Guides ‐ Commercial Air Conditioning: What Are the UK's Legal Requirements?

Published: 05/09/2023

As summer approaches, we all look forward to enjoying the warm weather and soaking up some rays. However, when it comes to working in hot conditions, not all businesses are prepared for keeping their employees cool.

If you’re looking to install a commercial air conditioning unit, there are a few rules and regulations that you need to be aware of to align with the UK’s legal requirements. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your systems comply with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). The EPBD’s purpose is to improve the energy performance of buildings, this includes the implementation of inspections for air conditioning equipment within commercial buildings.

We’ve created this commercial air conditioning guide to keep you up to date with everything you need to know.


Do I need planning permission for commercial air conditioning?

It’s unlikely you will need planning permission to install a small air conditioning unit. Smaller businesses or domestic buildings will be covered under the terms of permitted development rights, meaning they will have the approval to undertake certain types of work providing you’ve got legal ownership of the building.

However, this can all depend on the size of the air conditioning unit and before looking at any commercial air conditioner installation, it’s always a good idea to check in with your local council to check whether you need planning permission first.


What air conditioning regulations/inspections do I need to follow?

There are a few air conditioning inspections and regulations that you need to be aware of.

F-Gas Company Certificate: F-Gas (Fluorinated gas) is a manufactured gas which greatly contributes to the greenhouse effect. Because of this, the Environmental Agency (EA) has made it mandatory for all businesses that install and maintain stationary air-conditioning, refrigeration or any other setups that require F-Gas setup must be certified with a F-Gas Company Certificate by law.

TM44 Inspections: If you have installed or thinking of installing a commercial air conditioning system with an combined total cooling capacity greater than 12kW, it must be regularly inspected every 5 years by an accredited air conditioning energy assessor to comply with legislation.

TM44 inspections and are a legal requirement that involve the assessor undertaking a full review of all your air-conditioning systems, making recommendations on how your systems could be more energy efficient and whether you need a replacement or alternative cooling systems.

After the assessment has taken place, you will receive a copy of the inspection report which will include:

  • The efficiency of the system and suggest any improvements
  • Identify any faults and suggested actions
  • Outline the adequacy of the equipment maintenance
  • Discuss the adequacy of the installed controls and control settings
  • Look at the current size of the system in relation to the cooling load
  • A summary of the findings including any key recommendations, including any suggestions to optimise performance.

The person responsible for the air conditioning system is also responsible for ensuring these inspections are carried out and keeping a record of the reports.


What are the penalties for not complying with the UK’s commercial air conditioning legal requirements?

The current penalty for failure to carry out a TM44 inspection for your air conditioning unit is £300. If you’re unable to provide a copy of the report to a Trading Standards Officer within 7 days, the penalty is fixed at £200.

Businesses who don’t have an F-Gas certificate but are responsible for an air conditioning or refrigeration unit are at risk of facing fines as large as £200,000 by the Environment Agency.

Does my commercial air conditioning unit need regular maintenance?

Although air con maintenance checks aren’t mandatory, it’s recommended that you schedule a service twice a year, even if you don’t suspect a problem. Not only do these regular checks validate the manufacturer’s warranty, but also helps to keep your air con system working efficiently, cost-effectively and reduce any faults.

Here at Airkool, we offer a planned maintenance programme on new and existing installations, giving you peace of mind that your system will always be running efficiently.


Where can I find an air conditioning specialist?

Airkool is one of Hull and East Yorkshire’s leading air conditioning specialists, with qualified and accredited engineers to ensure that all units are fitted to the highest specifications.

With a full backup and maintenance service that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year – look no further than Airkool for commercial air conditioner installation.