Revised guidance on the selection of copper tube and fittings for use in refrigeration and air conditioning systems has been agreed by two industry bodies.

The Institute of Refrigeration and British Refrigeration Association have collaborated on the update, following a proposed change in the European Standard EN14276.

Following some detailed development work and discussion by relevant industry committees, it has been agreed that this new approach can now be applied in the UK.

The changes, which have taken two years to implement, have implications for a number of key standards and practices used in the UK refrigeration and air conditioning industry.

For example, the strength pressure test required on copper tube under the Safety Standard BS EN378 has been clarified, and now allows - subject to certain conditions being met - for the test to be carried out at 1.1 times the maximum allowable pressure.

The main change from the existing BS1306 standard to the European Standard EN14276 is a reduction in the safety factor, allowing the use of increased pressures for tube with the same wall thickness.

Mr Adams continued: "Given the importance of the guidance for the safety and reliability of plant, we have gone through the data underlying the proposed changes extremely thoroughly. The key thing was to get it right, and ensure the industry could proceed to use the new approach with confidence."

The new guidance gives clear tables for the maximum allowable pressure of copper tube for the common diameters and wall thicknesses. It also highlights the minimum design pressures for commonly used refrigerants, bringing key information to a single reference point.

The guidance 'Selecting copper tube and fittings', Institute of Refrigeration Guidance Note 25, is available from