Air Conditioning Inspections

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The Law

The EU introduced the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive in 2003. The UK Government followed with the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) Regulation in 2007.

Air-conditioning uses a large amount of grid electricity which gives rise to high CO2 and is one of the major factors behind rapid global climate change

What is an Air-conditioning Inspection?

The inspection’s sole focus is to seek improvements in energy efficiency. This will result in lower energy bills for the occupier and reduced CO2 emissions. The system is thoroughly inspected by an accredited engineer.

Recommendations are then made to improve the operation of the system. We often find that we can recommend no cost or low cost solutions to quickly reduce running costs by at least 10% as a direct result of our inspection.

Timing

For new systems put into service after 1 January 2008, the first inspection must take place within 5 years of when it was first commissioned.

Larger systems with an output over 250 kW (approx 25,000 sq ft office building) must have been inspected by 4 January 2009.

Small and medium sized systems with an output greater than 12 kW (approx 2,000 sq ft office or retail unit) must have been inspected by 4 January 2011.

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

The inspections must be carried out every 5 years, as a minimum.

Responsibility

The legal responsibility to have the inspection carried out lies with the person who controls the technical functioning of the system. For multi-let buildings, such as offices and shopping centres, this is usually the tenant’s responsibility. The inspection must be carried out by an independent consultant who recommends cost effective improvements.

Exempt situations

An air-conditioning system refers to any system where refrigeration is used to provide cooling for the comfort of the occupiers. This excludes separate cooling systems provided solely for process applications such as cold stores. These systems do not have to be inspected as part of this regulation.

Non compliance

The regulation is policed by local Trading Standard officers and financial penalties will be issued to landlords and tenants who fail to have their air-conditioning systems inspected. Solicitors are starting to request sight of the document before they complete property transactions. Since this is environmental legislation companies and organisations could suffer reputation problems for failing to comply.