Building Operations.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Information. – in the House of Commons on 20th May 1942.

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Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Romford

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings whether he has seen the report of the Association of Architects, Surveyors and Technical Assistants on speeding-up building work; whether it is still the decision of the Government that non-British subjects cannot be employed in principle in the trade as technicians; and whether active steps can now be taken to use this reserve of labour?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

The reply to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. The employment of aliens under the Crown in civil capacities is controlled by the Emergency Powers (Defence) Regulation 60D. Their use by contractors is not restricted in this way, and I am not aware that any difficulty has arisen in connection with the employment of persons in this category.

Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Romford

Is my hon. Friend aware that there are a number of Polish technicians in this country who have not been allowed to assist us so far, and will he consider them if I send particulars?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

If my hon. Friend has another Question to ask, he should refer to the Home Secretary.

Photo of Mr Alfred Bossom Mr Alfred Bossom , Maidstone

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings whether he intends standardising on a nation-wide basis the laws and regulations controlling building operations; and, if so, how long will it be before this information is available in order that work may be started on designs for post-war buildings?

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich

The requirements regarding building operations necessarily vary with differing circumstances of different localities, and my Noble Friend does not think that the imposition of uniform standards throughout the country would be in the public interest. The possibility, however, of securing greater uniformity in technical requirements will be considered.

Photo of Mr Alfred Bossom Mr Alfred Bossom , Maidstone

Is my hon. Friend aware that the same piece of wood within a radius of 10 miles from this House has three different strengths and does he not think that that is perfectly ridiculous?

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich

The conclusion of my answer indicates that my Noble Friend has sympathy with some of the points which my hon. Friend has in mind.

Photo of Mr Alfred Bossom Mr Alfred Bossom , Maidstone

When will my hon. Friend let us have some indication of what is to happen in this direction?

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich

My hon. Friend will appreciate that this does not concern only the Department to which he has addressed the Question. His suggestion of uniformity goes far beyond the matter which he has indicated in his Supplementary Question. The question of danger of fire, for example, is different in rural and in urban areas, and materials and practices which might be suitable in rural areas are not necessarily suitable in towns.

Photo of Mr Alfred Bossom Mr Alfred Bossom , Maidstone

Is my hon. Friend aware that on the two sides of Edgware Road the same conditions do not apply?

Photo of Mr Alfred Bossom Mr Alfred Bossom , Maidstone

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings whether he will put an end to the existing procedure which compels an owner or his architect, desiring to erect a building, to apply for permission and obtain approval to proceed from, in certain instances, three, four, or even more different authorities?

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich

My Noble Friend has no power to exempt a person desiring to erect a building from the obligation to obtain the approval of every authority having jurisdiction in the matter. He sympathises, however, with the view indicated by my hon. Friend and is considering the possibility of simplifying the present procedure.

Photo of Mr Alfred Bossom Mr Alfred Bossom , Maidstone

Can my hon. Friend say whether his Ministry has any comprehensive programme for eliminating these obstructions to progress?

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich

Perhaps my hon. Friend will put that Question down.