Air Conditioning Inspections & Legislation
Legislative and Legal requirements affecting the documentation, performance and operation of refrigerant-based air conditioning are now fully in place. They outline certain obligations which you are required by law to comply with.
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive
The Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) 2002 is a European Directive (ED) designed to reduce carbon emissions and promote energy efficiency. This directive was implemented into UK legislation in the form of the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations (EPBR) 2007.
New air conditioning systems over 12 kW installed after January 2008 must be inspected within 5 years of being put into service.
The first inspection of all existing air conditioning systems over 250 kW cooling capacity should have been completed by 4th January 2009.
This means that any systems over 12 kW that have not already been inspected are currently breaching the regulations and therefore liable for a fine or further prosecution.
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive states that from January 2011 it was (and is) mandatory for Air Conditioning Systems of 12kW and above to have a regular inspection programme in place. Part 4 of the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations requires the person who has control of the operation of any air conditioning systems in a building that have a collective cooling capacity greater than 12kW to ensure the overall system is inspected by an accredited air conditioning inspector at regular intervals (at least every 5 years).
From 4th January 2011, it was made a legal requirement for any buildings with over 12kW of total cooling to have a TM44 Air Conditioning Inspection Survey and Report carried out by an Accredited Air Conditioning Inspector and for this report to be lodged with the government’s Non-Domestic Energy Performance Certificate Register (Landmark).
CIBSE Technical Memorandum TM44 provides guidance on conducting an air conditioning inspection to satisfy the requirements of the Directive as expressed in the various regulations in the UK. The focus is on systems that use refrigerants to produce cooling.
Unlike the requirements for Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), these air conditioning inspections are not triggered by sale or rental but have been given definite deadlines for compliance.
With implementation dates now long passed, any building that does not possess this certificate is operating outside the law and is non-compliant with current legislation.
Trading standards are becoming ever more proactive by clamping down on non-compliant owners and operators.
See the latest government guidelines here.
If you are unsure you qualify, generally if you have more than 1000 sq ft (93 m2) of air conditioned floorspace, then it is highly likely that you will need to have an inspection.
The Aura Air Conditioning team are here to support you in the development of the right Air Conditioning Inspection for the EPBD. Giving you legal compliance with the Directive, the inspection will also highlight any system operational and maintenance improvements to reduce your energy costs and carbon emissions. Our in-house engineers and supply partners create this fully accredited programme tailored to you.
Certified – (HVAC Gas Certifications)
What exactly is HVAC certification? It is essentially a procedure by which an accredited agency verifies a technician has undergone the requisite training for the position and has met industry standards and requirements. Any HVAC technician you hire should be properly trained and certified. Aura AC gives you full peace of mind as all our technicians are certified by one of the major accredited organizations. In using us, you can be assured that the technician(s) has proven his or her proficiency in servicing and/or installing heating, air conditioning, ventilation or refrigeration equipment. See here to view our Accreditations and HS Certificates.
Trusted – (Legal Requirements Explained)
|The Requirement||The Reason||The Required Accreditor|
F-Gas Scheduled Statutory Inspection
Systems over 3 kg refrigerant – inspect at 12 months.
Systems over 30kg refrigerant – inspect at 6 months.
Systems over 300kg refrigerant – inspect at 3 months.
|To ensure the ongoing integrity of the office air conditioning standards in accordance with the directive||
F-Gas accredited engineer
BS EN 15004 F-Gas Statutory Inspection Requirements
EC Regulation 842/2006 stipulates that
F-Gas accredited engineer
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
If a building is over 500m2 and occupation began after 2008 then a whole building energy assessment is required. Once the assessment is complete then the certificate is valid for 10 years.
|Designed to help improve efficiency and reduce energy usage, operating costs and carbon footprint.||Accredited and registered energy assessor|
|Registered Energy Assessor Inspection
To be completed within 5 years of installation
Designed to help improve efficiency and reduce energy usage, operating costs and carbon footprint.
Also captures installations not requiring an EPC at the present time.
|Accredited and registered energy assessor|
What is The European Union’s F-gas Regulation?
The European Union’s F-gas Regulation No 842/2006 became law on 4th July 2006. This imposed obligation on ‘operators’ of this equipment came into effect on 4th July 2007 that you should by now be fully familiarised with. F-gases include HFCs, which are the most common refrigerants in use today. The Regulation aims to minimise emissions of these gases, which affect global warming if they escape into the air.
Who is considered a User, and what are their responsibilities?
The legal responsibility for compliance with the Regulation lies with the operator. ‘Operators’ being defined as the people or organisations that have actual power over the technical functioning of the equipment. Any equipment small enough to plug in rather than have to be permanently wired is likely to be excluded from the requirements, other than an overall requirement to prevent leakage and to repair any leaks as soon as possible.
How to know how much F-gas is in the system?
The system should be labelled with this information, but if not, you can estimate this using a Calculator provided by the UK Government in their guide to requirements when working with Fluorinated gas (F gas).
Statutory Air Conditioning Regulations Conclusion
As a building owner or manager, once you have an air conditioning system in place, it is your responsibility to ensure that the system complies with the UK standards office air conditioning directives. Your air conditioning system must operate within the law and directives laid down in legislation to avoid being fined for incorrect operating practices and systems failures of different kinds upon inspection.
It can be confusing but by using this guide we hope it has helped to steer you through the UK standards for air conditioning. The primary directive is the Energy Performance of Buildings EU directive that has the mandate for all inspection regimes within the remit that covers commercial buildings.
These mandatory inspections are designed to safeguard and assist building owners to ensure the integrity of air conditioning systems and ensure they conform to UK standards.
Fluorinated greenhouse gases land under the Kyoto Protocol to which the EU has subscribed to reduce emissions. F-Gas is a chemical that contains Fluorine. Fluorine within the gas is a greenhouse gas thereby potentially forming a reflective layer in the atmosphere that causes harmful rays from the sun to the surface of Earth causing a build-up of gas that warms the planet. The long-term effects of this are not fully known but the impacts have already been seen and raised awareness helped through the recent COP26.
Penalties for not complying with the regulations depend on the type of non-conformance and where the case is tried. There is a maximum fine of £5000 in Magistrates Court but if a company were convicted in Crown Court, then the fine could be limitless.
The onus is on the building owners to keep records and logs of the air conditioning system including asset management and maintenance records. Records must also monitor and show the specific quantities refrigerant that has been added or removed from a system along with details of disposal and waste management. While contractors do keep records and computerised systems, the building owner is ultimately responsible for maintaining the information required centrally.
Remember that only work done by accredited and registered F-gas engineers, such as Aura Air Conditioning, will be valid. We are more than happy to discuss any queries you may have and help you to set up a routine maintenance and inspection programme that will keep you compliant and save energy at the same time. Contact us for all your servicing and maintenance requirements.