HC Deb 01 July 1907 vol 177 cc334-5

To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether the adoption by local authorities of the method of construction known as ferro-concrete is discouraged by his Board; and whether his Board require a much shorter period for repayment of loans if this method is adopted than the normal period; whether he is aware that ferro-concrete has been proved both on the Continent and in the United States after many years experience to be durable and fire-resisting, and that it is about to be used in the construction of the new General Post Office; and whether, having regard to the importance of this question both to local authorities and to those interested in the manufacture of cement, he can see his way to treating loans for purposes which involve this method of construction on at least as favourable a footing as loans for construction with bricks and mortar.

(Answered by Mr. John Burns.) I am advised that it is doubtful whether ferro-concrete is a suitable material for permanent structural works under all conditions, and that there is need for caution in dealing with it. The Local Government Board have had under their notice examples of the failure of works constructed with it. I believe that this material is intended to be used in the construction of the new General Post Office, and it is the case that it has been used for some years on the Continent and in the United States, but its use has not always been successful. I am not at present satisfied that the periods allowed for the repayment of loans for works constructed of ferro-concrete can properly be extended.