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Suppliers frustrated with standards body

MATERIALS

PRODUCT manufacturers have hit out at the role that standards body BSI takes in promoting UK products.

In a letter to Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Patricia Hewitt, Construction Products Association president Roy Harrison complained that BSI was charging too much for copies of new European standards.

He said: 'Companies in our industry buy considerable numbers of standards.We see BSI as a partner in promoting the interests of UK plcs, but are increasingly disappointed in the part it plays.'

Mr Harrison highlighted the fact that standards from other countries, such as the United States, France, Germany and eastern European countries, were often cheaper than UK standards and sometimes free.

He said: 'The problem is that, once designs are developed to American standards, they provide an advantage to those manufacturing them and present a barrier to many UK companies.'

In the letter, the Association claimed the problem lies in the different objectives of the standards writing section of BSI and the commercial area of testing and management operations systems.

Mr Harrison called for BSI to be run on similar lines to the standards body in Australia, where the commercial operation was sold and the money raised used to support a separate standards writing and marketing operation.

BSI was unavailable to comment on the matter.