Why certified performance data is needed? Interview with Jaap Hogeling Chair of CEN TC 371 Program Committee on EPBD supporting standards
Why designers and installers need certified data?
For designers and installers this may be the initial approach when these parties have interest in the Life Cycle cost of the building, they will choose for products with a more reliable performance. Choosing for certified products is then the first step. This is similar to a situation when clear performance criteria are contracted and commissioning of the design and installation work (or certified installation work) is required.
What is the impact of the certification in practice?
Product certification is essential to assure the overall performance and energy performance of buildings. Designer and consultant pay a lot of attention to select, project and install HVAC&R products as part of heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and cooling systems in buildings. They have to base their selection on the data presented by the producer or supplier of these products. The system designer or installer has to be sure that these data are reliable and applicable. The building system or sub-system will only perform according the expectation and connected contract obligations if the product data are correct and complete.
If at the end the building or building system doesn’t perform according the agreed design specifications, who is to blame?
- The designer because of a poor design?
- The installer because of poor installation work?
- The supplier of the integrated products because of poor performance of these products?
Given the fact that the installer is in many cases the subcontracting party, it is the installer who gets the blame. For the client this is simple, the installer installs and should perform. As professionals in our field we know that this may be clients´ logic, but is very often not correct. The contracted installer may not be paid or responsible for the design. Should he have checked the design or the correct performance of the products? Is he to blame if he trusted the inaccurate or not reliable product data? How could an average installer ever win a dispute on this issue when opposing a specialised producer?
Given these many questions it seems logical that a substantial number of reliable producers in our field agreed to choose for the certification of their products. With certified products they want to convince their clients that the performance data of their products are reliable. This certification is a substantial step in the right direction.
How would you develop the product certification further?
By giving preference to the certified products and promoting this to the client. The contracts should require this, if not we don’t have a levelled playing field; non-certified products may often be cheaper.
Product certification should more focus on the requirement of the system designer/installer, report all data needed for good design and installation work. The ECO-design directive requires more data of these products in the near future. This could be a chance for the further development for certification schemes. For products having impact on the energy performance of buildings, the EC (Mandate 495) will make the producers aware that the systems and product standards developed are in line with the EPBD procedures under Mandate 480.
How can the certification schemes be used further to improve the performance of the HVAC systems?
A next step for our HVAC sector could be certifying the designer and installer according an EN45011 based certification scheme. This means that a contractor or client can choose for a certified installing company where the quality assurance it guaranteed by the certification system that requires, among others, a regular 3rd party inspection of the realized projects. These schemes will generally be developed for specific application fields. They will also include to the use of certified products.