HC Deb 02 August 1965 vol 717 cc221-2W
Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works whether he has received the Report of the Committee on Agrément; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. C. Pannell

On 3rd February 1964 my predecessor announced the appointment of a Committee, under the chairmanship of Sir Donald. Gibson, my Director General of Research and Development, to investigate the need for arrangements, on the lines of the French Agrément System, to test materials, components and methods of building. The Committee has reported to me, and I am publishing its report today. Copies are now available in the Vote Office.

The Committee recommends that a certification authority should be established to make reliable and independent assessments of innovations in the building field in order to encourage the spread of technological development in the building industry. The Government accepts this recommendation and proposes to set up for the purpose an independent body, managed by a board appointed by the Minister of Public Building and Works. The authority will test and assess innovations only at the request of their manufacturers. It will publish certificates giving the performance and characteristics of those which reach an acceptable standard. No publicity will be given to failures.

With the agreement of my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Technology, the Building Research Station will undertake or arrange for the testing and assessment work on which the authority will base its decisions. Those decisions will however be the responsibility of the authority alone.

The authority will charge manufacturers appropriate fees for its services. Some initial support will be supplied from public funds, but the Government intends that the authority should become self-supporting as soon as possible.