Key information

  1. Reference: ST0322
  2. Date updated: 26/10/2023
  3. Level: 3
  4. Route: Construction and the built environment
  5. Regulated occupation: No
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Details of the occupational standard

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T-Levels logoT Levels focus on vocational skills and can help students into skilled employment, higher study or apprenticeships. Each T Level includes an in-depth industry placement that lasts at least 45 days. Students get valuable experience in the workplace; employers get early sight of the new talent in their industry.

Occupation summary

The Refrigeration Air Conditioning and Heat Pump (RACHP) Engineering Technician is a specialist occupation involved in planning, preparing and safely carrying out work activities in process, product and space cooling. Knowledge must be transferrable between any of the core activities of refrigeration, air conditioning or heat pumping. The work is carried out in a variety of applications essential for key UK business activities such as food production, product distribution, retail storage and display, transport and office climate control, manufacturing processes (eg petrochemical, pharmaceutical), IT/Datacentres and medical/healthcare services temperature and environmental control. Key activities are: the design, installation, routine maintenance, reactive service, commissioning and de-commissioning of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump systems. Technicians require a thorough competency in their understanding of the engineering principles of thermodynamics and the vapour compression cycle in order to perform operations. A fully competent technician works without immediate supervision, and liaises effectively with other trades and with end users. Environmental, legislation and technology changes mean that the requirements for technicians in this sector are constantly evolving. European and UK Safety and Environmental legislation are key drivers in rapid technology changes in the sector which is responsible for an estimated 10% of UK greenhouse gas emissions and 16% of electricity use. RACHP Engineering Technicians have important responsibilities for the safety of themselves, work colleagues and the general public as well as minimising the environmental impact of cooling systems.

Typical job titles include:

Refrigeration Technician Engineer Air Conditioning Technician air conditioning engineer Heat pump Technician heat pump Engineer Service Technician service engineer Maintenance Technician maintenance engineer Commissioning Engineer



K1: Understanding of relevant UK and international standards, technical and environmental legislation including health & safety, environmental protection, working with pressure systems, electrical circuits and flammable substances Back to Duty

K2: Familiarity with industry Codes of Practice and other sources of up to date information and advice on technical safety and legislative aspects of their work Back to Duty

K3: Sound understanding of principles of thermodynamics, gas laws, psychrometrics, fluid flow, electricity, properties of refrigerant fluids and lubricants Back to Duty

K4: Ability to understand relevant diagrams, calculations, tools, charts, tables and formulae and apply them as appropriate Back to Duty

K5: Understanding of the function and operation of system components and how they interact in a range of different systems and applications Back to Duty

K6: Understanding of environmental impact of refrigerants, maximising efficient system performance and mitigation of direct and indirect carbon emissions Back to Duty

K7: Understanding of environmental technologies employed in the sector such as heat recovery, low GWP refrigerants, and other equipment which can be used to reduce heat gain, cooling load or energy use Back to Duty


S1: Installation, commissioning, testing, fault diagnostics, rectification of systems, component/refrigerant suitability and selection Back to Duty

S2: Working with pressure systems and electrical circuits and systems Back to Duty

S3: Evaluating and mitigating risks of refrigerants including toxicity, flammability and other potential risks or hazards to self and the general public Back to Duty

S4: Decommissioning, safe recovery and disposal of equipment and hazardous waste transfer Back to Duty

S5: Electrical and electronic control systems setting, testing and fault finding; and their integration with system-associated communication networks Back to Duty

S6: Positioning, fixing, jointing and testing of pipework, electrical circuits and water circuits where relevant Back to Duty

S7: Determining heating and cooling loads and selecting and balancing appropriate components and systems for maximum performance and efficiency Back to Duty

S8: Using system operating parameters for efficient performance to achieve measurable and sustained reductions in carbon emissions Back to Duty

S9: Routine and reactive service and maintenance, testing, fault finding, reporting and rectification Back to Duty

S10: Retrofitting and retrofilling of existing equipment to lower GWP refrigerants including safety, reliability and environmental considerations Back to Duty


B1: Disciplined approach to assessing, managing, mitigating and avoiding risk in a variety of situations to themselves, colleagues, the public and the environment Back to Duty

B2: Positive ethical attitude and behaviours including reliability, willingness to take responsibility. Commitment to completing tasks and ability to work as part of a multidisciplined team Back to Duty

B3: Employs logical thinking, and determined attitude to problem solving and technical challenges Back to Duty

B4: Attention to detail, following procedures, planning and preparation, verifying compliance Back to Duty

B5: Takes responsibility for work and interactions with colleagues, customers, suppliers or subcontractors Back to Duty

B6: Uses a range of communications methods effectively, positively and in timely fashion Back to Duty

B7: Able to adapt to changes in conditions, technologies, situations and a wide variety of different working environments Back to Duty

B8: Willingness to learn and commitment to professional development and to applying principles of sound engineering and sustainability of engineering systems Back to Duty

T Level in building services engineering for construction

Qualification type: T Level

Qualification level: 3

Awarding organisation: City & Guilds

Approval date: 17/12/2020

Available from: 01/09/2021

Occupational specialism: Refrigeration engineering and air conditioning engineering

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Aligned occupational standards

ST0322 Refrigeration air conditioning and heat pump engineering technician

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