As the go-live date for the NSW medical gas and mechanical services licensing system draws closer, the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) has moved to clarify aspects of the scheme that are causing concern within the industry.
Earlier this month, NSW Customer Service sent out an email to existing license holders urging them to start applying now for the licensing scheme, which comes into effect on 1 March, 2023.
The email warned that the license will be legally required by those “testing and commissioning mechanical heating, cooling or ventilation systems”.
Understandably, this caused confusion within the industry, as it is not consistent with the advice that was provided by NSW Fair Trading late last year.
Also, to obtain a mechanical services license, applicants would need a Certificate III in Plumbing (Mechanical Services) or a Certificate III in Plumbing – rather than a Certificate III in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.
Industry groups supporting the implementation of the new mechanical services license – including AIRAH, AMCA Australia and RACCA – have moved to assure their members that if they have an air conditioning and refrigeration license and are doing work within the scope of that license, they do not have to apply for a mechanical services license.
AIRAH CEO, Tony Gleeson, said the rules have not changed.
“We have confirmed directly with the NSW government that the rules around the new license have not changed since their last statement,” he said.
“If you hold an air conditioning and refrigeration license, you can continue to do the work under that license without needing a mechanical services license. This includes testing and commissioning of air conditioning systems.
“We encourage people to visit the NSW Fair Trading website for more information on the license types and how to apply.”
Although the new license is not set to unduly affect HVACR professionals, it is still not clear what the impact will be for the water treatment industry.
Meetings are ongoing between the NSW government and industry stakeholders to determine where the license lines will be drawn for equipment such as cooling towers and chemical dosing systems.
“HVACR is a complicated space that runs across a number of different skillsets,” Gleeson said.
“It’s vital that industry is involved to help the government understand the different sectors, roles and jobs, and the systems they work on.
“Ultimately, we are all working towards the same goal – safer, more sustainable, healthier, and more effective systems. AIRAH will continue to represent our members and the wider HVACR sector, working with other industry groups and the government to achieve this.”