One year after its implementation, thousands of gas engineers have still not been trained to the required F-Gas legislation standards, according to technical skills training provider Develop Training.
Mark Dougall, director at Develop Training, explained: “Many engineers did not comply with the July 2011 deadline and are now working illegally. We are worried about this for two reasons - not only could individuals be fined if they don’t gain their qualifications, but we may also see a shortage of engineers able to legally undertake important servicing and maintenance work.
Dougall continued that he did not believe all those engineers who have not yet been trained had deliberately flouted the legislation. "We realise that many operators who have not yet undertaken the training may not even be aware of it, and there are also the timing pressures and cost factors.”
It is these timing pressures and cost factors that have led many engineers from small and medium enterprises (SME) not to take the additional legislated qualifications. However, it has also been noted that some of the larger companies employing gas engineers are trying to cut costs and corners by training some and not all of their engineers for the F-Gas Certification.
The legislation is part of the EU F-Gas Regulations, the first part of which was introduced in 2007. Any company which employs engineers working under F-Gas Regulations has needed a Company Certificate since 2009, but in July 2011 this was extended to individuals. Anyone carrying out service, maintenance, recovery or leak checking on refrigeration equipment covered by the regulations must have completed one of the updated national qualifications.
Develop Training is still receiving many new enquiries in regards to the qualification as it offers F-Gas Certification, training and assessment courses, Category 1 to 4, which are either City and Guilds or CITB accredited.
The assessment process covers safe handling of refrigerants, pipework and jointing skills, recovery of refrigerants, pressure testing and intrusive and non-intrusive leak testing – and performance of checking systems, dependent upon the level of assessment taken.