May 23rd 2013
Today is my last day as the Chairman of the RACHP Group.
When I was elected to the role in 2010 I said that ‘I felt proud to become the RAC Group National Chairman of the HVCA’, at what was a very significant time for the industry. Indeed, the last three years have proved to be a time of change, not just for the Association and the RACHP Group but for the industry as a whole.
However, many of the issues that existed in 2010 continue to cause concern and I, with the assistance of the Executive Committee, have continually strived to address these issues over the past three years through full agendas at Executive meetings, various sub Committee’s and the B&ES Council.
Back in 2010 I stated that, following the introduction of legislation such as F Gas and Part L ,Air Conditioning Inspections, that compliance and enforcement was the key to ensuring that the Government’s environmental targets on emissions reductions could be delivered, disappointingly this is still the case.
Following the F Gas Review consultation, we have gone some way, through AREA and ACRIB to strengthen the F Gas Regulations to further reduce emissions of fluorinated gases. It is expected that the EU Commission will accept the recommendations put forward by AREA. This is a significant step forward and is due, in part, to the work and dedication of RACHP Group Exec Member Graeme Fox in his role as AREA President and we would like to thank Graeme for his work in promoting the sector. However, our efforts to strengthen, promote and encourage compliance of F Gas are meaningless if enforcement by Government does not back up our message. We again encourage all contractors to comply with the F-Gas Regulations and would call for the Environmental Agency (now given the enforcement responsibility’s) to show us some results in their actions, we were advised in December 2012 by DEFRA that as they now had over “28,000 trained operatives” and that there are ‘no more untrained operatives installing systems!’ Only recently we were advised that another 800 plus personnel have now gained the required training!
It’s estimated that some 20% of split and multi spilt systems are being installed by non- competent people, the manufactures and industry are letting themselves down by allowing this to go on unchecked.
Regrettably, there also still appears to be a problem with Part L and Air Conditioning Inspections, which continue to have one of the lowest compliance rates despite the best efforts of Executive members to raise the awareness of the issue with Government. This continues to be a concern, so the RACHP Group Executive have embarked on a campaign to highlight our concerns by requesting dialogue with Government officials to discuss measures to improve compliance.
I would like to take this opportunity to again call upon Government to take a tougher line. Our Members have invested much in appointing air-conditioning inspectors and enrolling to assessment schemes, yet still, less than 5% of Companies seem to have been compelled to have the inspections.
Within the Association too, we must insure that the measures introduced by the RACHP Group to promote and improve the professionalism (as constitutionally required) of Members are maintained. In 2003 Ceilite joined the then HVCA, because of the independent Inspection and Assessment (I & A) regime that set HVCA members above others. We wanted to be part of something that was promoting excellence in building engineering services.
Representatives of the RACHP Group Executive have worked with the B&ES to try to uphold the standards of the Group and to ensure full compliance is achieved by B&ES members in our sector, we have highlighted some 275 RACHP Group B&ES member Companies that requirement further inspection, that needs to be brought to these Companies that have the concerned shortfalls, we hope, with the new B&ES CAS system (that is replacing I & A) allows the areas that need to be tightened are done so, and with haste.
Still the incorrect term “refrigerant handling” appears in various aspects, this term has been updated by reactive industry to “management”, the old 2078 is now replaced by the 2079 and the F Gas requirements are no longer about just “handling”, something we should all get right, and that ACRIB should also seek to see updated, in the qualifications it supports, alongside City and Guilds and Summit skills.
It’s misleading words like this that can lead people to think it’s only a requirement for those that carry out ‘refrigerant handling’ who require the qualifications when the needed term ‘refrigerant handling’ is in the qualification name, then, how do we then promote that the qualification is needed for all those who install service or maintenance systems that contain or are designed to contain F-gas? We should all be setting the standards for industry and ensure we are serving industry with the correct, clear terminology as needed.
The RACHP Group prides itself on its achievements in raising industry standards and, to emphasise this, the Group’s annual Apprentice Award has been renamed to better reflect current practices. The Award is now named the RACHP Group Harry Decker ‘Award for Excellence’ we retain the historical link to Harry Decker, a founder Member of the Group, who was noted for his keen interest in the training of apprentices in the industry.
And I am pleased to say that Jeremy Gould of Mannings Facilities Management, the winner of the 2013 RACHP Group Harry Decker ‘Award for Excellence’ in memory of Harry Decker is amongst us today. Congratulations Jeremy. Jeremy will receive his Award at the lunch this afternoon.
Recognising and encouraging the talent of the new generation of RACHP operatives is very important to protect the future of our sector and we would urge member Companies to take on an apprentice, they can quickly become an asset to companies and these trainees are our future. It is pleasing to see that some 40% of B&ES companies (in Scotland) do employ apprentices and that 85% of Welsh apprentices are employed by a B&ES Company, this good practice is most pleasing and we hope that England will follow suit.
In my time on the RACHP Group Executive Committee both as Chairman and ordinary member, I have come to realise that the enthusiasm, dedication and passion for our industry, which I hope I have demonstrated and is shared by my fellow Executive members is much needed. Whether it is representing the Group in Europe, engaging with Government, working to improve training or highlighting any possible shortfalls or means to deliver quality by our member’s, then, I can assure you, as I did when I took up this office, that I and my Executive Committee will not flinch from their responsibilities to question and challenge others where required.
In the past and particularly over the past three years, we have had to argue strongly, both within the Association and in wider industry circles to raise the standards of our sector.
It’s pleasing though that we have worked through various needed items and we all seek to enhance our standards to ensure our quality is maintained by Members.
There is though much more still to do but, clearly, the RACHP Group is as active as ever and in good shape to meet the challenges now and in the future. We are proud of our achievements and we are still confident that the B&ES badge demonstrates professionalism, expertise and sets Member Companies aside from other contractors.
Personally I have tried to ensure that the RACHP Group Executive have been represented at all B&ES Committees.
In all the Committees the RACHP Group have given input and I would like to thank the Executive Committee and B&ES staff and officers for their support over the past three years and for the valuable work they do to promote our industry.
A special mention is needed though for Dennis Wheelhouse who today retires from the Exec, Dennis has served on the Exec for over 20 years and was the Chairman from 2002 – 2004; we all wish Dennis all the best and give thanks for his valued input over the years.
Finally, I want to offer my best wishes to Tony Williams who I know will be an excellent Chairman for the Group.
- Scott Gleed
- HVCA RAC Chairman 2010 – 2012
- B&ES RACHP Chairman 2012 – 2013
- B&ES RACHPG
- Chairmans Address May 23rd 2013
- RAC Group National Chairman of the HVCA
- RACHP Group B&ES
- Compliance and enforcement
- F Gas Review consultation
- Part L and Air Conditioning Inspections
- Refrigerant handling
- Harry Decker
- Executive members
- Much more still to do
- Tony Williams
I would be happy to take any questions but I would prefer it if these are at the end please.
Many thanks and kind regards
- Scott Gleed
- HVCA RAC Chairman 2010 – 2012
- B&ES RACHP Chairman 2012 – 2013