Industry News

Ceilite is a Refcom Elite company

Businesses are re-inspected every three years to make sure they continue to meet the scheme standards. The three yearly inspection is carried out in the same way as the initial site inspection.


For members of the Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES formerly HVCA) inspection will form part of the B&ES triennial Inspection and Assessment regime.


Businesses will be issued with a Refcom Elite company certificate which is valid for twelve months. Businesses will also appear on the public listing of Refcom Elite members on Refcom’s website.


Refcom Elite membership demands higher standards than those set out in the F-Gas Regulations and sets businesses apart from their competitors.


Refcom Elite membership proves to owners/operators that, following independent third party inspection, refrigeration or air conditioning businesses:


  • Can competently install, commission or maintain a system containing refrigerant
  • Are licensed waste carriers
  • Are compliant with all current legal requirements
  • Operate auditable procedures for the proper control of refrigerants and can account for all refrigerant used and recovered
  • Use appropriate, purpose-designed refrigerant recovery equipment
  • Perform refrigerant transactions with minimum emissions and are environmentally aware
  • Manage refrigerants safely
  • How does the Refcom Elite scheme compare to the mandatory F-Gas Certification scheme?

Application
Part

Detail

F-Gas
Certification
Scheme

Refcom
Elite
Membership

Part 1 Ensure sufficient numbers of certified employees/subcontractors engaged to carry out refrigerant management

Part 2 Ensure suitable tools and procedures are in place to carry out refrigerant management (sub-contractors via their own registrations)

Ensure company possesses waste carrying licence.

Ensure company has refrigerant movement audit in place with transfer notes.
 



Ensure company uses properly calibrated tools.  

Ensure company maintains correct records to meet user legal obligations of site based refrigerant log book.  

Ensure company meets ozone depletion regulations standards.  

Ensure company operates to approved industry Codes of Practice and good working practice.  

Ensure company operates health and safety policy and meets CDM requirements.  

External QA audit every 3 years to ensure obligations maintained for Parts 1, 2 and 3.  

All operatives registered with ACRIB SKILLcard on  

the Refrigerant Management Register or possess a blue/gold RAC occupational related Engineering Services SKILLcard.    

F-GAS REGULATION AND REFCOM REGISTRATION
GB legislation to implement the European F-Gas Regulation came into force on 9 March 2009. The legislation establishes a mandatory inspection regime to ensure containment of refrigeration gases, sets minimum requirements for training and certification of personnel involved in the handling of refrigerants, and establishes a mandatory company registration scheme. The key points for members to be aware of are:

Certification of companies

  • Government has confirmed that REFCOM, the body originally set up by HVCA, will operate the mandatory company registration scheme within the UK;
  • Companies that carry out installation or maintenance and servicing in respect of stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment must be registered with REFCOM by 3rd July 2009.

Obligations for operators under the EC F-Gas Regulation All operators of RAC systems that use refrigerants containing F gases must comply with obligations in the EC F Gas Regulation.

Summary of EC F Gas Regulation Obligations for RAC Systems

Obligation

Applicability to RAC Systems
(for systems using F gas Refrigerants)

(a) Take steps to prevent F gas leakage and repair detected leakage as soon as possible All stationary systems
(b) Regularly check for leakage (annually) Stationary systems 3 kg < 30kg hermetically sealed systems
(c) Fit automatic leak detection system Stationary systems above 300 kg
(d) Keep certain records about refrigeration plant that uses F gases Stationary systems 3 kg or more
(e) Recover F gases during plant servicing and maintenance, and at end of plant life All stationary systems
(f) Use appropriately qualified personnel to carry out installation, servicing and checking All stationary systems


‘Compliance with F-Gas Legislation in the UK is now a legal requirement. There is now an ever increasing responsibility on end users to ensure that they employ suitably competent and qualified contractors, who fully comply with existing legislation. End users are now wholly responsible for all aspects of RAC Plant under their control.’

Ceilite have been competent in accordance with the Requirements of REFCOM since March 2004, our registration number is 174. This voluntary scheme has now become mandatory from 9th March 2009.

To learn more about F-Gas regulations click here to read an article recently written by Scott Gleed and published in Construction News.

How to contact F-Gas Support
Telephone help line: 0161 874 3663
Website: http://www.defra.gov.uk/fgas
Email: fgas-support@enviros.com

EPDB
Under the European Union’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) inspections of all air-conditioning systems with a total cooling capacity over 12kWr are required at least every five years. The aim is to give building owners and operators information about the performance of their buildings’ air conditioning systems and to identify options to save energy and reduce operating costs.

From January 2009, it is illegal to sell or let any commercial property without a current, valid air conditioning inspection report covering all installed, in-scope equipment, including centralised systems, individual splits, multi-splits and heat pumps. By January 2009, all systems over 250kWr must be inspected. A first inspection of any new system over 12kWr installed since January 2008 is required within the next five years, with all other systems over 12kWr inspected by January 2011. Subsequent inspections must then be commissioned every five years.

Ceilite has trained the relevant personnel, are able to carry out this service for you as required and would welcome your enquiry.

BESCA
BESCA has been established by the Heating and Ventilation Contractors’ Association to act as an independent assessment and certification body for the building services industry.

The company was set up in response to the growing number of registration schemes required to satisfy Government initiatives such as Trustmark and new legislative requirements such as the Energy Assessor Schemes required by the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and Competent Person Schemes allowing self-certification and notification work under the Building Regulations.

Ceilite have trained its staff to attend to this requirement on your behalf as needed.

Fuel Increases
From August 1st 2008 we increased our rates to cover the fuel cost rises that we were seeing at the time, from April 1st 2009 this increase will be removed.

F Gas Review

The leaked F-Gas review document contains a number of significant ‘wins’ for contractors.


While there are always areas for improvement, the findings of the leaked F-Gas review provides real benefit to our members, thanks to some significant changes in the control of placing refrigerant gases on the market.


Of course we can’t be 100 per cent sure that these changes will make the cut when the official review document is released later this year, but logic tells us that the leaked changes are pretty close to the mark. So a ban on pre-charged split systems, mandatory certification for alternative low GWP refrigerants, and the addressing the 3kg issue, together with a focus on transport refrigeration, are all welcome in terms of improving standards.


In particular, the mandatory training certification issue addresses a concern that alternative refrigerants (to HFC’s) come with safety concerns such as flammability, toxicity, and high pressures. Flammability, in particular, concerns contractors. If we are going to be forced to use flammable refrigerants, we are concerned about the insurance costs in particular, together with the health and safety implications.


Without addressing areas such as leakage, and by bringing in gases that have lower environmental concerns, the irresponsible side of the contracting industry will take the attitude that the gas is fine and ok to leak.


The issue of pre-charged equipment is another significant point. The authorities thought when they wrote the original regulations that by making it illegal to take delivery of gas it would stop the cowboys getting hold of refrigerant and this would stop them installing AC and heat pump equipment.


What they failed to appreciate was that a large percentage of gas in split-systems isn’t sold in bottles, it comes pre-installed in AC and HP systems.


A phase-down, and not a phase out, is the right choice as emissions are coming down, these extra steps aren’t designed to make the regulations harder, they are designed to make them more effective as it stands.


Things are changing for the better and if the commission continues to be progressive in its thinking things will continue to do so.