What are Air conditioning Inspections?

aci-report-picAll Air Conditioning Inspections Reports should have been complete by January 2011 in England and Wales; January 2012 in Scotland. If you do not have a report by now you face a £300 fine on each “space” that you occupy and control. If you are a tenant in a multi occupier building, and control your own system, then you need a TM44 straight away.The trigger for an air conditioning inspection is the size (effective rated output) of the system not the type of building and so the measures apply to homes, commercial and public buildings. TM44 also applies to parts of a building if there are separate controls (for instance a shopping centre).

The inspection done by an Accredited Assessor will include an assessment of efficiency, a review of the a/c system sizing and advice on efficiency, improvements, replacements or alternative solutions. The TM44 changes at times, Alpine analyse any changes and through their CPD programme ensure that all Assessments are valid using the latest version of TM44.

Many commercial buildings and an increasing number of homes have air conditioning systems. These systems should be carefully maintained and managed in order that they consume the minimum amount of energy possible. We also look at R22 and other banned gas replacement programmes whilst undertaking the air conditioning inspection.

What is the TM44 Inspection of Air Conditioning Systems?

“For those wanting to understand more about their responsibilities on air conditioning inspection Reports the bible has got to be TM44; Inspection of Air Conditioning Systems, this provides guidance on carrying out the required air conditioning inspections. Building Energy managers should at least take time to read the introductory section 1 and the explanatory section 6, its worth the cost to any person about to place a large order, or ask us of course, we will explain what is necessary.

Why are Air Conditioning reports required?

This is all part of the European Performance of Buildings Directive and all relevant building owners/managers must comply. Having your Air-Conditioning system inspected by an approved Energy Assessor is designed to improve efficiency and reduce the electricity consumption, operating costs and carbon emissions from your AC system. Energy inspections will highlight improvements to the operation of your existing systems or opportunities to replace older, less energy efficient or oversized systems with new energy efficient AC systems.

As the replacement of refrigerant is restricted in older AC systems there is an additional incentive to improve or replace older systems with more modern energy efficient AC units.

Building owners or managers who control air-conditioning systems have statutory obligations and duties of care under the new EPBD regulations in respect of the operation and maintenance of their AC system.

Inspection, maintenance and cleaning programmes maintain the ability of the system to provide healthy and comfortable environments for building occupants, limiting the escape of refrigerant gases and ensuring the safety of equipment. The practices and procedures needed to achieve these aims should be applied more regularly than the time scales set out in the EPBD AC regulations, professional good practice being an important factor in long term maintenance of Air Conditioning systems.

All air conditioning systems with an effective rated output of more than 12kw need inspecting now to ensure compliance before the rush

Why Use ALPINE?

Alpine are a leading National supplier of Building Compliance Certification, we also work as preferred suppliers to many major National clients.

We have in place Professional Indemnity Insurance to the value of £5million, one of the highest in our market; this is here to ensure you are protected at a level appropriate to a top class client.

Each and every one of our assessors has been security screened and CRB checked to ensure that we provide you with the highest calibre and integrity of individuals acting on your instruction. This has given Alpine an excellent reputation in our market.

Our assessors are fully trained via our own process, which enables us to control the quality of training and work, providing them with regular updates and we control the whole collation process from first instruction to certificate delivery. This will give you the confidence knowing that it will be our nominated assessor name which will appears on the certificate, not someone you have never heard of. Using a team like ours, ensures consistency of processes, essential for portfolio work.

To support the process, we have a team of full time auditors who continually check and assess the work being carried out to ensure that you can be sure of the accuracy and quality of the test certificate that we issue to you.

Using our own highly developed integrated workflow management system (WMS), we plan, instruct monitor and complete every inspection ensuring that these are delivered to you in the most cost effective and efficient way possible. There is a seamless flow of operation from your initial instruction to you receiving the completed certificate.

Importantly to both of us is the security of our inspectors whilst on site and travelling to appointments; we have a ‘Lone Worker’ policy that ensures the safety of all our lone workers and provides you with the confidence that we are a professional and caring organisation.

As all of our assessors will be working in their local regions, this keeps travelling to a minimum, reducing vehicle usage which helps us improve our green footprint whilst conducting the surveys for you. In addition, the assessors will know local traffic conditions and the surrounding geography so will be able to plan the most effective routes to each and every survey.

Featured News


NEW ENERGY INEFFICIENCY REGULATIONS for Non Domestic Buildings presented to Parliament – Require an E Rating.

The new regulations (including EPC ratings) that make it illegal for landlords to rent out the most energy inefficient buildings from April 2018 have now been presented to Parliament and Landlords better make sure that they have buildings with a minimum performance grade of an EPC E say ACI Reports.

From April 2018, landlords will be required by law to get their most inefficient buildings to an energy efficiency rating of at least Band “E”, evidenced by an up to date Energy Performance Certificate. This first week of February the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), (which includes the “Grade E”) regulations to Parliament. This includes the private rented sector minimum energy efficiency standard regulations (non-domestic) and a similar set of regulations for domestic buildings.

Buildings that score an E rating in today’s calculations could be downgraded to an F rating by the time the regulations come into force, since EPC scoring gets progressively tighter as building regulations become more stringent over time. The regulations will apply upon the granting of a lease to a new tenant, and a lease to an existing tenant. The penalties for non-compliance could be as high as £150,000 per property and include:

£5,000 for failing to comply with a compliance notice, or for providing false/misleading information.

For less than 3 months of non-compliance the penalty is 10% of the rateable value, with a minimum penalty of £5,000 and a maximum penalty of £50,000. Non-compliance will be published.

For 3 months or more of non-compliance the penalty is 20% of rateable value, with a minimum penalty of £10,000 and a maximum penalty of £150,000. Non-compliance will be published.

Landlords should be reviewing their properties now to identify which properties will need refurbishment in order to achieve a minimum Band “E” EPC rating by April 2018. This will enable them plan any works and investment needed in good time.

Alpine have been undertaking high volume EPC conformance checks on Non-Domestic building portfolios for Landlords who are forward thinking, for some time now. Portfolio owners are advised to check the gradings of their building stock and commence an improvement programme or at least budget for improvements. We also undertake cost benefit checks to ascertain which measures are the most cost effective in improving the Grade.

ISO 14001 Revision Gathers Momentum

alpine facilities servicesAlpine are able to reveal that the revision of ISO 14001, the international environmental management system standard, is set to progress to the next stage with the latest overwhelmingly positive ballot on the latest draft. This brings in more Environmental influence and will mean that more ISO14001 Auditors will pull up Companies that do not have a TM44 Air Conditioning Inspection on all their air conditioning equipment, leading to Air Conditioning Assessments being in place.

Welcoming the strong support within the international standards community for moving the revision of ISO 14001 to a draft international standard (DIS), Martin Baxter, Executive Director – Policy at IEMA and the UK’s appointed expert on the current revision to ISO 14001 said: “We’re delighted with the overwhelmingly positive ballot on moving the revision forward. The changes being proposed are significant, integrating environmental management into organisational strategy and decision-making and adding further emphasis on improving environmental performance.”

IEMA is actively engaged in the revision of the standard and published its position statement setting out key issues that need to be addressed. In developing its position, IEMA’s member survey of environment and sustainability professionals showed that:

Over 90% supported proposals for aligning environmental management systems with an organisation’s strategy;
Over 84% supported placing greater emphasis on reducing environmental impacts across the whole life-cycle of products and services including supply chains and in the development and use of products and services;
92% considered that ISO 14001 needs to strengthen requirements on organisations to demonstrate their legal compliance and environmental performance improvements;
88.5% believe that IS0 14001 should require organisations to consider impacts from a changing environment. Organisations face growing risks from scarcity of natural resources to a changing climate, such as flooding. ISO 14001 should provide a framework for organisations to manage the risks and maximise opportunities from a changing environment, helping them to safeguard the future of their business and deliver environmental improvements.

In its annual survey of certifications, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) confirmed significant growth in the number of ISO 14001 environmental management system certificates at the end of 2012, up 9% on the previous year to 285,844.

The next meeting of the international working group that is drafting the standard will be held from 25th February to 1st March to consider the comments submitted during the latest consultation.

ACI Reports, the UKs largest supplier of TM44 Air Conditioning Assessments has been warning Companies that hold the ISO 14001 Certification that they will be served a default notice if they do not have their TM44s in place. It is illegal to not have the required A/C reports when the systems require them.

(ESOS) Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme update

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced the results of its consultation for the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)

alpine facilities servicesAlpine can report that on 27th June, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced the results of its consultation for the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), which includes using registered lead energy assessors, which ACI Reports can provide. ESOS is the UK’s way to implement Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, and introduces mandatory energy audits for non-SMEs. ESOS is expected to result in cost benefits of £1.6bn to the 9,400 participating businesses.

The ESOS Regulations, which were laid in parliament on 26th June 2014 require that the lead ESOS energy assessors be sourced from existing schemes with set qualifications. This applies to all non-SMEs that are not public bodies, and covers energy used in buildings, transport and industrial processes.

All participants must produce results for an ESOS-compliant assessment by December 5th 2015 and will continue the scheme in four year phases. Existing energy management assessments such as ISO50001, Display Energy Certificates (DECs) with Advisory Reports and Green Deal Assessments can provide compliance or part compliance. Unless you have a certified ISO50001 energy management system that covers your whole organisation, or the group of organisations with whom you are participating, you will also need a lead auditor to review your overall compliance with ESOS. Alpine can provide the services and Consultancy to cover off the requirement.

Alpine are independent and include mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements to ensure that their competence, skills and knowledge are current, as required for ESOS.

The timetable, regulations and associated guidance is now available.  The Environment Agency will administer ESOS alongside their role managing the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).

Trading Standards let it be known they will take action

Liverpool Trading Standards let it be known that they will take action if they find non-compliant Operators of Air Conditioning Equipment (TM44 Air Conditioning Inspection Reports).

At Alpine we have seen a noticeable increase of enquiries through our website in recent weeks and this together with our existing client base, is giving us three or four new projects each day to price. Something is happening out there as the constant flow of instructions is increasing. What is happening; well we think that Trading Standards have been told to ramp up the pressure by Central Government – there is a Political “green” debate going on at the moment. This week we have seen a notice that is being sent out by not only Liverpool City Council Trading Standards, but also by a specialist Landlord Accreditation Officer. This notice not only covers off TM44 Air Conditioning Inspections, but also EPCs and DECs, and it looks serious.

Liverpool City council Trading Standards Office state;

“Local weights and measures authorities (Trading Standards) are the enforcement authority responsible for ensuring that a valid EPC or DEC is provided or shown. They have similar duties for ensuring that the person who has control of the operation of an air conditioning system with an effective rated output greater than 12kW is in possession of an inspection report. Local weights and measures authorities as enforcement authorities have powers to require the production of an EPC and recommendations report, DEC and report and air conditioning inspection report for inspection.

It is important that you ensure that you are up-to-date and compliant with this legislation as non-compliance is recognised by the issue of a penalty charge notice.
We believe that our role involves actively working with business to advise on and assist with compliance. We will nevertheless take firm action against negligent, persistent or deliberate non-compliance.”

This statement was made by a Trading Standards Enforcement Officer – they are not messing about!

Alpine are a leading supplier of TM44 Air Conditioning Inspection Reports and also undertake EPCs and DECs. We happen to be based in the North West but run a National business, serving Corporate Clients and single building owners. We offer impartial advice and urge non-compliant building owners to speak to us about their mandatory A/C, EPC and DEC requirements.

Greenhouse Gas Regulations – Urgent action required for Quoted Companies

Greenhouse Gas Regulations (GHG) Explained – Urgent action required for Quoted Companies, as defined under the Companies Act.

In 2012 the Government announced that it would introduce regulations requiring Companies to report on their greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Climate Change Act 2008. This brief note sets out the consequences and how Alpine can help, with the introduction of its SiteSmart data gathering, F Gas “Log” production software, and its automatic production of an F Gas Register. Initially the regulations will apply to all quoted companies, as defined under the Companies Act 2006.1.

This amounts to around 1,100 companies listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange, including some of the biggest global names. The Government has proposed that the first reporting year will be for the company’s first financial year ending after 6 April 2013, though this date may be deferred to 1 October 2013, to align the process with wider BIS revisions of the UK’s corporate reporting framework. Public Companies should get ready for reporting as soon as possible to meet the deadlines.

What is critical is that large companies will need to know what greenhouse gasses they have in their building stock. At Alpine we undertake TM44 Air Conditioning Assessments on over 75 buildings each week, and we know for a fact the F Gas Registers at best are incomplete, and at worst do not exist at all. We have developed an I Pad App for data gathering at site level, the software complies fully with the F Gas Regulations, and automatically produces an F Gas Register. This Register is mandatory to comply with the F Gas Regulations, but importantly is the first step towards being able to produce a meaningful report for the upcoming GHG Regulations.

In the longer term, mandatory GHG reporting may be extended to all large companies – both public and private – following a review of the policy in 2015. The Companies Act defines company size using measures of turnover, gross assets and employment. A large company is one that exceeds two or more of the following: £31.1 million gross turnover; £15.5 million gross assets on the balance sheet; 250 employees. Defra estimates that there are between 17,000 and 31,000 large companies in the UK.

Alpine advice would be to begin collating all information with regards to F-Gas and air conditioning systems that are present if you are a quoted company.

Validity

The affected company will be required to provide an estimate of ODS (Ozone Depleting Substances) leakage, and this can be calculated by identifying the total kg of F-Gas’s (within Air-conditioning systems above 3kg) and reporting this in tonnes. Companies should record the ODS currently in use (which can be estimated based on the type of refrigeration and air conditioning system containing the ODS) and the amount emitted if leakage occurs. This can be found within F-Gas register that ACI Reports produce.

ODS should be reported in metric tonnes by type emitted per annum. If an estimation method has been used this should also be reported.

What you are being asked to provide:

Fugitive emissions, in other words emissions that are not physically controlled but result from the release of GHGs. They commonly arise from the production, processing, transmission, storage and use of fuels and other chemicals, often through joints, seals, packing, and gaskets. In the case of a large building portfolio owner, all information on the air-conditioning gases measured in kg and converted into tonnes, in systems above 3kg. This information is derived from within your F-Gas Register; If the F-Gas Register has not been carried out, ACI Reports can do this for you.

Which type of GHG will you been asked to report on ?:

Hydrofluorocarbons – HFCs, Perfluorocarbons – PFCs and Sulphur Hexafluoride – SF6 Collectively known as ‘F-Gases’; they are emitted mainly from air conditioning and refrigeration and industrial processes.

Response

Once you have the information from the F-Gas register, Alpine will look at the total F-Gas tonnes you are using within the air-conditioning systems above 3kg capacity charge. Further information may be required if you a manufacturer or processor using F Gasses in systems. We will then use this information to calculate leakage using the government calculating tools.

Alpine urge listed clients to act now, be prepared, and do not rely on M&E contractors old or dated information from service records, accurate information is vital.

Further information;

Trading Standards issue TM44 7 day notices in Cardiff

Trading Standards issue notices in Cardiff for TM44.

Following on from the run of companies who were given TM44 non-compliance notices in Swansea some weeks ago, the next target is Cardiff, where Alpine have learned that TS have struck again. Alpine have been instructed to urgently attend premises in Showcase Leisure Park following on from “walk in” trading standards visits.

Contrary to the belief of some companies, non-compliance notices for TM44 Air Conditioning Assessments are becoming more common, generally the occupier is given 7 days to comply before the fine is issued. It has only got to be a matter of time before this changes to instant fines.
Further reading:

HSE commence site checks on Legionella in Scotland

HSE commence site checks on Legionella in Scotland – don’t get caught out with no TM44; you would be breaking the Law

The HSE and local authorities are carrying out visits and inspections to companies with cooling towers in the west of Scotland to ensure they are managing legionella risks appropriately. TM44 legislation also comes in to play in January 2013 (in Scotland) and whilst it is the remit of Trading Standards to issue fines, any check by HSE could very well include the request to see a TM44. Any company with Air Conditioning over 12kw per building must have an Air conditioning Inspection undertaken to comply with the law.

alpine facilities servicesThe inspections follow the publication of an HSE safety notice in July warning of the legionella risks posed by cooling towers and evaporative condensers and are part a wider initiative to promote better control of legionella. It follows an HSE review of outbreaks in 2011 that identified cooling towers and evaporative condensers as being responsible for the majority of the most significant outbreaks in Britain in the past 10 years.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities are currently visiting cooling towers and evaporative condensers in Glasgow, North Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Renfrewshire. The checks are expected to be extended to other sites across Britain in the future.

David Snowball, the Director for Scotland & Northern England said: “Inspections are a valuable part of our regulatory action. They are however no substitute for companies meeting their legal duties on a daily basis, given that legionella levels can increase to high levels in a matter of days or weeks.”

As part of the wider initiative, HSE and local authorities will also be working with companies and trade bodies to provide advice and encourage the sharing of effective ways of working. Here at Alpine, we undertake over 50 site surveys each week, these wider initiatives will not only increase awareness of legionella risk but will promote the compliance necessary to conform to EPBD Legislation.

Rochdale Exchange shopping centre gets its house in order

Following on from shopping centres being a good target for Trading Standards such as Hartlepool earlier this year, Alpine are seeing more Landlords forcing, as best they can, Tenants to get TM44 air conditioning Inspections in place. The latest to do this is Rochdale Exchange, where the Landlord has written to all tenants asking for compliance with needing to have an a/c Assessment undertaken. We have been working in Scotland on business parks and shopping malls were a similar notices have been given out by the landlord.

DCLG TM44 Policy update sets the scene for Trading Standards non – Compliance Notices, Enforcement, Fines

Policy update 5 issued not long ago deals with how CLG intend to start dealing with those Air Conditioning Operators who are flouting the law by not having a TM44 certificate in place. Mandatory lodgement came in this April, together with a revised TM44 and the policy update, which is a good informative update for effected Operators to read, the question & answer section gives a Government view. Reading between the lines, Alpine are of the opinion that this is the start of a TM44 compliance campaign which will see more action. Alpine are getting increasing numbers of calls from building operators who have had a letter or visit from compliance officers.

On the questions the Government have been asked, and provided answers, the following are important;

Q. Why was statutory lodgement not implemented when the requirement for air conditioning systems to have an inspection reports was first introduced ?
A. The Department for Communities and Local Government agreed a light touch approach as a trial period with industry when the regulations were first implemented.

Q. What other measures will be adopted to gather data and improve compliance?
A. Non-Domestic Energy Performance Certificates and Display Energy Certificates lodged on the National Energy Performance register can identify which buildings have an air conditioning system. We (CLG) will use this information to identify which buildings do not have an air conditioning report.

Q. How do enforcement authorities know that an inspection is required?
A. Local weights and measures authorities have been issued with guidance which informs them of the duties for ensuring that owners of air conditioning systems with an effective rated output over 12kw are in possession of an inspection report. This guidance has been updated to include the statutory lodgement of air conditioning inspection reports.

Alpine take the view that the answers indicate a far more serious approach than CLG took in 2011, before statutory lodgement, when the “light touch” period was in place. Those Operators who have been thinking that Trading Standards have not been taking the legislation seriously are in for a shock, the reason why there were not many fine notices given out prior to April 2012 has now become clear; it was a soft approach which has now ended. CLG clearly state that they intend to use the National Energy Performance register to check up on Operators, in addition to “walk in” visits which have been happening throughout the UK.