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Upskill This New Year With A CITB NI Retrofit Training Programme

Construction Industry Training Board NI (CITB NI) has announced ‘The Older Buildings for a Greener Future’ project, a new retrofit training programme aimed at boosting knowledge and awareness of appropriate maintenance, repair & retrofit of older buildings supported by Department for Communities Historic Environment Fund.

The project will run Jan – March 2024, and is part of CITB NI’s ongoing support to the construction industry by providing upskilling opportunities to construction professionals. 

19% of UK carbon emissions are related to the running of existing buildings, and when construction and transportation are also taken into account, the built environment sector is responsible for up to 42% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the UK. Therefore focusing on retention and increasing energy efficiency of existing building stock is a key priority for meeting 2050 net zero targets.

The retrofit project will support the net zero priority by raising knowledge and awareness of appropriate maintenance, repair & retrofit of older buildings through upskilling opportunities as well as providing accessible information on retrofit, heating options and appropriate maintenance advice tailored to NI.

This will include using appropriate materials, methods and the introduction of new technologies. It will highlight advantages and opportunities of built heritage and how it can improve the environment, both through sustainability and aesthetics, but also through connection with our culture, identity, history and sense of place.

With approximately 1,800* additional workers required each year in Northern Ireland to retrofit traditional buildings, the programme aims to upskill a minimum of 15 construction professionals with an accredited Level 3 Award in Energy Efficiency for Older and Traditional Buildings through a 2-day subsidised training course (30 & 31 Jan). Additionally, the project will offer 3 free webinars in understanding options for sustainable heating systems, the retrofit of older domestic buildings, and retrofit of older commercial buildings, which are open to all.

Barry Neilson OBE, Chief Executive CITB NI, said: “Without the appropriate knowledge and training in place, older buildings are at risk from well-intentioned but inappropriate interventions that could damage buildings’ historic character and built fabric, as well as posing a potential risk to occupant health.

“Traditional buildings have different considerations from modern buildings when considering retrofit measures. In addition to potential historic character and significance, traditional buildings were constructed differently.

“This project will increase knowledge amongst owners and construction professionals to reduce the number of inappropriate interventions which are damaging the historic built environment, improving conservation of the historic built environment as well as helping to reduce carbon emissions to support with meeting the net zero target in 2050.”

Manus Deery, Assistant Director, Historic Environment Division, added:   “Department for Communities Historic Environment Division is delighted to be able to support the Older Buildings for a Greener Future project through the Historic Environment Fund. This project will provide fantastic training and upskilling opportunities that will benefit the construction sector and Northern Ireland’s built environment.

“As Department for Communities Historic Environment Division continues to release new guidance on the retrofit of historic buildings, we look forward to working with CITB NI to promote best practice retrofit to protect and enhance our built heritage for a sustainable future.” 

For further information about the project or events contact  heritage@citbni.org.uk Further details on events and to book can be found at https://www.citbni.org.uk/Events.aspx

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