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High Alumina Cement

Volume 892: debated on Monday 12 May 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will issue a circular to local authorities advising them and other building owners on what remedial measures, if any, need to be taken to make buildings permanently satisfactory for occupation, and on factors of safety and load-bearing capacities of highly converted high alumina cement;

(2) if he will issue guidance on strutting and temporary precautionary measures in buildings containing high alumina cement, and on the length of time for which it will be necessary to continue with these measures.

A circular letter, a copy of which I am sending to my hon. Friend, was issued to local authorities on 23rd April, and gives the most up-to-date guidance on the circumstances in which appraisal of buildings and remedial measures need to be considered. As explained in this letter, a sub-committee of the Building Regulations Advisory Committee has been set up to determine the criteria which structural engineers can use for checking the designs of buildings containing high alumina cement concrete. However, where remedial measures, whether temporary or permanent, are required, the nature of these will need to be determined for each particular building by a structural engineer.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide a grant to meet the costs that have been incurred by local authorities in connection with examination of structures, engineering appraisals, temporary and permanent safety measures which may have to be taken in buildings containing high alumina cement as well as the other costs involved in the disorganisation of their services.

I am discussing these problems with the representatives of the local authorities.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the full extent of the delay in completing the Government office block at Washington, County Durham, that has been caused by the need to strengthen certain high alumina cement concrete units.

It is hoped that the delay in completion of Durham House, the contract for which, incorporating high alumina cement concrete beams, was let in March 1973, will be confined to about 12 months.