F Gas Support has warned that it will actively pursue companies who only hold interim certification after the deadline in July.
According to figures for January, of the 4750 companies which hold certification, only 700 (14 per cent) have full compliance, the rest hold interim documentation.
Ray Gluckman, F Gas Support director, says: “Those who do not attain full certification by July will be committing an offence. We know who currently has interim certification, and those who do not upgrade by the the deadline will be on our radar, and be actively pursued.”
Due to the size and impact of the sector, supermarkets have been priority for F Gas Support in terms of creating awareness of certification.
“We have contacted the top 20 retailers to ensure compliance and assist with any issues that may present themselves in the run up to the deadline. I know one company that has insisted all its contractors are certified by May.”
Peter Terry, Waitrose head of maintenance, says the supermarket has taken a proactive approach to ensure all engineers on site will be compliant.
“To ensure there is no possibility of a discrepancy occurring on-site we employ a systematic approach. As well as clearly communicating the compliance message to our contractors, they have to register their engineers on Waitrose’s asset management system. Furthermore, we conduct spot checks on occasion.”
However, Gluckman admits that certain sectors are harder to track in terms of communicating the deadline message.
“Lower tiers such as the building sector are more difficult to monitor as they number into the thousands and are spread out.
“Furthermore, its less clear who is responsible for ensuring compliance. To counter this we are writing to smaller companies to inform them of the need for certification.”
Gluckman adds that the Environment Agency has a database of companies that could be involved in refrigerant handling, and will be writing to them and asking them prove that their business does not need certification.
F Gas certification company Refcom has already reported that several equipment distributors are refusing business from installers who are not F-Gas registered
Darrel Birkett, managing director, at Sunderland-based Cool Designs Ltd (CDL), a UK distributor for Toshiba, Carrier and Technibel, says: “We believe that manufacturers, wholesalers and agents have a responsibility and duty of care to ensure that only those who are registered with Refcom [or other certification bodies] are allowed to handle, install or repair their equipment.
“As a matter of policy, we will not sell to any business that can’t provide evidence of being F-Gas registered, and I believe this should be a requirement by law. Our policy is not negatively affecting our sales – if anything, it’s marked us out as being committed to high professional standards.”
Refcom Secretary Steve Crocker commented: “Supplying only to F-Gas registered companies and contractors is a great demonstration of professionalism and environmental responsibility. It wouldn’t surprise me if air conditioning manufacturers were looking at this policy as well.