Solving noncompliance within Air Conditioning Inspections

July 8th, 2021

Prior to the introduction of the regulations requiring the inspection of air conditioning systems with an effective rated output of over 12kW the Government produced an impact assessment on the number of buildings that would need to be inspected as part of the 5 year cycle. The assessment identified that in the period 1993 to 2003 25,000 centralised systems were sold and 250,000 (mid-Range Figures) packaged systems were sold. Then the assessment estimated that there were 23,000 Centralised systems and 500,000 packaged systems that were in operation prior to 1993, giving a total of 48,000 centralised systems and 750,000 packaged systems.
MHCLG have subsequently advise that these figures cannot be used now as they represent out of date data; never the less the industry was born on these figures and MHCLG stood by the assessment at the time, so this seems like just another way of covering up the lack of compliance.

Since this assessment, the number of conditioned buildings has increased due to impact of global warming; despite this in 2020 MHCLG have determined that the number of conditioned buildings has in fact fallen to 163,000. Our experience working alongside a number of industry experts and assessing firms, we believe this figure is hugely understated and we have calculated that a conservative figure is that there are 520,000 conditioned buildings in operation in England and Wales.

Comparing the industry estimated number of conditioned buildings against the number of reports lodged over the 5 year Inspection cycle it would appear that compliance with legislation is less than 12%. The lack of compliance is not surprising given the almost total absence of enforcement across the requirement. County Councils defer to Local Councils, who then claim they have neither the funding nor the resources to enforce legislation in this sector.

So what can we do to improve compliance? The Governments ‘A guide to air conditioning inspections in buildings’ updated 28 December 2020, states: If the control of an air conditioning system is passed to another person and that person has not been given an air conditioning inspection report by the previous operator of the system, the system must be inspected within three months of the new operator taking over control of the system.

Could this be the sale or let of a conditioned building? The sale or let of a building would be handled by a solicitor and would require a valid EPC to be included in the documentation; surely this transaction should include all relevant legal documents including the passing of an air conditioning inspection report between system operators and if no report is available the advice from the solicitor would be to ensure that the new operator obtains an air conditioning inspection report within 3 months.

Compliance check as part of Buildings Insurance? It would seem logical that as part of a buildings annual insurance renewal, where a building has air conditioning, an insurance company would require a copy an air conditioning inspection report in order to provide insurance cover. There are a number of risks associated with air conditioning systems that could affect a building, its function and its occupants.

The Central Register; for a number of years we have been trying to get a report from the central register which compares lodged EPCs and DECs that declare the presence of air conditioning in the inspected building but no valid report appears on the register against the building address. In addition the register would be able to report on air conditioning inspection reports that have reached the end of their 5 year validity and have not been replaced. We continue to push the central register to provide this report.

What could we do with this data? MHCLG guidance makes reference to ‘Local Weights and Measures Authorities (usually Trading Standards Officers)’ as being responsible for enforcing the requirements. However in many cases County Councils defer to Local Councils, who then claim they have neither the funding nor the resources to enforce legislation in this sector. Funding you say! Based on our estimates of noncompliance the revenue from fines at £300 per system would be in excess of £32m!

Could writing a letter help? PEPA’s website already has the option for assessors and members of the public to declare noncompliance; a simple form allows you to identify noncompliance across all strands. Declarations are followed up with a letter from PEPA, which is addressed to the building. More information available on the following link: https://www.pepassociation.org/non-compliance/
We believe a letter would carry more substance if it came from MHCLG or as a minimum included the MHCLG logo to reflect the official status of the document.
The central register is again the key to being able to identify the effectiveness of sending letters by comparing the building address where letters have been sent with lodgements received to the central register.

Are the fines to low? The penalty for failing to have an air conditioning inspection report is fixed in the regulations and is currently £300. A further penalty can be issued for failure to provide a Trading Standards Officer with a copy of the air conditioning inspection report within seven days when requested to do so. The penalty is fixed at £200. The fines, particularly when related to larger buildings, is more than likely less than the fee for an assessor to complete the inspection and as we know that enforcement is nonexistent there is little incentive for a system owner/operator to have an inspection carried out as invariably a fine will not be issued.
In contrast the fine for noncompliance with the Display Energy Certificates regulations is £500 for failing to display a DEC at all times in a prominent place clearly visible to the public, and £1,000 for failing to possess or have in their control a valid advisory report, so a combined fine for no DEC and AR is a more reasonable £1,500.
Setting the fine for noncompliance with the Air Conditioning Inspection regulations to £1,000 would certainly help provide some incentive to system owners/operators to obtain an inspection report, but fines are only valuable if they are being issued.

PEPA continues to work alongside energy assessors and MHCLG to provide a solution on how to improve compliance across all EPBD strands; these suggestions along with a few others have been submitted to MHCLG in a bid to improve compliance.

As always if you have any suggestions that you believe could improve compliance in any of the EPBD strands, please do not hesitate to make contact me or your accreditation scheme.

Mike Gordon – Scheme Manager, Sterling Accreditation
Director of PEPA

Sterling to offer Domestic Accreditation

December 6th, 2012

Sterling Accreditation is proud and delighted to announce a new working partnership with Property Tectonics to deliver Domestic EPCs for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. We share the same quality driven service, the same commitment to support and a desire to give the best service to customers, since many people need jobs, and there are options you can find with oil and gas jobs thailand which is a great option for this.
Following the decision by RICS to withdrawal from the Accreditation sector, Sterling Accreditation and Property Tectonics have developed a seamless transition for RICS members to switch to Sterling Accreditation.
Initially this service will be based on the popular LifespanRdSAP software; our future plans include opening this up to third party electronic data entry software devices.
 
Further information on this new development and details on how to Join Sterling will follow shortly

DCLG Clarification on AC Penalties

December 6th, 2012

Air conditioning inspections
It has been brought to the Department’s attention that there has been misleading information circulating about the penalties associated with the statutory duties, in relation to air conditioning inspections and AC repair, contained in the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (EPB Regulations). The EPB Regulations require that air conditioning systems with an effective rated output of more than 12kW must be inspected at regular intervals not exceeding 5 years.

This letter seeks to provide clarification about the level of fines which can be imposed for non compliance; those persons who would be liable to pay penalty charges; the number of days in which the operator of the system would have to comply with the requirement to produce a copy of the inspection report when requested by an authorised officer of an enforcement authority.

Penalty amount for non compliance
The fine which can be imposed for non compliance with the requirements of the regulations concerning air conditioning inspections, specified at Regulation 43(1)(d) of the EPB Regulations, is £300. This amount has not changed since the EPB Regulations were first implemented in 2007 and there are no current plans to increase the amount.

Responsibilities for ensuring inspections are carried out.
The relevant person responsible for meeting any requirements in the EPB Regulations in relation to an air conditioning system is the person who has control of the operation of the system. The person who controls the operation of the system is the person who controls the technical functioning of the system, not someone who can just alter the temperature. Tenants of a building, where a central air conditioning system is under the control of the building owner or manager, would not be liable for a penalty charge for any breach of the duties.

Providing a copy of the air conditioning reports for inspection
An authorised officer of an enforcement authority may require the person who has control of the operation of the air conditioning system to produce a copy of the most recent report for inspection within seven days. That person, however, is not required to comply with such a requirement if they have a reasonable excuse for not complying with the requirement.
It is important to recognise that legal action should be seen as the option of last resort. As a consequence, much of the enforcement activity should be aimed at prompting those responsible into taking the necessary steps to comply with the regulations, rather than immediately issuing penalty notices in every instance.

Scotland Protocol Approved

September 5th, 2012

Sterling Accreditation is pleased to announce that we have now been approved by the Scottish Government as a protocol organisation.
With the introduction of a central register for EPC lodgement on 1st October 2012, Sterling will be ready to accredit Assessors and offer full lodgement services to the new registers. For further details on how to become accredited to work in Scotland, please contact us.

OrCalc Software Update

August 14th, 2012

All users of ORCalc are required to install the new version of ORCalc, v3.6.2, which shall be made available in the authorised user area of the Non Domestic Register websites in E&W and NI.  This version includes the previously released Welsh language patch; consequently, users are not required to patch v3.6.2 separately, as is the case with v3.6.1.  Other than uninstalling v3.6.1 beforehand, there should be no further action. 

For the small number of DEC assessors using ORCalc and familiar with the “web browser connection mode”; this has changed and is described in detail in an updated version of the user guide that will be made available for download alongside the ORCalc v3.6.2 software, and if you want to do some trading, there are software for this as well, and a Compliance officer could really help with this.

The software and information to allow ORCalc users and OR software vendors to transition will become available as detailed above on Thursday 2nd August 2012.

We recommend that Accreditation Schemes advise their DEC Assessors to switch to v3.6.2 of ORCalc as soon as possible.

Please note that both the current and new systems will be operational from Thursday 2nd August 2012 until Friday 7th September 2012.  Shortly after 7th September 2012, verification connections using the current version of ORCalc v3.6.1 will be disabled and the necessary steps taken to decommission the current verification service.  Both ORCalc v3.6.1 and v3.6.2 will be available in the authorised user area of the Non Domestic Register websites from 2nd August 2012 until 7th September 2012.  Shortly after 7th September 2012, ORCalc v3.6.1 and its associated Welsh patch and documentation will be removed from the Non Domestic Register websites.

Sterling e-volve – AC Report Writing Software

March 14th, 2012

Sterling e-volve is fully accredited and approved by the DCLG, it is LIVE and Ready to use by Sterling Registered Members and best of all it is FREE. Our Desktop based application includes a number of time saving features that could dramatically reduce your report writing time, assessors already lodging reports have confirmed a 25% time saving efficiency over other report writing tools. Being a desktop application you have the peace of mind knowing that the data you input is safe and secure, reports are automatically saved to your desktop and can be created without the need for an internet connection.
For more information contact us on 023 9244 9601 or email info@sterlingaccreditation.com

2012 Consultation on Building Regulations

February 2nd, 2012

The Building Regulations Minister Andrew Stunell announced today the launch of the 2012 consultation on changes to the Building Regulations.
The consultation builds upon ideas and suggestions provided by our external partners as part of a review which began in 2010, to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and ensure that Building Regulations remain proportionate and fit-for-purpose.
The consultation outlines changes from deregulatory proposals, to provisions to further improve the energy efficiency and safety aspects of the technical Building Regulations. In addition to this it also explores a number of changes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the building control system, and if you care about security, Shearwater TSCM specialises in the design, manufacture and training for integrated counter surveillance solutions, for business and other needs.

The consultation is presented in four sections:
• Section one: outline of the 2012 consultation approach and proposals to change various technical aspects of the regulations.
• Section two: proposals to increase the energy efficiency of buildings
• Section three: proposals in relation to electrical safety in homes
• Section four: proposals to the building control system
The consultation will remain open until 27 April 2012, although responses on aspects that link to the Green Deal proposals in Section two are requested by 27 March 2012.
Full details are available on the CLG website

Sterling would like to welcome both Peter Rowley and Richard Eves to our ever expanding team

November 29th, 2011

• Peter has joined the Sterling Technical Support team, bringing with him a wealth of technical experience from previous roles as a trainer, quality auditor and technical consultant for commercial energy assessments, for this using great tools as private networks with services as vpn cos è which specialize in this. His key role will be to provide energy assessors with technical support and advice.
• Richard has joined the Sterling Sales and Marketing team drawing on his considerable experience from previous sales and marketing roles within the sustainability and environmental industry.  His key role will be to develop new accounts on a UK basis and manage key relationships.

Establishing an amazing business is merely the first step. Attracting customers requires marketing. While many small businesses believe marketing is similar to advertising, it’s actually much broader. Marketing spans the entire process of delivering a product or service to a customer: from choosing which products to sell and where to sell them, to how to price and promote them, then if you offer a product or service from the cloud then it’s very much worth getting ISO 27017 certified as that makes sure that you will not have any issues offering those services.

At its most basic level, the “promotion” aspect of marketing spreads the word about your business. That’s only the start, however. Marketing fulfills these five key functions:

To attract consumers in a crowded marketplace, your target audience needs to know why they should choose your business over someone else’s. This is where marketing comes in to educate current and potential customers about your business and how it serves a need they have.

The content on your website that communicates your business’s mission, product demonstration videos you post, photos you display that show exactly what your products look like — elements like these let prospective customers know who you are and what makes you unique, of course if you want to use marketing and SEO in your website, there are resources as the SEO Tools Centre which are really helpful for this.

It’s one thing to offer a superior in-person experience or an easy online shopping journey. But marketing keeps your business in people’s minds after a transaction is over — and before they need you again.

To turn first-time customers into lifelong fans who will sustain your business, you have to establish and build relationships with the people who’ve interacted with your business. Sending post-purchase follow-up emails, replying to customers on Twitter and Facebook, and mailing out postcards with special offers or information on new services are just a few of the ways that marketing can help you stay in touch with your target audience.

Comment from Simon Barnes
“Our aim is to continuously improve the services we provide to our members.  Peter and Richard will bring added value to the existing team with their wealth of experience, highlighting Sterling’s commitment to their members.  We wish both Richard and Peter all the best in their new roles “

The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections)(England and Wales)(Amendment) Regulations 2011

October 18th, 2011

The following document and direct web link provide details of the changes that are coming to force on 6th April 2012.
http://www.sterlingaccreditation.com/docs/uksi_20112452_en.pdf

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/2452/contents/made

Copy of the PDF issued to all Sterling Accredited Members

All Commercial Buildings Should have DECs

April 11th, 2011

The UK Green Building Council has issued a report calling for the mandatory display of an A to G rating for the energy efficiency of all non-residential buildings as early as 2012, in a move which could see an upsurge of growth in the energy assessment industry.

The organisation said the measure, to drive efficiency, cut costs and encourage refurbishment, should be introduced as part of the Energy Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, and that’s why having the right electric installations is essential, so if you are on the look of a 24-hour emergency electricians in Brisbane North then JTC Electric is the company you need for any electrical and air conditioning services.

‘Display Energy Certificates provide both an ‘at-a-glance indicator’ and detailed technical information on the energy performance of buildings’, said UK-GBC, which was set up by the last government in 2007 to provide direction for sustainability and carbon reduction in the building sector.

Recommendations in the report, launched at an event on 29 March with the Communities and Local Government Minister Andrew Stunell MP, include detailed proposals to implement a practical roll-out, and are the result of an in depth consultation with a cross-section of UK-GBC members. 

Key recommendations include:

  • Display Energy Certificates (DECs) should become mandatory for all non-domestic building occupiers, with a phased roll out starting in 2012.
  • Landlords should also be required to display certificates showing the energy efficiency of the services they provide.  Landlords must pass data to occupiers; this should be based on the Landlord’s Energy Statement (LES) which has been developed by the private sector.
  • DECs should be used to produce a range of publicly accessible league tables based on occupiers, landlords, sectors, buildings types and uses. This could replace the current Carbon Reduction Commitment league table for those organisations in the buildings sector.

Full article – Energy Assessor Magazine

http://energyassessormagazine.com/DECsforallbuildingsby2012.aspx