Industry leaders have warned of a “massive shortfall” in the number of assessors needed to implement the EU’s flagship environmental law in the UK, writes Stephen Kennett.

The Energy Performance of Buildings directive requires that 20,000 air-conditioning systems be inspected in the next six months. But according to CIBSE, which is one of seven bodies able to accredit assessors, “a handful” of applicants are going through the system. It has certified two.

Jacqueline Balian, director of information at CIBSE, blamed building owners for failing to understand what their responsibilities will be. She said: “There seems to be little client demand for these services, so few people are coming forward to get accredited. The communities department needs to make owners more aware of the requirements.”

Bob Towse, head of technical and safety at the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association (HVCA), said there would be a “massive shortfall” in inspectors.

The HVCA has applied to become an approved assessor, and is expecting to be given the green light to start courses by the communities department this week.

Towse said: “It’s taken the department the best part of six months for this to happen.”

He estimated that it would take about two weeks to accredit an assessor.

There seems to be little client demand so few people are
coming forward

Jacqueline Balian, cibse

The legislation requiring the inspection of air-conditioning systems is part of the same European directive that requires buildings to be given energy performance certificates.

It makes compulsory the inspection of all air-conditioning systems with a power greater than 250kW by 4 January 2009 and requires reports to be produced recommending improvements to their efficiency.

The communities department said: “We’ll continue to work closely with schemes to ensure professionals are accredited so we have enough assessors in place to support the roll-out.”

n The government has failed to translate sustainable procurement rules into practice, the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum think tank said this week.

It said designs for green buildings were frequently rejected at planning stage or stripped of sustainability elements, owing to short-term cost concerns.