Our latest meeting with DEFRA....

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

As a certification scheme, REFCOM is proud to work alongside the Environment Agency (EA) and DEFRA to make sure F gas regulations work for our industry, and continue to drive up standards. As part of this commitment, we met with DEFRA last week to discuss a few key industry issues.

During our meeting we discussed the importance of checking qualifications and competence when supplying gases. Suppliers and distributors have a legal responsibility to check the operative purchasing gases has original F gas certificates or an ACRIB SKILLcard.

As a scheme, we’re worried about the development of alternative ID methods, claiming to be acceptable representation of a company’s F gas certification. DEFRA are also concerned by this, as non compliant ID cards:

  • are not acceptable as a certificate,
  • are non-attributable to qualified personnel, and
  • could be used fraudulently if they got into the hands of non-qualified personnel, breaching the F Gas Regulation.

DEFRA confirmed that the ONLY acceptable proof of F gas qualification is either through the production of original F gas company certificates, or an ACRIB SKILLcard. 

You can find out more about this in the REFCOM guide to supply, including a flowchart to display behind trade counters.

In other areas, there are still reported cases of split systems being bought by non-qualified companies and installed illegally, often badly, so that legitimate REFCOM registered companies have to go in after the installation and put right the many deficiencies in install quality.

These installations are illegal because the F Gas regulation, since the review of 2014, have demanded that evidence of competent, legally certified installations must be provided. Article 11(5) aims to stop the selling of split systems that would then be installed by non-certified companies or personnel. End users are still allowed to buy a pre-charged split system but they MUST provide evidence of who will carry out the installation and their registration number for the authorities to check. It is a legal requirement that the seller check this evidence, although it is clear this is not always happening.

After the cases that REFCOM has been taking to DEFRA and the EA (the enforcing body) new legislation is now being drafted to give the EA increased powers of prosecution against non-conforming companies and end users under increased domestic civil penalty laws to help make this sort of behaviour a thing of the past.

We welcome any questions, comments or feedback that we can take along to our next meeting with DEFRA, part of our ongoing commitment to working together for the benefit of the industry.