Diary Entry No.4 - Construction Tender Stage

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Now that we have our tender package ready to go the challenge is not pricing the construction works but rather getting contractors who have the skill and knowledge to actually build it. Due to the fact this will be one of the first passive houses in Northern Ireland, the skills required can be hard to find. We can specify the best materials and suppliers but if the contractor isn't sure what he's supposed to be doing it can cause major headaches for both ourselves and the client.

So after some time and deliberation we have selected six main contractors to tender this job. We have carefully selected contractors who we feel will be able to complete this project with a good understanding of the passive house principles.

In our tender we have specified two independent timber frame companies, both of which have expert knowledge in their field. SIPFIT based in Newry and Setanta Construction based in Castledawson.

SIPFIT are responsible for large commercial projects as well as one off smaller bespoke buildings. The most significant of these has been the new zero carbon Tesco Eco Store at Cabra, Dublin which used SIPFIT panels as the primary build fabric. The Eco Store has been confirmed as zero carbon and the SIPFIT wall solution was fundamental to the building achieving an air tightness of 0.53 m/ m/ hr at 50 Pascals. This is over 10% better than the standard Passive requirement of 0.6 air changes per hour.

Setanta are better known for bespoke one off housing and one of their projects was a winning house in BBC Northern Ireland's house of the year.  Mark, who runs Setanta Construction, alongside his brother, is also a qualified Passive House Consultant, Certified Energy Trainer and is leading the way in Thermal Bridge analysis. They have completed numerous zero carbon dwellings and regularly achieve air tests of 0.4 m/ m/ hr at 50 Pascals.

Both meet the requirements of the passive house and either would be acceptable for this project.

The tender is going in the post today, and the contractors will have just over 2 weeks to return the tender.