§ 33. Mr. David Renton
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that his eastern regional office is, in some cases, requiring local authorities to submit priced bills of quantities of building materials before granting approval for the building of council houses; that this involves a large amount of unnecessary clerical work and much delay; and whether he will take steps to ensure that bills of quantities are not demanded in future before approval.
§ Mr. Renton
Does not the Minister agree that it causes further administrative delay to ask for bills of prices and quantities of building materials; and is 2264 it not a fact that if the contract price is exceeded all the time-sheets, bills and invoices have to be produced before an extra demand is met on the contract price? For that reason, would it not be better to get rid of this somewhat dilatory procedure?
§ Mr. Bevan
I cannot accept the argument that administrative delays are holding up the building of houses. As some moon houses were put through administratively a year before they were started to be built, it cannot be argued that administration has held up the building of houses. What held up the building of houses was the fact that the houses were spread out too thinly. In regard to the last part of the Question, it has always been usual to have prices and quantities quoted because then the housing officer knows which items are likely to cost too much.
§ Mr. Renton
If I send particulars of any houses which have already been started and have had their completion delayed due to these administrative reasons, will the Minister look into them?
§ Mr. J. Lewis
Is the Minister aware that in building under private enterprise it is common practice for a quantities surveyor to submit a bill of quantities to the builders.
§ Mr. Bossom
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the United States there is no question of any prices and quantities being quoted?