UK: Mandatory checks of equipment under the F-gas regulations must continue despite the lockdown restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 crisis, according to the UK’s main F-Gas register REFCOM.
Refrigeration and air conditioning engineers are also being urged to renew any expiring F-gas registrations during the lockdown so they can continue carrying out this vital work, the organisation said.
Head of REFCOM Graeme Fox said clients must be reminded of their legal obligations to let scheduled testing and checks go ahead. However, he said engineers would not be held accountable if a client refused to allow access to their site so long as they kept a record.
“Make sure you have your own copy of the F-gas logbook for the equipment in question,” he told the daily COVID-19 update webinar hosted by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) which manages REFCOM. “You should also note that you will attend to the work as soon as it is possible and safe to do so,” Fox added.
He also confirmed that F-gas registration renewals would continue during the lockdown period despite the closure of training centres, which was making it difficult for engineers to update their qualifications.
Fox points out that the peak renewal period in the three-year F-gas cycle is fast approaching, as is the number of engineers hold expiring CITB J11/12 qualifications, which were issued five years ago.
REFCOM is, therefore, encouraging companies to renew their licences early so the qualifications will still be valid. Companies will not be penalised by renewing early as any unused time from the existing registration will be added on to the new one.
“It is important that companies move quickly on this so they don’t end up with engineers holding expired registrations,” said Fox. “If your F-gas qualifications expire you will not, legally, be allowed to carry out any installation, service, repair, or maintenance works on any in-scope equipment. It is a criminal offence to do so without valid REFCOM F-gas certification.
“Renewing your REFCOM F-gas registration now will ensure you maintain your company license to carry on working while you wait for the necessary refresher courses to be available again,” he explained.