F-Gas Records – Not Keeping up to date F-Gas records could put users and owners of refrigeration and air conditioning at “risk of legal action”

If users or owners of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment do not keep documentation on site is up to required standards of new F-Gas legislation, could leave them to them open to the risk of legal action being taken by the ruling body of F-Gas compliance.

F-Gas compliance standards on many commercial refrigeration and air conditioning sites fall short of mandatory requirements.

Chillaire Limited believes that contractors need to investigate and review their current approaches to ensure that F-Gas requirements are met properly, and customers (Users or owners) are better informed about their responsibilities, we regularly send out reminder letters to all of our customers. A key element for both the contractor and the customer is the need to maintain detailed records on site for activities involving work on all refrigeration / air conditioning or any F-Gas-containing equipment.

The F-Gas Regulation lays down strict requirements for record keeping, designed to ensure a log is available on site for all operations affecting F-Gas plant.

This has to include a log sheet for every applicable F-Gas asset, and record all mandatory leak tests carried out, whether any leaks are identified and if any remedial work is required, with a record of all refrigerant moved in/out of the plant.

Importantly, there is a requirement to log all top-ups of F-Gas refrigerant made to equipment. Full records should be kept for at least five years. This is designed to ensure there is a continuous log of F-Gas-related work, giving inspecting authorities a complete history to ensure cradle-to-grave compliance. However from experience this not always the case.

The requirement applies to all systems containing more than 5 tonnes CO2-equivalent of F-Gas, and includes the common refrigerants R134a, R410A, R407C and R404A. Hermetically sealed equipment containing up to 10 tonnes CO2-equivalent is exempt, and there is a grace period for units containing less than 3 kg of any F-Gas to the end of 2016.

The obligation came into force on 16 April 2014, with the introduction of EC Regulation 517/2014, updating the previous 2007 Regulation.

Our engineers have attended new sites, where Chillaire Limited has recently taken over the service & maintenance contract and there is no F-Gas Register with the necessary information for each piece of relevant equipment. In these situations, end users are laying themselves open to legal action.

In some cases, there is some form of register or fragmented service record, but the information is incomplete or out-of-date and very difficult to review, meaning equipment owners are not compliant. It is a major issue.

This is usually a major problem on sites attended by different contractors over a period of time, with varying approaches and levels of compliance.

For example, a contractor responsible for a site may be replaced, perhaps a number of times over several years, and data lost or subsequently recorded in a different format or physical place.

An FM provider may be using various different contractors on the same site, who each have their own way of recording the F-Gas information, in some instances the contractor may not even bother, as they may only be going to that site the once on behalf of the FM provider.

The governing body assumes continuity, handovers of record keeping between companies and a minimum continuous record of five years, but in reality it may be different.

In this situation, the client whose responsibility it is to meet many of the F-Gas requirements is left exposed, if an inspection reveals incomplete or non-existent records. Many equipment owners assume that because they have a maintenance contract in place with an F-Gas registered service company, they are fully covered in terms of F-Gas compliance.

The regulation clearly lays down specific responsibilities on equipment owners, for record keeping as well as physical leak checks, and they are legally responsible for meeting them.

Responsibility is only passed to the service company if this is agreed as part of the contract. Unless this transfer of responsibilities is explicitly agreed, the default position is the equipment owner is responsible in law.”

Enforcement agencies are known to be stepping up action around non-compliance, with some cases going to court.

Chillaire Limited keep customer F-Gas equipment asset registers and logs all service maintenance visits and keep copies of all F-Gas visit check sheets for each visit and each end user / customer on file. We can provide copies to end users or customer upon request.

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