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Hot Topic Highlight - Inspection - Air Conditioning

RICS APC and AssocRICS mandatory competency business planning

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What is today's blog about?

This week we are going to take a look at air conditioning as part of the Inspection competency, which will be relevant to various RICS APC pathways including Building Surveying, Quantity Surveying & Construction, Residential Property, Valuation and Commercial Property. 

Essential reading for AssocRICS and RICS APC candidates.

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What is air conditioning?

Air conditioning means the removal of heat and moisture from a building to achieve a consistent and comfortable internal environment. It forms part of a building's Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system and may be controlled centrally by a Building Management System (BMS).

There are two current key issues relating to air conditioning systems; the ban on R22 refrigerant and requirement for regular air conditioning inspections. 

R22 refrigerant

R22 refrigerant is a type of ozone-depleting gas, or Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). The installation of new air conditioning systems using R22 refrigerant in the UK was originally banned in 2004. From 1 January 2015, it has been illegal to maintain or repair air conditioning systems which use R22 refrigerant. 

This means that existing systems cannot be topped up with R22 and will need to be:

  • Replaced with a new system which does not contain R22

  • Topped up with an alternative modern refrigerant equivalent, which may involve replacement or modification of parts of the existing air conditioning system

The decision to modify or replace will depend on multiple factors, including remaining lifespan, service charge arrangements (for a multi-occupancy building), existing problems with the system and design/space requirements, amongst others.

TM44 Air conditioning inspections

The Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 and Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 state that air conditioning systems with an output over 12kW must be inspected at least every 5 years by an energy assessor. 

Ensuring the air conditioning system is inspected is the statutory obligation of the person who controls operation of the system, although there is no legal requirement to act on the recommendations. 

The overall aims of a TM44 inspection and report are to:

  • Improve efficiency

  • Reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions

  • Reduce operating costs

  • Ensure there is no Legionella risk as required by the Health (Legionella) Regulations 2001

The penalty for not having a report is £300, with a further £200 fine issued if a copy of the report is not provided when requested.

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Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you

N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal or financial advice.


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