Concerns over drop in assessments

Concerns have been raised over an apparent fall in the number of air conditioning systems assessments taking place. Up to date figures from leading energy services companies show a distinct fall in the quantity of new inspection contracts placed during the last few months, despite the fact that tens of thousands of the inspections which were required by 4 January 2009 are still to be carried out.

Industry commentators have suggested that the fall off in inspection work contracts being placed reflects a lack of awareness or perhaps willingness to comply with the inspection requirements of the Energy Performance in Buildings Regulations.

It is estimated that fewer than 1,000 buildings are compliant – less than 2% of the 50,000 in England & Wales thought to have required a first inspection by the 4 January 2009 deadline. However, there is debate over the exact figure of how many inspections have been carried out as there is currently no requirement to lodge certificates.

Darren Bryant of Efficient Air, one of the companies reporting this decline, said: “Air conditioning inspections have the potential to yield real carbon and energy savings in the short and medium term. We are very concerned that these cost savings, which companies can achieve, are being lost because until now there has been little or no enforcement of the regulations and companies seem to be hesitating.

“From our experience there are a number of factors stopping companies taking action. Some facilities management companies are not able to convince their clients of the need to act in the face of a lack of enforcement action by trading standards bodies. Furthermore, other companies are unsure how they can find assessors who can provide genuinely useful advice rather than those who have little or no practical experience.”

CIBSE shares the concern that action is needed to address poor compliance with the inspection requirements.  Having taken action to promote the requirements for air conditioning assessments, Energy Performance Certificates and Display Energy Certificates, CIBSE is now embarking on a programme of awareness raising for Trading Standards Officers who must enforce the Regulations.

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