Non Domestic BER Course

Start date: 28th July 2021

Course format:

2 day live virtual course 9-5pm each day (through Zoom) 28th and 29th July


2-hour SAQ exam and also a practical BER, done from drawings and specifications, done in the learner’s own time



Introduction to BER for New & Existing Non Domestic Buildings

A Building Energy Rating (BER) and advisory report is to be supplied by the owner to a prospective buyer or tenant when constructed, sold or rented. The objective of the rating is twofold:

  • To give prospective buyers and tenants information about the energy performance of buildings
  • To give builders/developers and vendors/landlords, an incentive to upgrade the energy performance of the building by giving visible credit to superior standards

The BER must be accompanied by an “Advisory Report” setting out recommendations for cost-effective improvements to the energy performance of the building. However there will be no legal obligation on vendors or prospective purchasers to carry out the recommended improvements. The format and scale of the non-residential BER Certificate will be defined and published once the BER national calculation methodology is finalised. This provision of the EPBD has been transposed into Irish legislation by S.I. No. 666 of 2006.

An NFQ Level 7 degree/qualification in a building or construction related discipline, where at least two of the subjects below are covered for a minimum of two semesters each.

Proof of membership with one of the below listed professional bodies at the specified grades.

NFQ Level 7 Degree in one of the following:

– Architecture
– Architectural Technology
– Building Services Engineering
– Building Surveying
– Civil Engineering
– Electrical Engineering
– Mechanical Engineering
– Quantity Surveying

NFQ Level 7 Degree where min. two subjects below covered for min. two semesters each

– Architecture
– Architectural Technology
– Building Construction / Technology
– Building Design
– Building Energy Performance
– Building Services Engineering
– Building Surveying
– Civil Engineering
– Electrical Engineering
– Mechanical Engineering
– Quantity Surveying

The application of BER to buildings other than dwellings is more complex than for the domestic sector due to the large variation in design, scale, function, usage etc. SEI has reviewed existing methodologies in use in other EU Member States and Ireland will adapt the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM), the national calculation methodology used in the UK, as the national calculation methodology. The following software, when adapted for use in Ireland, may be used by BER assessors to demonstrate compliance with building regulations and generate the BER and Advisory Report:

  • SBEM with the user interface iSBEM
  • SBEM with an approved user interface
  • Approved Dynamic Simulation Model Software

SEI has coordinated the adaptations in SBEM and the commercial software packages in consultation with the Department of Environment Heritage and Local Government and the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources.

A simplified tool which provides an analysis of a building’s energy consumption primarily for the purposes of assessing compliance with Part L (England & Wales), Section 6 (Scotland) and Part F (Northern Ireland) of Building Regulations and eventually for building performance certification EPBD in UK. SBEM (Simplified Building Energy Model) calculates monthly energy use and carbon dioxide emissions of a building given a description of the building’s geometry, construction, use, and HVAC and lighting equipment. It was originally based on the Dutch methodology NEN 2916:1998 (Energy Performance of Non-Residential Buildings) and has since been modified to comply with the emerging CEN Standards. SBEM makes use of standard sets of data for different activity areas and calls on databases of construction and building service elements. It is accompanied by a basic user interface – iSBEM.SBEM consists of a calculation methodology which runs together with a Compliance Checking Module (BRUKL). The iSBEM interface integrates these components together and interacts with a series of databases to provide consistent data to the calculation while simplifying the user’s need to obtain detailed building data

This interim registration does not authorise the assessor to conduct a BER assessment on existing buildings, buildings requiring DSM software, dwellings or operational ratings for public buildings.

Background information on

  • The National Calculation Methodology and the Activity and Construction databases
  • The appropriate calculation tool
  • Part L requirements and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)


  • An explanation of zoning rules with examples and practice materials to ensure understanding
  • An explanation of the recommended naming system / convention for building elements should be explained
  • Recommendations on how to gather and store information required by the calculation tool

Using the tool

  • Explanation and demonstration of the following (and where relevant should involve the use of case study buildings):
    • How to download the tool from the website
    • How to enter a building into the tool from start to finish
    • How to double check entered data
    • How to assess compliance with Building Regulations Part L and understand the energy usage and carbon emissions of the building
    • Description of every parameter in the tool and an explanation of the User Guide itself
    • Location and properties of the key input and output files

For new entrants looking to register as a non-domestic BER assessor for the first time, candidates will be required to fulfill the pre-qualification registration requirements currently outlined on SEAI’s website, supply the relevant registration documentation to SEAI and complete a mandatory validation exercise on an example building

On completion of the course candidates will have a complete understanding of SBEM as required in the Irish National calculation methodology and will have the ability to function the software to ensure compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations.


Open discussion forum is in place. Q & A on all relevant Non Domestic material.

Pre Requisites

Participants will be required to have computer skills to at least an ECDL level and be familiar with operating software applications to support engineering projects. To register with SEAI as an assessor for New & Existing Non Domestic buildings, students must have at least a level 8 degree in an engineering related discipline and membership of a professional association.

Technical Content

Our format ensures all cells in the software are addressed and notes are supplied on cells. Our course notes are a revision and condensing of the manual and almost become a first point of reference when encountering a question.

Our case studies are relevant to the Irish Commercial Building Industry and are more technically complex case studies. Our example change and test every aspect of the software and deal with complex measurements and building services examples thus supplying the student with a more in-depth knowledge of the software.

We have the only course which cover’s in detail the data harvesting (Gathering) format. As our examples are true to life we not only teach students how to input data into the software, we also teach student how to gather data, break it down into a usable format, assign zoning and name formats and then enter said material into the software. This is done using custom excel spreadsheets.

We not only teach the data harvesting but we also supply further case studies for the student to review, revise and answer. We then supply the worked case study answers. In addition to the 2 full case studies covered in class we supply a further 2 and have a 5th case study.

Our Trainer

Paddy Loughman is our lead lecturer on the QQI Building Energy Rating programme. A Mechanical Engineering graduate by profession, Paddy has been a BER Assessor for Dwellings and Non-Domestic properties since 2008, having carried out thousands of BERs.

Paddy has delivered BER training since 2008, also developing and designing course materials to keep up to date with BER methodology and changes to Building Regulations over the years. Most recently, he has developed and delivered Chevron’s completely new BER course covering NZEB requirements and the new DEAP 4.2 web-based software.

As well as the standard QQI BER courses, Paddy has provided custom courses to suit the needs of architects’ and engineers’ practices – and refresher sessions for those preparing for the SEAI BER Assessor exam.

Paddy is a Registered Technical Advisor for SEAI’s Heat Pump Grant scheme and is also Chevron’s representative at SEAI’s BER Trainer workshops.


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