Frequently Asked Questions

F-Gas Regulations

What do the Regulations seek to achieve?

Fluorinated gases have a high global warming effect if released into the atmosphere.

The principal objective of the EC Regulation is to contain, prevent and thereby reduce emissions of F gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol, so as to help combat climate change.

There are obligations in the F-Gas Regulation (EC Regulation 517/2014) and the Ozone Regulation (EC Regulation 1005/2009) that affect many industry sectors. In some cases the obligations lie with the owner / operator of the equipment. In other situations the obligations lie with third parties, such as equipment suppliers, maintenance contractors and waste handling companies.

The following is a summary of uses and sectors affected. More details of the various obligations and a full listing of affected sectors can be found in a series of Sector Information Sheets available on the F- Gas Support website.

Stationary Refrigeration and Air-conditioning - Users of these systems have numerous obligations to prevent leakage of F-Gas refrigerants, especially for any equipment containing 3 kg or more of refrigerant. RAC systems using hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) refrigerants such as R22 need to address a ban on the use of this refrigerant which comes into force in 2010 for virgin refrigerant and in 2015 for recycled fluid.

There are also many obligations that apply to RAC system suppliers and maintenance contractors, especially related to the use of appropriately qualified personnel and certification of companies.

Fire Protection - users of fire protection systems have many similar obligations related to leakage prevention and use of qualified personnel.

Mobile Air-Conditioning, Solvent Cleaning & Switchgear containing sulphur hexafluoride the obligations for these sectors are more limited in scope mainly relating to proper recovery of gas during maintenance and at end of life.

Bans - A number of sectors are affected by bans on F-Gas usage, these include novelty aerosols, one component foam, magnesium die casting and non-refillable containers.

Other sectors - Some sectors such as electronics manufacture, foam blowing and aluminium smelting have no specific obligations under the Regulations, but all users should be aware that emissions of F gases are very harmful to the environment and should be making all practical and economically feasible efforts to reduce emissions.

Why is a mandatory certification scheme required?

Commission Regulation 2015/2067 of 2015 sets out the requirements for a company certification scheme for businesses working with stationary refrigeration air-conditioning and heat pump equipment containing or designed to contain fluorinated greenhouse gases (F gases) in accordance with Article 10.7 of EC517/2014 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases (the EC F-Gas Regulation).

When do I need to apply?

The timetable specified in the Commission Regulation 2015/2067 is as follows:

  • A full company certificate can be applied for from 4 July 2009 but must be held by 4 July 2011

How will it affect my business?

The Regulations apply to all sizes and types of business sole traders, partnerships, limited companies and public limited companies.

If your business carries out installation, commissioning, decommissioning, maintenance or servicing of stationary refrigeration, air conditioning or heat pump equipment (SRACHP work) that contains or is designed to contain F-Gas refrigerants then you must obtain a stationary equipment qualification company certificate (full certificate).

Businesses carrying out SRACHP work after 4 July 2009 without one or other of these certificates will be committing an offence under The Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2015.

Are sub-contractors covered by the Regulations?

If your business employs sub-contractors to carry out SRACHP work then those sub-contractors must have a full certificate. You can not apply for a certificate on their behalf.

What is meant by installation?

Commission Regulation 2015/2067 defines installation as follows:

“installation” means joining two or more pieces of equipment or circuits containing or designed to contain fluorinated greenhouse gas refrigerant, with a view to assembling a system in the location where it will be operated, including the action by which refrigerant conductors of a system are joined together to complete a refrigerant circuit irrespective of the need to charge the system after assembly.

What is meant by maintenance or servicing?

"maintenance or servicing" means all activities, excluding recovery and checks for leakage, that entail breaking into the circuits containing or designed to contain fluorinated greenhouse gases, in particular supplying the system with fluorinated greenhouse gases, removing one or more pieces of circuit or equipment, re-assembling two or more pieces of circuit or equipment, as well as repairing leakages.

Who is responsible for compliance?

In Great Britain, the person having control of the equipment containing the F-Gas refrigerant (the “operator”), typically a company, is likely to have responsibility. Also, any business employing personnel involved in refrigerant handling must ensure that they have the appropriate qualifications.

Who will enforce these regulations?

Your Local Authority or the Environment Agency will be the regulator for the F-Gas Regulations.

Where do the Regulations apply?

The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department of Environment have taken the decision to designate Refcom as a mandatory F-Gas company certification scheme that can issue stationary equipment qualification company certificates (full certificates) and interim certificates in GB and Northern Ireland.

Applying for F-Gas Certification

How much will it cost?

Size of business Full Certification
(valid for 3 years)
Micro (sole trader) £119.00
Small (2-9 engineers) £153.00
Medium (10-49 engineers) £310.00
Large (50+ engineers) £680.00

All fees shown are subject to VAT at current rate.

What happens to the money?

Refcom Certification Ltd will not make a profit. Any surplus arising will be used to reduce fees in later years to further support the scheme.

What are the scheme requirements?

Interim Certification

By 4 July 2009 businesses must have held at least an interim company certificate which was valid until July 2011 and was non-renewable. Interim certification is no longer valid or available.

Full Certification

By 4 July 2011 businesses must hold a stationary equipment qualification company certificate which will be valid for three years.

To apply for full certification businesses will need to provide:

  • Information about the business
  • A list of employed engineers holding an appropriate stationary equipment qualification (City and Guilds 2079 categories I-IV or ConstructionSkills (formerly CITB) J11-J14) in handling F-gases in sufficient number to cover the expected volume of activities
  • Proof that appropriate recovery systems and refrigerant handling procedures are in place and in use

How do I make an application?

You can apply in the following ways:

  • Online application (including payment) on the Refcom website
  • Postal application

How long does the application process take?

Provided you have the necessary information and documents to hand, for an average size SRACHP business the application process should take no more than fifteen minutes.

For larger businesses, allow an extra two minutes to enter details for each additional employed engineer.

Online applicants will receive an automatic confirmation that the application and payment have been received.

Subject to satisfactory validation and verification, certificates for both online and postal applications will be despatched within five working days by second class post.

What do I get when I join?

Businesses will be issued with a Stationary Equipment Qualification Company Certificate (Full Certificate) which will be valid for 3 years.

What happens if I apply after the deadline date?

Details of any businesses who do not upgrade their Interim company certificates to Full before July 2011 deadline will be passed to Defra and Local Authorities. It is likely that no action will be taken against businesses that apply within a reasonable period.

I have not received my F-Gas Company Certificate, am I trading illegally?

If you have applied on-line or made a postal application for your F-Gas Company certification but have not yet received your certificate, don't worry. Provided you've met the certification standards, your business details will appear in the public listing on Refcom's website with your registration number. Your business has complied with the F-Gas Regulations!

Will my business be audited once I hold a company certificate?

Businesses that hold a stationary equipment qualification company certificate (full) may be subject to either an annual desk-top or on-site risk based audit.

Refcom Certification Ltd will annually select a percentage of certificated businesses to be inspected.

The audit model is detailed in the Certification Scheme Operations Booklet.

How often do certificates need to be renewed?

Interim certificates will remain valid until 4 July 2011 but must be replaced by a full certificate on or before that date.

Full certificates are valid for three years from the date of issue but must be renewed on or before expiry.

I am a Refcom F-Gas Certificated business, can I use Refcom’s logo on my stationery and company vehicles?

Customers of businesses such as yours often find it reassuring to see visible proof of high professional standards. Logos can help you achieve this reassurance and Refcom F-Gas Certification logos are now available for use on your company stationery and vehicles.

Artwork for reproduction on printed materials is free of charge, van stickers are just £10 per pair. To start displaying your F-Gas Certification, contact us.

How do I renew my certification?

If you hold a Full Refcom company certificate that has expired or is due to expire, you can either renew online or complete a renewal form. For businesses holding Full F Gas certificates issued by another Certification Body simply apply for Full Company certification by clicking here.

Training and Qualifications

What are the new categories of training in the F-Gas regulations?

For RAC personnel, the European Commission Regulation 2015/2067 refers to four different levels of certification, which allow personnel to carry out different activities. These are now described. Note that Category I covers all activities whereas the other 3 categories are more restrictive:

Category I certificate holders may carry out all refrigerant handling activities for any size of RAC systems containing HFC refrigerants. This includes leakage checking, refrigerant recovery, installation, maintenance and servicing.

Category II certificate holders may carry out refrigerant recovery, installation, maintenance and servicing, in relation to RAC systems containing less than 3 kg of fluorinated greenhouse gases (or less than 6 kg for systems that are hermetically sealed). Category II certificate holders may also carry out leak checks on any plant provided that it does not entail breaking into the refrigeration circuit containing fluorinated greenhouse gases.

Category III certificate holders may carry out refrigerant recovery in relation to RAC systems containing less than 3 kg of fluorinated greenhouse gases (or less than 6 kg for systems that are hermetically sealed).

Category IV certificate holders may carry out leak checks on any plant provided that it does not entail breaking into the refrigeration circuit containing fluorinated greenhouse gases.

Are the new Safe Handling of Refrigerants qualifications readily available?

Yes. Click here to view training providers.

Are there any exemptions from personnel qualifications?

There are exemptions for three categories of personnel:

  1. Trainees are exempt for up to 2 years, but they must work under the supervision of a person with the requisite qualification (including an interim certificate) and must be enrolled on a relevant training course.
  2. Personnel only undertaking brazing, soldering or welding on a piece of RAC equipment would be exempt if they hold a nationally recognised qualification to undertake such activities and if they are supervised by a person holding the requisite F-Gas certificate covering the relevant activity. A proposal for the appropriate qualification is included in the current consultation process, so that GB personnel can benefit from this derogation.
  3. Personnel undertaking recovery of F gases from “waste equipment” under the WEEE Directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) EU 2012/19 with an F-Gas charge less than 3 kg, in premises covered by a suitable permit, are exempt provided that they are employed by the company holding the permit and have completed a training course on the minimum skills and knowledge corresponding to Category III that is verified by an attestation of competence issued by the permit holder.

Why do I need to have taken my City and Guilds 2078 or CITB J01 prior to 9 March 2009?

9 March 2009 is the date that the GB F-Gas Regulations 2009 (SI 261) came into force. The EC F-Gas Regulation and supporting Commission Regulation 303/2008 lay down requirements that any interim qualification needed to already have been gained by the date the Member State brings into force domestic legislation.

If you are affected by this clarification we recommend that you take one of the new qualifications ConstructionSkills (formerly CITB) J11-J14 or City and Guilds 2079 categories I-IV.

What is an in-house qualification?

In-house qualification is defined in national regulations and means a qualification verified by a certificate of competence or other written confirmation issued by an employer to such of its employees who have successfully completed a course of training provided by that employer relating to the work in question.

A course of training provided by an employer must enable an employee who has been trained to carry out relevant work satisfactorily. An employer must keep a record of training, must provide a copy to an employee which shows the name of employee trained, course provided, dates provided and date of completion or other confirmation that course was completed.

Are the units of NVQ Diploma equivalent to passing Category 1 or J11?

From September 2012 new qualifications have been ratified by Defra as suitable equivalents for the existing C&G 2079 Category 1 and CITB J11.

Personnel will first gain the units 230/530 of the 6187-01 to 6187-06 NVQ Diplomas; or units 209/509 of the 7189-02 or the 7189-03 NVQ Diplomas – the passing of these units is the direct equivalent to passing the existing Category 1 or J11 FGAS engineer qualifications. Therefore a Company can gain an FGAS Company Certification if its engineers hold these qualifications.

A full list of suitable qualifications are listed on the qualification section.

Apply now, before enforcement checks catch up with you!

You can apply online.