German construction slowed in February following January’s success
According to findings from the IHS Markit Germany’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI), the nation’s construction activity dropped to 52.7 last month.
This follows the success of an 82-month high reading on the index in January, reaching 59.8.
February’s drop was the lowest in 13 months, yet as it remained above neutral level (50), it continued Germany’s more than three-year continuance of growth.
“January’s spike in construction growth was helped by the unusually mild start to the year, so it was little surprise to see the sector retreat in February as winter weather conditions returned,” commented Phil Smith, IHS Markit Principle Economist.
“At 52.7, the seasonally adjusted PMI was the lowest seen for 13 months, but the underlying trend remained strongly positive, and so did many of the survey’s other indicators.”
“New order growth remained buoyant after having hit its highest for at least 18 years in January, meaning there was sharply rising demand for materials among constructors.”
“Growth looks set to continue in the months ahead, with the survey’s measure of business confidence at its second-highest level since 1999.”
Employment expanded in February as firms aimed to meet rising activity, but at the lowest rate in 12-months.
Last month also saw a surge in the cost of building materials and products, reaching a four month inflation high.
International Code Council focuses on energy efficiency
The International Code Council has released a new framework to assist governments and building industry stakeholders in meeting energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals.
The Code Council Board of Directors, which consists of 18 government code officials who were elected by their peers, adopted the framework, Leading the Way to Energy Efficiency: A Path Forward on Energy and Sustainability to Confront a Changing Climate.
This framework includes using the Code Council’s American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved standards process to update the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
Future editions of the IECC will build on prior successes including an increase of efficiency requirements by about 40%, or an average of 8% a cycle from 2006 to 2021, allowing the IECC to remain a strong avenue for communities to reach their energy efficiency and sustainability goals globally.
With the base 2021 IECC efficiency requirements just 10% away from net zero for residential buildings, under the new framework future editions of the IECC will increase base efficiency using a balancing test proposed in bipartisan legislation that has cleared the US House and Senate and has been supported by energy efficiency advocates and the building industry.
The IECC will be developed under a revised scope and be part of a portfolio of greenhouse gas reduction solutions that could address electric vehicles, electrification and decarbonization, integration of renewable energy and energy storage, existing buildings performance standards and more.
The Code Council’s new framework will also provide optional requirements aimed at achieving net zero energy buildings presently and by 2030. Using a tiered approach, the framework offers adopting jurisdictions a menu of options, from a set of minimum requirements to pathways to net zero energy and additional greenhouse gas reduction policies.
The Code Council has also announced the establishment of an Energy and Carbon Advisory Council which will consist of governmental and industry leaders to inform the Code Council’s efforts.
The Energy and Carbon Advisory Council will advise on which additional greenhouse gas reduction policies the IECC should integrate, the pace that the IECC’s baseline efficiency requirements should advance, plus needs and gaps that the Code Council should work to address. The Code Council will begin outreach to fill the Energy and Carbon Advisory Council in March.
Focus on climate and energy efficiency globally
The Use of Climate Data and Assessment of Extreme Weather Event Risks in Building Codes Around the World was published last month.
Climate data is frequently only updated on a 10-year cycle on average, so as weather becomes more severe from year to year, the underlying data simply does not accurately reflect the risk to the building of these extreme weather-related events. International Codes are updated on a three-year cycle.
Climate change, coupled with net zero emission targets, is focusing minds to act faster.
From the end of this year, all new buildings in Singapore will face higher minimum energy performance requirements, according to the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). It will raise the minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings and existing buildings that undergo major retrofit, to be 50% and 40% more energy efficient respectively, compared with 2005 levels. The city state aims to 'green' 80% of buildings by 2030.
The Net Zero Home standard developed by CCG (Scotland) is intended to deliver a standard of specification that reduces greenhouse gas emissions arising from regulated operational energy use to a rate less than or equal to 0kg C02/m2/year.
A new construction products national regulator is imminent in the UK, in a bid to bolster standards following the Grenfell inquiry.