HC Deb 17 July 1950 vol 477 cc1856-7
58. Mr. Bossom

asked the Minister of Works which of the recommendations for modernising building procedure made in the four Reports published by the Government, the British Building Mission to the United States of America, 1944 Report, the Girdwood Report, 1947, the Productivity Report, 1950, and the Working Party Report, 1950, his Department have recommended to firms handling Government contracts.

The Minister of Works (Mr. Stokes)

The Reports cover many aspects of building procedure, and it has been the aim of my Department to bring the recommendations to the notice of all firms engaged in the industry and to apply them, where possible, to Government contracts. The Working Party Report and the Anglo-American Productivity Report are at present being considered by my National Consultative Council.

Mr. Bossom

Is the Minister aware that the methods contained in these Reports enable people in the United States to build a 40-storey United Nations building in six months, whereas we are taking over six months to build a two-storey cottage?

Mr. Stokes

Yes, Sir, but the hon. Member will understand that the erection of a building of 40 storeys is quite different from building a house. I can assure him that the whole matter is receiving the very closest attention.

Sir W. Wakefield

Is the Minister aware that obsolete local building Acts are responsible for holding up building contracts, and that a lot more building could be done if these Acts could be brought up to date?

Mr. Stokes

If the party opposite had taken a few more active steps beforehand, we should be a little more up to date than we are now.

Mr. Duncan Sandys

While this does not arise directly out of this Question, can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that he is also examining the possibility of improving the control procedure of his own Department and other Government Departments, which are much criticised by these Reports?

Mr. Stokes

I am not responsible for other Government Departments, but I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that I am looking after my own.

Mr. Bossom

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a difference in the form of construction between a 40-storey building and a two-storey cottage? Is he aware that there are 15 more trades in the case of a 40-storey building, but that they can get the work done within six months while it takes us over six months to erect a two-storey cottage?

Mr. Stokes

It is precisely for that reason that I prefer not to try to equate the two.