Simple Guide to Air Conditioning Inspections

The UK’s buildings are responsible for 50% of carbon emissions and energy consumption. This prompted the Government to act on reducing emissions from as many sources as possible. There are innovations being introduced all the time to reduce the impact of carbon emissions on the planet. Electric cars, increased use of public transport, bio fuels, catalytic converters, reduction of fossil fuel usage have become quite the norm as the public have embraced green awareness. However, there is still a long way to go and so the initiative for air conditioning inspections was introduced.

Although we have covered the legislation in other posts, we revisit it here in order to provide a simple overview so individuals and building owners can see if the legislation affects them.

What is the new legislation?

The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) Regulations 2007 include making inspections for air conditioning systems compulsory, with varying requirements for different systems.

How does it affect my building?

All buildings with air conditioning units totalling 12kw are affected. This includes commercial, domestic, and public buildings.

Units that require inspection conform to the following criteria:

  • Units that total 250kw require an inspection certificate now (and should have had one by January 2009)
  • Units that total 12kw require an inspection certificate by the 4th January 2011
  • If the unit was installed after the 1st January 2008, you will need to have a first inspection before its 5th year of operation.

How can I tell if my air conditioning unit totals 12kw?

12kw units are often wall, door, or ceiling mounted. Wall mounted units are generally between 1500mm and 2500mm wide and are among the smallest systems available. These air conditioning units often appear in shops as air curtains mounted above entrances to blow cool air onto customers as they enter the store.

Ceiling mounted units are smaller still and are linked to much larger outdoor-based units. These can be around 840mm and sit flush to the ceiling.

“Totals” as defined by the EPB Regulations, is the sum of “all the components required providing a form of air treatment in which the temperature is controlled or can be lowered, and includes systems which combine such air treatment with the control of ventilation, humidity, and air cleanliness”.

This means, for example, that if you have three 4kw units all in the same building, you must have an inspection.

What does the inspection involve?

The inspection is a health check on the system, to see how efficient it is and how it could be improved to lower energy usage and emissions. It could also lead to lower operating costs, and the inspector will give advice on whether a newer, more efficient system would be more suitable for your premises. After your initial inspection, it is a requirement of the legislation that you have regular inspections at least every 5 years after that.

Who will carry out the inspection?

Inspection reports are only valid if carried out by an accredited energy assessor who is also a current member of an approved accreditation scheme. Contact us and we will be delighted to perform your inspection and guide you through each step.

Is an inspection necessary?

It is mandatory to comply with the legislation, so the inspection is necessary. If you have recently been given the responsibility of controlling an air conditioning unit but you have not been provided with an inspection report, you must schedule an inspection within three months of being given the responsibility.

What happens if I do not have an inspection?

There is a fixed £300 penalty for non-compliance, which is likely to increase soon with government changes and environmental policies getting stricter.

Check your buildings insurance as standard buildings insurance policies may not pay out claims on a property that does not comply with mandatory legislation, including air conditioning inspections, so do not overlook this aspect of your building management.


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