Nothing personnel but REFCOM to run company registration
REFCOM has been named by DEFRA as the body responsible for company certifications, a legal requirement under the F-gas regulations, but the government has rejected industry pleas for a register of personnel.
REFCOM, which currently runs a voluntary registration scheme for acr firms, was deemed to be the only company in a position to operate the company scheme in the timeframe available.
Definitive details are unlikely to be available until the legislation comes into force on March 9. However, it is expected that the cost of certification for each company will be considerably less than the £300 that REFCOM currently charges for its 'more robust' voluntary scheme and that the certificates will be valid for at least three years.
Due to the delays in the UK getting to this stage, companies will have until July 4, 2009, to obtain either full or interim certification or risk being in breach of the Regulations under EU law.
While it may be possible to transfer the current 350 REFCOM members directly into the scheme, REFCOM would appear to have an impossible task to register all of the remaining 7,000 companies in the time available.
During the consultation process, the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Board (ACRIB) and other groups had urged the government to implement an integrated company and personnel registration scheme to prevent fraudulent practices and use of forged certificates.
DEFRA considered that while a central register would provide a single point of reference for an employer, customer or enforcement officer, they could equally contact the relevant certification body, either City & Guilds or CITB.
DEFRA said that, in addition, certified companies would only be able to employ qualified personnel. It also felt that personnel registration would represent too much of a financial burden for small businesses.