HC Deb 23 January 1987 vol 108 cc779-80W
Mr. Ward

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement following his consideration of the study of the Building Research Establishment by Sir Henry Chilver and Sir Peter Harrop.

Mr. Ridley

I welcome the recommendations made by this study, which provides a clear basis for the future of the Building Research Establishment within my Department. A copy of the study report has been placed in the House of Commons Library today and copies are being sent to those who contributed to the study.

Among its major recommendations the report contains proposals on BRE's primary role, on the basis for its work for the Department of the Environment, on its relationship with the construction industry and on the planning of Government research requirements: The report recommends that BRE's primary role should be to act as contractor for Government, working on health and safety in buildings, the performance of buildings, standards and codes of practice on construction and the pursuit of national policies on the construction and use of buildings. It also recommends that a DOE Steering Committee should be set up representing Government Departments, BRE and BRE visitors to agree a medium term research plan, settle targets, objectives and priorities and watch over performance. BRE should be allowed to undertake more work commissioned by and paid for by private industry, accounting for at least 10 per cent. but not more than 15 per cent. of total effort. Government research conducted as part of its sponsorship of the construction industry should be more concerned than at present with fostering competitiveness and less with performance standards and research of this kind should be carried out mainly through research associations on a cost-sharing basis with industry.

Discussions are now beginning on the implementation of the recommendations including both management and the trade unions involved.