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The procedure

Tarmac Johnston Material Services' Mastergrip is one of six proprietary high friction surfacing materials with HAPAS approval.

The company's former materials consultant Rory O'Connor, who is now supplying his services in Ireland, sat on the British Board of Agrement's Specialist Group SG1 on behalf of the High Friction Trade Association.

The group met for the first time in March 1996 and then a further 19 times before July 1998 when the first round of product approvals was completed.

'Our work primarily involved looking at material capabilities and performance requirements in terms of durability, adhesion and skid resistance - using the HA's standards for trunk roads - to enable the TRL to develop testing proposals, which were presented to HiTAC,' says O'Connor.

'Tarmac Johnston applied for approval of its Mastergrip material in 1997. The HAPAS requirements include a two year proof of performance, but Tarmac Johnston and several other suppliers already had long standing uses of their products for this purpose.'

HAPAS approval of Mastergrip was awarded early in 1998, but Tarmac Johnston general manager Steve Coombs says overall acceptance of the HAPAS system has been disappointing so far, mainly because it is so new - but awareness of the system is growing.

'The Highways Agency took the lead by insisting that all high friction surfacings are HAPAS accredited in its 1998 Specification for Highway Works. Other clients and specifiers have been slower to embrace the scheme, but we are starting to see more positive enquiries for HAPAS approved products,' he says.

'HAPAS certification is a sign of quality and an end performance guarantee, which is becoming an important requirement for clients in these times of tightening budgets and Best Value initiatives.'

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