Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Registration scheme prompts more questions than answers

The appointment of a company to manage a mandatory registration scheme remains unresolved even though businesses should be registered by 4 July. It’s one big mess, notes consultant Tim Mathias in his personal take on the rac industry

In the article ‘Hot Topics in cooling’ as produced within the May 2009 issue of RAC, reference is made to ‘Mandatory Refcom Registration by July this year’.

After some research and an email reply from F-Gas Support it seems that while Refcom is the principal choice to operate the scheme, no agreement had been signed as effective 29/05/09, and moreover other interested parties have expressed interest.

We contacted Refcom to notify them on the discrepancy of the statement within the article, on the basis that nobody has been officially appointed to undertake the task, having confirmed the original point with you, and reproducing the F-Gas email in support.

But, we couldn’t help but be struck by the language used in the response: the comments pre-supposed that the appointment of Refcom was inevitable - yet, we all still wait for official confirmation.

So can we assume, therefore, that our notification had little or no significance?

Given the continued advertising from Refcom, it, at least, must believe that its appointment is imminent so should not the details of how the scheme will operate be published and alleviate industry concerns on the matter?

The comparison with our proposed scheme with Corgi seems logical so will we see a major advertising campaign to promote public awareness of the Refcom scheme and what costs will have to be carried by the industry as a result thereof? The process of qualifying engineers and defining them as competent is now well documented so why conduct audits, as is suggested under the Refcom scheme. Doesn’t this represent duplicity?

Having held a similar registration process for some 17 Years Corgi has been usurped recently by Capita Group despite having significantly reduced fatalities during its term.

In the opening paragraph it was noted that companies other than Refcom have expressed interest in operating the scheme so how will this impact on those pre-registered with Refcom?

Whatever mandatory conditions are finally applied, F-Gas could operate as anticipated and yet falter since it fails to recognise commercial considerations. The R22 phase-out, or as the British Refrigeration Association notes, the lack of phase-out, is clear evidence that a voluntary scheme is not achieving projected results. Whilst the HVAC(R) industry generally is in the spotlight both in terms of F-Gas and other potential changes brought on via legislation.

For example, the Carbon Trust Report (GIR092) noted that 20 per cent of electrical production is used in lighting, so do we really need to illuminate national monuments, shopping centres or tourist venues late into the evening?

Energy Performance Certificates or Air-Conditioning Inspections or Smart Meters in every home will provide the potential for emission reduction. This said it might well be argued that the underlying issue remains balancing the need for emission reduction against the needs of the populus.

Clarifying F-Gas issues will help alleviate current industry concerns, but those that seek to legislate this sector must extend their scope of activities if they intend to overcome the problems facing all of us.