Up to 95 per cent of air conditioning systems have not been inspected within mandatory time limits, according to a recently published report.
The Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES) report highlights a continuing lapse by companies and organisations which operate air conditioning systems on their premises.
According to the B&ES, only five per cent of all air conditioning systems have been inspected within the first five years of their working life. All units installed prior to 2011 should have had at least one inspection by now.
Noting that the entire inspection system is shambolic from top to bottom, contractor AirConUK is calling on the Government to streamline the regulations to allow companies to register cheap, straightforward reports on their systems through registered inspectors working in the commercial sector.
“It might come as a shock to many building owners that they actually need their air conditioning systems inspecting at all,” said AirConUK’s Jonathan Ratcliffe, “Even local authorities who have responsibility to check are not doing so.”
However, the complexity of the regulations and nightmare bureaucracy involved in the government’s implementation of the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive means that it often costs twice as much to arrange for an inspection and lodge the paperwork than the fines for not bothering at all.
“The maximum fine for failing to lodge your inspection report is £300,” said Ratcliffe, “but the system is such a dog’s dinner it costs far more than that in fees and wasted man hours.”
AirConUK.co.uk calls on the government to streamline the system to allow simple filing of reports which can be held ready for inspection by recognised industry-employed inspectors.
Jonathan Ratcliffe says: “This government might be tempted to scrap the scheme altogether, citing its failure, and that’s a very bad message to put across.
“Regular maintenance means that air conditioning units are running to maximum efficiency, making them kinder to the environment. Dumping the inspection regime will be another nail in the coffin for this coalition that once touted itself as the ‘greenest government in history’.”
The message AirConUK has for the coalition, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and the rest of the air conditioning industry is this: “Let’s reboot the entire inspection scheme and start again. We can make this thing work and save the country money.”