§ Mr. Bright
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidance the Building Research Establishment is able to offer on the inspection and assessment of steel-framed and steel-clad houses.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
The Building Research Establishment's fifth report on steel framed and steel clad houses which deals with inspection and assessment techniques, is published today. It provides detailed guidance on methods of inspection and assessment needed for a structural survey, identifies locations where steel may be vulnerable to corrosion, and gives advice on the likely durability of protective coatings. It also contains a comprehensive list of steel framed, steel clad and cast iron house types, with their known locations.
The report is based on the BRE's detailed examination of a large number of dwellings built in 24 different systems in a wide variety of locations. It confirms that the vast majority of steel houses have demonstrated levels of performance not very different from many traditionally built dwellings of the same age, and can be expected to give good performance into the foreseeable future, with a life on a par with rehabilitated dwellings of conventional construction.
I hope that this report, read in conjunction with those on individual house types which the BRE is now producing, will be of particular value to building societies and their surveyors when considering lending on properties of this type. I believe that local authorities and other owners will find the report equally helpful when approaching the repair and maintenance of these houses.
Also published today is a summary of the report as a BRE Information paper, and a Companion Information paper on repair and improvement techniques. Copies of the report and the Information papers are being sent to local authorities in England which own steel and cast iron houses, and to the professional institutions whose members have a practical interest in the subject. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales are taking similar action.