Regulation 17 requires the owners of an air-conditioned building to have such plant regularly inspected and to provide advice to the users of the building on related energy efficiency improvement work and how to operate the system efficiently. This regulation implements the terms of Articles 15 & 16 of Directive 2010/31/EU on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD).
Scope - the regulation relates only to larger, fixed air-conditioning systems and does not cover portable systems. It also relates to comfort cooling of people in a building but does not cover any other system, such as cooling solely used in a manufacturing, trade or mechanical process. For example, a system only cooling computer equipment would be exempt.
The efficiency of the system should be assessed and the sizing compared to the cooling requirements of the building and appropriate advice given to the users of the building on possible improvement or replacement of the system and on alternative solutions.
Continuing requirement - the regulation imposes a continuing requirement that means inspections are required not only throughout the life of a new building, but also for the life of an existing building, for as long as it has an air-conditioning system. The requirement to inspect systems in existing buildings was introduced in stages, starting with first inspection of larger systems over 250kW by 4 January 2011, followed by first inspection of all remaining systems over 12kW by 4 January 2013.
CIBSE Technical Memorandum 44 (TM44) 'Inspection of air conditioning systems' provides guidance on the regular inspection and assessment of air-conditioning systems and on the provision of advice and alternative solutions.
Inspection frequency - for completely new air-conditioning systems, one way of meeting paragraph 1(a) of this regulation would be to make arrangements at completion for the first inspection. This should be carried out by an accredited expert no later than 5 years after the acceptance of the completion of commissioning of the system to Standard 6.7.
For existing systems over 12kW, one way of meeting paragraph 1(a) of this regulation would be to make arrangements for an inspection to be carried out by an accredited expert.
In all cases, the accredited expert doing the inspection has the discretion to set the frequency of inspections ranging from three years for poorly maintained and inefficient systems up to five years for those systems that are well maintained and demonstrate excellent levels of efficiency. In order to ensure compliance with the continuing requirement, the subsequent inspection should be carried out within the intervening time period.
The following issues should be considered in setting an inspection of systems more frequently than five years:
inefficiency of system
significantly oversized in relation to the cooling requirements
evidence that the design is not fit for purpose
evidence of poor installation
evidence of lack of maintenance
control system out of adjustment
age of system.
Size of systems - a number of individual systems each 12kW or less, but taken together totalling more than 12kW, within one building or fire-separated part of a building, would only qualify for inspection if they are linked by way of a central control.
New buildings - for new buildings, commissioning of building services including air-conditioning systems and the provision of written information shall be in accordance with Standards 6.7 and 6.8 respectively and guidance to these standards is provided in the Domestic and Non-domestic Technical Handbooks.
Accredited experts - inspections of existing air-conditioning systems should be carried out by accredited experts who are members of protocol organisations who are approved by Scottish Government to carry out such inspections.
Information on current protocol organisations can be found on the Building Standards Division web pages at www.scotland.gov.uk/epc
Following inspection of a system, the inspection report shall be issued by the member of the protocol organisation to the owner of the building. The inspection report shall contain the result of the inspection and include recommendations for the cost-effective improvement of the energy performance of the inspected system.
Where the owner of the building is not also the occupier, the owner should provide a copy of the report to the occupier.
This guidance relates solely to duties imposed under Articles 15 & 16 of the Directive 2010/31/EU http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2010:153:0013:0035:EN:PDF on the Energy Performance of buildings. There are other separate legislative requirements for the inspection of air conditioning systems such as the F-Gas Regulations which are not dealt with in building regulations. However from an operational point of view, building owners should give consideration to the economic benefits of combining such inspections where appropriate.