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Frequently asked questions on air conditioning systems

How will the directive affect air conditioning systems?

Air Conditioning systems where the total cooling capacity is greater than 12kW (in dwellings and non-dwellings) will be inspected at intervals not exceeding five years.

When will these measures be introduced?

By 4 January 2009 all air conditioning systems over 250kW must have their first inspection, and by 4 January 2011 all air conditioning systems over 12kW must have their first inspection.

Why are these measures being introduced?

An increasing number of commercial buildings and homes have air conditioning systems. These systems should be carefully maintained and managed in order that they do not consume too much energy. This was introduced as part of the EPBD to provide advice on how to improve air-conditioning systems and reduce carbon and energy consumption.

Who can inspect air conditioning systems?

An energy assessor accredited to inspect air conditioning systems

Am I qualified to become an air conditioning assessor/inspector?

The National Occupational Standards are available on the asset skills website. There you can download a copy of the 'Energy Assessors (Air Conditioning Systems).'

Will air conditioning systems in all types of building be inspected?

The trigger for air conditioning systems inspections is the size (effective rated output) of the system not the type of building.

Will similar software to the type which generates EPCs be used?

Inspections follow the convention described in TM44, published by CIBSE. Software is being developed. More information about this will be available on our website shortly.

Is it just commercial buildings affected?

No, the trigger for inspections is size. Any domestic or commercial building with an air conditioning system that has an effective rated output of more than 12kW will need an inspection.

When are inspections required?

All air-conditioning systems with an effective rated output of more than 12kw must be regularly inspected by an Energy Assessor.  The inspections must be a maximum of 5 years apart.
 
The regulations require the first inspection of the affected air-conditioning systems to be carried out as follows:

  • for all systems first put into service on or after 1 January 2008, the first inspection must have taken place within 5 years of the date when it was first put into service
  • for other air-conditioning systems, where the effective rated output is more than 250kW the first inspection must happen by 4 January 2009
  • for other air-conditioning systems, where the effective rated output is more than 12kW the first inspection must happen by 4 January 2011

From the 4 January 2011, if the person in control of the air-conditioning system changes and the new person in control is not given an inspection report, the new person in control of the system must ensure the air-conditioning system is inspected within 3 months of the day that person assumes control of the system.

How often are inspections required?

Inspections will be done at intervals not to exceed five years.

Who is responsible for getting an air con inspection?

The person who controls the technical functioning of the system is responsible for getting the air conditioning system inspected. The person who controls the operation of the system is the person who controls the technical functioning of the system, not someone who does no more than adjust the temperature.

What are the responsibilities of the person who controls the technical functioning of the air conditioning system?

If you control the operation of an air-conditioning system affected by these Regulations, it is your responsibility to:

  • ensure an inspection has been done in accordance with the requirements and timetable of the Regulations
  • keep the most recent inspection report made by an energy assessor
  • give any inspection report kept by you to any person taking over your responsibilities with respect to the control of the air-conditioning system

If you have taken over control of an air-conditioning system from 4 January 2011 and you haven't been given an inspection report, you must ensure the system is inspected within three months of taking over such control.

How can I find an assessor?

Assessors are listed on accreditation scheme websites. A list of accreditation schemes can be found on our accreditation page.

What does the inspection involve?

An energy inspection of an air conditioning system involves a visual assessment of the air conditioning installation. The inspector will examine the equipment and, air movement systems and controls. Additionally, access to plant rooms or rooftop locations will be required. Following the inspection, the inspector will provide a report.

Is a report presented after the inspection?

Yes, a written report will be provided which gives advice and guidance on how to improve the energy efficiency of the system as soon as practicable after the inspection.

Is the advice mandatory?

No, there is no obligation to act on the advice provided in the inspection report. However, if the advice is acted on it is likely that energy consumption and costs will be reduced.

Will air conditioning systems in all types of building be inspected?

The trigger for air conditioning systems inspections is the size (effective rated output) of the system not the type of building.

What does a 'system' mean according to the regulations?

A system is made up of one or more air-conditioning units in a building that are controlled by the one person.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

The penalty for non-compliance will be a fine of £300.

Who is going to make sure (enforcement) my system is tested?

The office of trading standards will be responsible for enforcement. 

How much will an inspection cost?

Inspections costs will vary by accredited assessor. According to the Regulatory Impact Assessment published in 2007 rates for assessors will likely vary between £35-£45 per hour.

Where are inspections registered or stored when they are completed?

Inspections are not lodged centrally. Each scheme is required to maintain a register of reports produced by their assessors. Some schemes may opt to use a central register. One is currently being developed for this purpose.

Is there a certificate that tells me I've had my inspection?

No, after the inspection you will receive a report on your system.

What do I do if I take over a building and don't receive an inspection report from the previous tenant?

If you have taken over control of an air-conditioning system from 4 January 2011 and you haven't been given an inspection report, you must ensure the system is inspected within three months of taking over such control.

What happens if I get a new system installed to accompany my previous system?

The new system will need to be inspected within 5 years of being installed. 

Will a get a reminder when its time to get a new inspection done?

No, it is up to the person controlling the technical functioning of the air-conditioning system to remember to get an inspection every 5 years.

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