We want to make sure that our members are fully aware of the certification requirements for:-

  • any sub-contractors they use for work in the Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump sector of industry where they are working with fluorinated greenhouse refrigerant gases; or
  • where they are installing pipework designed to contain these refrigerants.

Our members have a legal obligation to ensure that any sub-contractors they employ to carry out the installation or servicing of any stationary refrigeration, air conditioning or heat pump equipment (SRAC) containing, or designed to contain, fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-Gases) must be properly registered with a body such as REFCOM (or equivalent authorised EU certifying body).

This guidance has been prompted by misconceptions since the introduction of the original F Gas Regulation in 2006 that there is only a requirement to hold “company F-Gas registration” where the sub-contractor is buying refrigerant or equipment. This is not the case.

 

WHAT TYPE OF WORK IS ‘IN-SCOPE’ FOR CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS?

EC517/2014, Chapter II, Containment, Article 3(4) states:

“Natural persons carrying out the tasks referred to in points (a) to (c) of Article 10(1) shall be certified in accordance with Article 10(4) and (7)….

Undertakings carrying out the installation, servicing, maintenance, repair or decommissioning of the equipment listed in points (a) to (d) of Article 4(2) shall be certified in accordance with Article 10(6) and (7)….”

Article 4(2) points (a) to (d) are: stationary refrigeration, air conditioning, heat pump and fire protection equipment.

Article 10(6) states: “Member states shall establish or adapt certification….for undertakings carrying out the installation, servicing, maintenance, repair or decommissioning of the equipment listed in points (a) to (d) of Article 4(2) for other parties.”

Therefore all works of the above type are considered as “in-scope” for the purpose of the regulations. The regulation does not distinguish between main contractor/sub-contractor, nor differentiate between who bought the equipment.

 

WHAT DEFINES AN ENGINEER OR A COMPANY?

The definition of “an undertaking” under the F-Gas Regulation is as follows:

“Undertaking” means any natural or legal person who:

• (a) Produces, uses, recovers, collects, recycles, reclaims, or destroys fluorinated greenhouse gases;

• (b) Imports or exports fluorinated greenhouse gases or products and equipment that contains such gases;

• (c) Places on the market fluorinated greenhouse gases or products and equipment that contain, or whose functioning relies upon, such gases;

• (d) Installs, services, repairs, checks for leaks or decommissions equipment that contains, or whose functioning relies upon, fluorinated greenhouse gases;

• (e) …etc.

• A “natural person” is a legal definition which refers to the individual person in question – the F-Gas qualified engineer in this instance;

• A “legal person” can refer simultaneously to that individual “natural person” or a business or company, depending on the context of its use. It is important to note that the use of the term “company” in EU law does not necessarily mean that the text only refers to an incorporated company registered with Companies House as is normal in UK legal systems but simply refers to any natural or legal person carrying our services for a third party for remuneration or reward, in other words a sub-contractor carrying out work for a main, or employing, contractor for payment or reward would be classed as being “a company” in the context of the F-Gas Regulations whether or not they are incorporated as a business in the UK.

 

F-GAS REGULATION CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

Therefore, all sub-contractors working in the SRAC sector involved in any part of the installation, servicing, maintenance, repair or decommissioning of any stationary refrigeration, air conditioning, or heat pump system must be registered with REFCOM (or equivalent EU company registration certifying body). They must be registered as a company as well as holding their individual F-Gas qualification such as City & Guilds 2079, BESA FGas, CITB J11, or LCL FGas.

There is confusion about certification types with people commonly referring to “having their F-Gas” whilst referring to either their personal qualifications or their company registration certificate depending on the context of the conversation.

For clarity, every person (natural person) working in the sector must hold a personal F-Gas qualification and every business entity (legal person), whether working as a sole trader or a limited company, must hold a company registration certificate (REFCOM) for any work involved with any part of an installation, repairs, servicing, maintenance, or decommissioning.

 

1. EC842/2006, superseded by EC517/2014, commonly referred to as “the F-Gas Regulation”

2. EC517/2014, Article 2 Definitions paragraph 30

3. Redacted to remove examples not relevant to contractors operating in this sector

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