This section describes the minimum requirements set by the EU Commission with regard to training and certification of companies and their personnel involved in installation, maintenance or servicing of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment as well as fire protection systems, for the mandatory leak checking of these installations, for the recovery of fluorinated gases from these systems and, additionally, of fluorinated solvents from solvents containing equipment, SF6 high-voltage switchgear and cylinders at end-of-life. The relevant obligations are explained in detail.
F-Gas figures prove commitment to compliance
Latest industry figures show that over a quarter of in-scope engineers have already gained F-gas qualifications.
This is excellent news for the SRACHP sector and reflects the growing opinion that obtaining full certification is a necessity from a business perspective as well as a legal one. Although it is currently estimated that around 25,000 engineers need to obtain the new F-gas personnel qualification the increase in the number of people registering for the City and Guilds course has been remarkable, with a 137% increase from 2009. While there is clearly much to be positive about, there is still a good deal to be done by the industry to achieve full compliance, and Refcom has a significant role to play in helping Defra and F-Gas Support leading up to July 2011. There is plenty of information available to businesses explaining the regulatory requirements, so no engineer or company should be unaware of what they need to do before July next year – there is even an active countdown on the Refcom website. Similarly, for those already certified, up to date information on industry issues is readily available. From a business perspective, obtaining the full F-gas certification sooner rather than later makes sense. Prospective clients are looking for this certification, especially with large contracts. Everyone affected by the F-Gas Regulations has a responsibility to fulfil their legal obligations. If all businesses commit to these regulations, and to best practice, then we can continue this positive drive towards full industry compliance in time for the July 2011 deadline.
ACRIB presentation to DEFRA on take up of certification
ACRIB was invited to make a presentation to the DEFRA F Gas Stakeholder meeting in October on take up of F Gas company and individual certification and efforts made to promote these requirements. The presentation below was given by Mike Nankivell, Chairman of the ACRIB F Gas Implementation Group. The main issues of debate included:
Whether there is sufficient capacity or not amongst training providers to cope with certifying by 4th July 2011 the estimated 7/15,000 remaining people who do not have the new qualification as yet. However the message was clearly “Time is running out and if employers do not act now there could be a problem in July”.
The policy of government is to encourage and support compliance and F Gas support has authority to act as reporting authority if there are companies who are acting in flagrant infringement of their duties www.defra.gov.uk/fgas
The EU review of the regulation is on-going and a draft report of underlying assumptions by the consultants OKO Recherche has been reviewed by the EU Experts group which included industry representatives. Information about some of these assumptions has been made available for comment and ACRIB will be formulating a UK industry response (copies of the assumptions report are available from ) The next Experts Group meeting to discuss next steps will be in May 2011.
ACRIB will continue to work with the Company Certification Bodies, Individual Certification Bodies (through SummitSkills) and F Gas Support to actively promote compliance with the 4th July deadline.
Transitional periods have been introduced for people that were already involved in the activities in question before the national requirements are adopted, respectively are about to work in these activities.
Art 5 of the regulation EC 842/2006 requires the Commission to establish minimum requirements and the conditions for mutual recognition for training and certification of personnel and companies involved in activities under this regulation.
F-gas certification body, Refcom, has welcomed new figures released by Defra showing positive steps towards full compliance with the F-Gas regulations. At a recent meeting between F-Gas Support, Defra and Refcom, reports showed that over 70% of businesses hold F-Gas company certification and a quarter of engineers have obtained the new F-Gas qualification. So far 4,438 companies hold F-Gas registration, while 6,723 engineers have full certification. Refcom’s Steve Crocker said: “There have been many conflicting messages regarding the uptake of the F-Gas qualification, but these figures show that overall, the picture is extremely positive. The industry has demonstrated its commitment to compliance and Refcom will continue to work closely with Defra and F-Gas Support leading up to next year’s July deadline.” In addition, the new advisory committee set up by Refcom, comprising of leading industry trade bodies, national end-users, wholesalers and contractors, will supervise both the voluntary Refcom Elite and mandatory F-Gas Certification schemes, and will offer advice on aspects of scheme management and audit matters, ratification of certificates issued and keep accreditation requirements under review. Jo Gradwell, F-Gas Support project manager, commented: “Defra and F-Gas Support recently met with the certification bodies to discuss the best ways of ensuring the industry is compliant – we need to continue to work together to this end. Much still needs to be done before next July when the requirement for full personnel and company certification kicks in.” Mr Crocker added: “The final deadline for full compliance is fast approaching and those who are affected by F-Gas regulations need to adhere to their legal obligations as well as committing to best practice in refrigerant handling.”