which leaks heat, so it includes external walls, windows, doors, the ground floor and roof or ceiling. Replacing heat pumps, temperature control systems, heat recovery systems all adds mechanical, electrical and plumbing costs to the rebuild process.”

“In addition, Brexit has led to supply issues with building materials and increased the cost of a range of products, including insulation and timber products, mesh, structural steel, plasterboard and metal studs, to mention just a few. The construction industry has adapted well to working safely in the era of covid and the new protocols have not led to significant cost increases for one off residential rebuilds,” Mr Kelly said.

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