Deloitte: Poland enters the phase of economic expansion

The divergence of economic moods in Poland...

Two Years On: War in Ukraine and Its Global Impact

On February 24, 2022, a full-scale Russian...

Polish Construction Industry Calls for Urgent Regulatory Changes to Accelerate Thermal Modernization Efforts

REAL ESTATEPolish Construction Industry Calls for Urgent Regulatory Changes to Accelerate Thermal Modernization Efforts

According to the government’s renovation strategy, by 2030, 236,000 buildings per year should undergo thorough thermal modernisation, for Poland to fulfill its obligations laid out in the Long-term Building Renovation Strategy. However, this process might prove unfeasible due to a lack of regulations and adequate coordination – appraises the MIWO Association, which has addressed a call to the new Minister of Development and Technology, Krzysztof Hetman. The communication emphasises the necessity of focusing on buildings’ energy efficiency. Among the key arguments are amendments in regulations concerning building conditions and the establishment of a cross-ministerial body involving construction industry representatives, to coordinate matters essential for construction.

“Regarding construction regulations, our industry expects changes in four areas: acoustics, fire safety, sustainable construction, and energy efficiency. Regulations for acoustics and fire safety have not been changed for many years, whereas new technologies have introduced many changes to construction. Additionally, we have to keep up with the regulations introduced by the European Union” – states Henryk Kwapisz, chairman of the board of MIWO, the Association of Producers of Mineral, Glass and Stone Wool, in an interview with Newseria Biznes agency.

Buildings are crucial in Poland’s efforts to decarbonise the economy and achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The construction sector is responsible for approximately 38% of national CO2 emissions – according to a report prepared by the Polish Association of Green Building in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (“Zero Carbon Footprint in Buildings. A Roadmap to Decarbonise Construction by 2050”). To achieve the climate objectives set by the EU, Poland must significantly intensify its thermal modernisation efforts within this decade. The Long-term Building Renovation Strategy adopted in 2022 assumes that this process will intensify in the upcoming years: with plans for the energy modernisation of 236,000 buildings per year until 2030, and then 271,000 in the following decade. A total of 7.5 million thermal modernisations are planned in Poland by 2050, with 4.7 million buildings expected to undergo what is known as deep thermal modernisation. MIWO assesses, however, that this goal might not be achieved, hence the urgent appeal to the minister.

One of the key issues for the construction industry is changes to the regulation on technical conditions that buildings should meet. This regulation has been revised many times, but only some of its provisions were updated. However, the industry has been calling for a comprehensive review and wide public consultations, that would result in a complete revision of the regulation, taking into account new technologies, standards and innovations in construction, among others in acoustics, fire safety, and sustainable construction.

“Changes in these areas are highly needed because people spend 80-90% of their time in buildings. It is no secret that noise affects our health. Unwanted noise from neighbours or the street in residential buildings makes us more prone to migraines and heart diseases. Furthermore, in neonatal units or hospital wards where noise is present, patients are exposed to more stress” – says Henryk Kwapisz. – “Also, in terms of fire safety, regulations that keep up with changes in technology and EU requirements are essential. This concerns, for example, the obligation to install photovoltaic panels on all residential buildings from 2030. And if we have PV panels on the roof, we should mount them on non-flammable materials and take a more serious approach to fire safety.”

As Henryk Kwapisz underlines, the WT regulation should also contain an entirely new section dedicated to sustainable construction. This would, for example, determine the methodology for calculating the carbon footprint of buildings, the obligation to present environmental declarations and the issue of construction waste and its recycling methods.

“At present, there is not a word about it in the WT regulation. If we indeed want our buildings to be environmentally friendly, designers and contractors need to know how to construct them, and this requires proper regulations. Hence creating a section dedicated to sustainable construction in the WT regulation is, in our opinion, absolutely necessary” – says the Chairman of the MIWO Association Board. – “It’s also crucial that from 2030 it will be mandatory to calculate the carbon footprint of buildings. Thus, changes in regulations should be made now to meet expectations of EU regulators.”

In a letter directed to Minister Krzysztof Hetman, the Association also appeals for work to continue on the amendment to the regulation regarding the methodology for determining the energy characteristics of buildings and the preparation of energy performance certificates. Consultations for this regulation were conducted in the first half of 2023, but work was discontinued during the pre-election period.

The industry welcomed the project with great satisfaction. It proposed introducing a clear system of building energy classes and labels of their energy efficiency. The MIWO Association indicates that such a solution would be beneficial to all who want to carry out investments in thermal modernisation and improve building thermal comfort. It would also help establish better regulations and support programmes, leading to systematic rewarding of lowering energy costs for households and businesses.

“There is also a need to establish as soon as possible a body that will coordinate changes in construction regulations. Therefore, we call for the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee for sustainable construction at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister” – says Henryk Kwapisz.

As he points out, at present, topics concerning construction and housing are scattered, handled by several ministries and other public entities. This complicates the implementation of effective programmes and policies. The lack of coordination at the government level was particularly noticeable in the area of improving energy efficiency and thermal modernisation of buildings, investment programs in this field, and considering this area in the overall energy and climate policy of the state.

“One body should be established to coordinate these issues, to implement the necessary changes as soon as possible, which will benefit our economy and citizens” – assesses the MIWO Association expert – “Thanks to the establishment of a committee that would coordinate changes in regulations, we will quickly achieve two goals. Firstly, we will respect the regulations implemented at the European Union level, concerning climate neutrality, sustainable buildings, their carbon footprint and environmental impact. Secondly, thanks to these changes, we Poles will simply feel better, as these regulations promote our health and safety”.

Check out our other content
Related Articles
The Latest Articles