Building owners face fines

Owners of buildings with air-conditioning systems are being urged to adhere to new inspection legislation or face fines. HVCA subsidiary, BESCA, warns that many owners are unaware of the European Union’s Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) and legislation in the UK requiring all air-conditioning systems of more than 12kW to be inspected, regardless of whether the system is in a commercial or domestic property.

Two deadlines have been set and the first has already passed: The regulations state that first inspections of all existing air-conditioning systems over 250kW must have occurred by 4 January 2009. This means that thousands of property owners who have not carried out inspections face fines of £300, according to Communities and Local Government, as they may be in violation of the new rules. First inspections of all remaining air-conditioning systems over 12kW must have occurred by 4 January 2011.

The regulations also state that it is illegal to sell or let any commercial building without a current, valid air-conditioning inspection report covering all installed, in-scope air conditioning equipment.

These reports must be issued by Energy Assessors, accredited by schemes such as that run by BESCA.

Bob Towse, Head of Technical and Safety at the HVCA, said: “Building corporations and large office blocks have been seeking air conditioning inspections, fully aware of the legislation. However, the middle ground and bottom end of the commercial market is still largely unaware.

“The legal threat and the risk of fines make it sound daunting. But in fact, this is an opportunity for building owners to learn how to run energy efficient buildings, saving running costs and reducing carbon emissions. Building owners should be able to turn to the people who maintain the air-conditioning systems to carry out the inspections.

“How long the inspection will take and how much it will cost depends on the size of the system, but owners can reduce the time and cost by ensuring they have facts to hand, such as energy data, floor plans and building information.”

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