HC Deb 14 December 1992 vol 216 c33W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make third party quality certification mandatory for firms designing and erecting bridges.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

The Departments officials will shortly be discussing the possible recognition of an independent quality assurance—QA—certification scheme with the British Constructional Steelwork Association. The scheme may encompass also those aspects of the detailed design of steelwork which are carried out by steelwork fabricators.

Such recognition could lead to QA certification being made a mandatory requirement of the Departments specification for highway works for a specified steelwork range. In accordance with EC directives, the Department would have to recognise corresponding accredited schemes in other EC member countries, provided that they were equivalent to the scheme recognised in the United Kingdom.

In the meantime, the quality of steelwork for departmental construction schemes is ensured by checking that the materials and workmanship, and the erection of the finished steelwork, comply with the Departments specification for highway works and with the relevant British standards. This checking is carried out by the Departments agent, usually the engineer to the contract, and, where necessary, involves inspection and testing in works located in other countries.