World News

Industry news and insights from Europe and around the World

UK News

Latest news and developments in the United Kingdom

Products

Keep up-to-date with the latest new products and technology

Features

General articles, applications and industry analysis

BESA calls for urgent review of refrigerant safety proposals

UK: The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has added its voice to concerns being raised across Europe that the F-gas revision proposals could increase the risk of accidents.

Revisions to the European F-Gas regulations, which the UK continues to apply, are expected to significantly increase the amount of flammable gas and high-pressure systems used by the refrigeration and air conditioning industry, but BESA is concerned there are not enough trained, competent people able to apply them safely.

Similar concerns were raised last month by AREA, the European contractors’ association. AREA also insists that failing to ensure that only competent contractors can work with alternative refrigerants risks widespread safety hazards and inefficient equipment.

While the proposals seek the inclusion of alternative refrigerants in training and certification schemes, they do not mandate the installation and maintenance of RACHP equipment with alternative refrigerants by certified installers only, as is the case currently with HFCs.

Challenge

The UK has previously indicated that it would at least follow the European regulations, but the UK’s primary competence register REFCOM, which is managed by BESA, said there would need to be a significant rise in the use of new or alternative refrigerants to meet new targets set by the regulators to further reduce the amount of global warming gas available to the sector.

“The speed of change envisioned by the regulators will make it impossible for the industry to train up enough competent people in time to work safely with the alternatives like flammable hydrocarbons,” said BESA’s head of technical Graeme Fox.

“We are in the process of adopting the most far-reaching regulatory change to building safety in 50 years with the passing of the Building Safety Act, yet this threatens to create a whole new safety challenge that could easily be avoided by adopting a more realistic timetable,” he added.

The Association said it accepted the principle of the proposed changes to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas in circulation, but said measures must be practical both in terms of suitable equipment and the size of the competent workforce.

BESA is particularly concerned that the proposed changes will accelerate the adoption of flammable refrigerants in smaller air conditioning and heat pump solutions – many of which could be installed in homes.

“This could lead to a “wild west” scenario with untrained installers working on equipment they should not be anywhere near, including carbon dioxide systems which operate under much higher pressures than many installers have experienced,” said Fox. “It could also have unintended consequences for energy efficiency and carbon emissions.”

BESA also backed AREA’s calls for tighter regulation of alternative refrigerants by applying existing safe handling rules and by including them in the F-gas regulation’s leak testing requirements to reduce the risk of accidents.

Related stories:

F-gas proposals risk equipment safety and efficiency27 August 2022
BELGIUM: AREA has warned that failing to ensure that only competent contractors can work with alternative refrigerants risks widespread safety hazards and inefficient equipment. Read more…

Latest News

21st February 2024

Sanhua extends expansion valve applications

SPAIN: Sanhua’s SEC HD electric expansion valve controller is now compatible for a variety of applications with 29 commonly used refrigerants, including CO2, hydrocarbons and HFCs. 
20th February 2024

F-gas regulation published in Official Journal

EUROPE: The new F-gas regulation has now been published in the EU’s Official Journal, making it legally binding and entering into force in 20 days.
20th February 2024

Carrier Germany increases heat pump training

GERMANY: Carrier Germany is offering new hydraulics training courses  at its training centre on the IKKE campus in Duisburg to support the growing demand for heat pump expertise. 
20th February 2024

Oceanair acquired by builders’ merchant MKM

UK: Air conditioning and heat pump distributor Oceanair UK has been acquired by MKM, the independent builders’ merchant.
20th February 2024

Carrier to build factory and R&D facility in Saudi Arabia

SAUDI ARABIA: Carrier is to build an advanced manufacturing and R&D facility in Saudi Arabia in a partnership with Alat, a new Riyadh-based public investment fund company.
19th February 2024

BDN offers high level monitoring

IRELAND: The first installation of Bitzer’s Digital Network (BDN) in Ireland is providing high-level monitoring, system diagnostics and optimisation for an award-winning deli food specialist.