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British Standards Institution

Volume 131: debated on Friday 15 April 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any plans to implement the recommendations of the Bennett committee published in 1979 in respect of the separation of the standards-making function of the British Standards Institution and procedures for the certification of innovative products.

Following consideration of the Bennett report, the Government concluded in 1980 that the Agrement Board (now the British Board of Agrement), which issues certificates primarily for innovative building products, should remains independent. That remain our view.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the overlap between the roles of the British Board of Agrément and the British Standards Institution.

Under an agreement reached between the chairman of the BSI and the chairman of the BBA in April 1983, the BBA offers

"to assess materials, products, systems and techniques for Agrément Certification when there is no relevant British Standard or, if a relevant British Standard exists, when the subject of the certificate:
  • (a) contains some innovative element of manufacture or use and has a level of performance in use at least as good as that of the material, product, system or technique complying with the British Standard, or
  • (b) has a performance in use which is substantially better than that of the material, product, system or technique complying with the British Standard."
  • The agreement goes on to say that the

    "BBA will not renew or maintain existing Agrément Certificates once a product or system is fully covered by amendments or revision of existing British Standard specifications or by new British Standard specifications."

    A joint BSI/BBA liaison committee meets regularly, under an independent chairman, to resolve any problems as they arise.