Defra and F-Gas Support are set for vital talks with the F-Gas certification bodies following the certification deadline at the beginning of July.
July 4th saw registration body Refcom suspend 2,384 active interim companies, together with a total of 5,844 engineers.
The organisation said it had 2,182 active companies with full certification on its books at the cut-off date, accounting for 9,490 engineers. It’s estimated there are more than 20,000 engineers who need to qualify.
Refcom has said full certification numbers have increased post-deadline but that official figures will not be released until after the scheduled meeting with Defra.
F-Gas certification body Quidos reported just 95 companies on interim certification by 4 July. However, this has been reduced to 81 at the time of going to press.
Defra said: “The latest figures towards June suggested about 18,700 were fully certificated.
Regarding company numbers, the most recent estimate suggests around 5,000-5,500 work in the RAC sector. “The last update from certification bodies suggested
about 4,700 held a certificate.”
Ray Gluckman, a director at F-Gas Support, the Defra business support unit set up to provide guidance for manufacturers, operators, contractors and others that make, sell or handle F-Gases, said: “The important 4 July 2011 deadline has now arrived - this date has consequences for all individuals and companies that carry out installation work and maintenance on refrigeration equipment using HFC refrigerants.
“Uptake of the new qualifications and full certificates has been good for the majority of contractors in the industry. Perhaps inevitably, there has been a last-minute rush and training providers and certification bodies have been very busy over the past few weeks.
“Over the next few weeks it will become clear as to how many companies have successfully made the move to full certification. Now F-Gas Support will focus on identifying those that haven’t taken action, using the information from certification bodies to challenge those that had an interim company certificate as to why they
don’t have a full company certificate. Any companies working without a full certificate can expect a visit from the regulator.”
However, Quidos has said it has previously requested Defra to take a tougher approach to compliance within the industry, engaging with local trading standards to enforce regulations. In respect to the forthcoming meeting, it said: “We hope to hear more news on exactly how enforcement of the F-Gas regulations will take place. “While we believe this meeting should certainly have been sooner, we hope this will be a step in the right direction.”
See August RAC magazine for more on F-Gas