The need for full certification

We are hopefully waving goodbye to a long cold winter and looking forward to a hot summer; great for sun lovers and for keeping the air conditioning working. But if you work with refrigeration and air conditioning equipment there is one extra thing to be concerned with this summer.

By 4 July 2011, all personnel working on refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump systems containing HFC refrigerants, must obtain a full qualification that meets the minimum requirements specified in the EC F gas Regulation. In addition, all organisations employing personnel with these skills will need a Full Company Certificate.

Under the GB F gas Regulations (SI 261/2009) it will be an offence to carry out installation, servicing and maintenance on refrigeration and air-conditioning systems using HFCs without a Full Company Certificate after July 4 2011.
This means there is a lot of work to do, since as of January only 15 per cent of refrigeration companies have obtained a full certificate.      
Of course the level of uptake at the moment doesn’t tell the full story as much training may be required before an organisation is in a position to gain a full certificate. Despite this low level of uptake we are still seeing some major organisations demanding a full certificate in advance of the deadline.
You need to make sure you and your contractors are up-to-speed with the requirements and you have a full Company Certificate and copies of your contractors full Company Certificates by July 2011.

What you need to do

First you need to ensure that your engineers are all fully qualified. The relevant qualifications for equipment containing 3 kg or more HFC refrigerant are:
•    City and Guilds Level 2079-11
•    Construction Skills, CITB J11

If you have not already done so, now is the time to book your employees on the relevant course. Places are filling fast as the deadline looms. If you are struggling to find a training provider, or require further information from the training providers, you should contact City & Guilds (020 7294 2800, who have a course finder facility where you enter your postcode to find courses available near to you. You can also contact Construction Skills CITB (0844 844 0046,

Company Certification
Once you have your engineers fully qualified you still need to obtain a full Company Certificate. These can be obtained from any of the following providers: Refcom, Bureau Veritas, Quidos and Stroma (available from Mid March onwards).
It may be worth talking to your chosen certification body in advance as they will be able to give advice on timescales or pre-registration procedures. If you are struggling to meet the deadline, for example if some of your engineers fail their training, you might be able to use the temporary training exemption.

Temporary Training Exemption

Personnel who do not hold a full stationary equipment qualification by 4 July 2011 might be able to make use of the temporary training exemption in Regulation 20(3) of the GB F gas Regulation (SI 261/2009). The exemption allows someone who is enrolled on a course to gain one of the required qualifications, to continue to work under the supervision of someone that holds a valid qualification.  
Finally, if you are still not sure of what you need to do, or how to do it, F-Gas Support are here to help. F-Gas Support is a government funded team that can provide help and guidance with the EC F gas and Ozone Regulations.
F Gas Support has a website where information sheets can be downloaded and receives many questions from engineers who have concerns about qualifications and Company Certification. They also get many queries about the recast EC Ozone Regulation or interpretation of the EC F gas Regulation. Queries tend to be answered in writing usually within 24 to 48 hours.

For more information:

Helpline: 0161 874 3663