By Barney Richardson
In my previous column, I posed the question of why it was necessary to be registered as an authorised refrigeration practitioner. Now, as part of that necessity it is a legal requirement to issue a Certificate of Conformity (CoC).
From the Pressure Equipment Regulations is regulation 17 clause, (3): “An authorised person or an approved inspection authority shall issue a certificate of conformity after completion of a gas installation, modification, alteration or change of user or ownership ….”.
Therefore, it is an obligation on the part of the registered refrigeration practitioner to issue a CoC on completion of an installation, maintenance or repair. Part of this service to clients and the obligation as an authorised refrigeration practitioner is to advise the client that a certificate of conformity is a necessary requirement of the Pressure Equipment Regulations.
This part of the Pressure Equipment Regulations is covered in the training manual for the safe handling of refrigerants.
The compliance with standards of equipment and materials used starts way before the start of the installation or repair and final commissioning of a system either as new or as part of a maintenance function. The major components, such as compressors and switches must be compliant and selected for the capacity duty of the installation. The materials such as cables and piping must be approved and compliant with South African National Standards (SANS).
Most important of all, the refrigerant gas charge for the application must be clean, moisture free and un-contaminated if it has been re-recovered during the repair and maintenance procedures. If new gas is used it must be purchased from a reputable supplier and be of a type and classification specified by the equipment manufacturer.
Service cylinders used for recovery of refrigerant from a system must be as prescribed in regulations 18 of the Pressure Equipment Regulations for transportable gas containers and in compliance with the relevant standards indicated in the regulations as part of the OHS Act.
Refrigerant cylinders shall be carefully weighed each time they are used and must not be filled in excess of the indicated filling mass. In addition, pressure tests shall be carried out with dry nitrogen or another non-flammable dry gas from a cylinder with a pressure regulator.
All electrical switch gear and wiring shall be selected and installed in accordance with the national standard (SANS 10142) for the wiring of premises for low-voltage installations.
Sometimes, an Approved Inspection Authority (AIA) certificate may be required for a pressure component where this falls into the category in SANS 347 for dangerous liquids and/or gas. This applies to large refrigeration systems where the pressure vessels are likely to fall into category II and above in SANS 347.
A contracting company relies on their suppliers for the correct delivery of equipment, components and materials but, you – as a competent SAQCC Gas registered practitioner – it is also your responsibility to check, and check again.
The information required on a CoC starts with entering the customer detail which is used to email the CoC to them directly once it is signed off. The refrigeration practitioner details are set up once you are registered and cannot be altered. Should any changes be necessary you will need to contact SAQCC for amendments. At each stage the input is saved and then you can proceed to the next step of the plant and/or repair details such as plant type.
Remember, this is all about safety, for you as the practitioner, and of your client and their plant, and possibly also the public.
About the author
Barney Richardson is the director of South African Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SARACCA) and sits on various other boards within the HVAC industry, including the South African Qualifications and Certifications Committee for Gas (SAQCC) Gas.