DCLG Clarification on Penalties

Air conditioning inspections

It has been brought to the Department’s attention that there has been misleading information circulating about the penalties associated with the statutory duties, in relation to air conditioning inspections, contained in the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (EPB Regulations). The EPB Regulations require that air conditioning systems with an effective rated output of more than 12kW must be inspected at regular intervals not exceeding 5 years.
This letter seeks to provide clarification about the level of fines which can be imposed for non compliance; those persons who would be liable to pay penalty charges; the number of days in which the operator of the system would have to comply with the requirement to produce a copy of the inspection report when requested by an authorised officer of an enforcement authority.

Penalty amount for non compliance
The fine which can be imposed for non compliance with the requirements of the regulations concerning air conditioning inspections, specified at Regulation 43(1)(d) of the EPB Regulations, is £300. This amount has not changed since the EPB Regulations were first implemented in 2007 and there are no current plans to increase the amount.

Responsibilities for ensuring inspections are carried out.
The relevant person responsible for meeting any requirements in the EPB Regulations in relation to an air conditioning system is the person who has control of the operation of the system. The person who controls the operation of the system is the person who controls the technical functioning of the system, not someone who can just alter the temperature. Tenants of a building, where a central air conditioning system is under the control of the building owner or manager, would not be liable for a penalty charge for any breach of the duties.

Providing a copy of the air conditioning reports for inspection

An authorised officer of an enforcement authority may require the person who has control of the operation of the air conditioning system to produce a copy of the most recent report for inspection within seven days. That person, however, is not required to comply with such a requirement if they have a reasonable excuse for not complying with the requirement.

It is important to recognise that legal action should be seen as the option of last resort. As a consequence, much of the enforcement activity should be aimed at prompting those responsible into taking the necessary steps to comply with the regulations, rather than immediately issuing penalty notices in every instance.


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