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Setting standards

LETTERS

As the UK spokesbody in the European Organisation for Technical Approvals, we have to respond to the claim that European technical approval guidelines (ETAG) will reduce the quality of concrete fixings (NCE 29 November 2001).

ETAGs are not developed in secret. All sectors of the industry are invited to contribute to the publication. Drafts are prepared, circulated, commented on and recirculated. In this process, anyone - working through an appropriate European trade or professional body - can have his or her say. Indeed, the European trade association for anchors was closely involved in the development of this ETAG.

Of course, there will always be companies whose products exceed the requirements of the guideline, but this does not exactly happen in the UK with British Standards. If a manufacturer makes it to a BS it can only stamp the number on its product, whether it exceeds the BS by a mile or clings on to it by its fingernails.

As with BBA certificates, two ETAs for generically similar products need not necessarily contain the same performance figures. They will both allow the essential requirements of the Construction Products Directive to be met but one may have a better performance than the other.

Alan Thomas, sales and marketing manager, BBA, PO Box 195, Bucknalls Lane, Garston, Watford WD25 9BA

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