Dáil Éireann - Volume 584 - 27 April, 2004

Written Answers. - Irish Agrément Board.

  177. Mr. Kehoe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of persons that are directly employed in the Irish Agrément Board, the comparative figures for the past few years; and the products which have agrément certificates. [11433/04]

  Mr. M. Ahern: The Irish Agrément Board, IAB, is a consultative committee of the National Standards [296] Authority of Ireland, NSAI, established under section 10 of the National Standards Authority of Ireland Act 1996. It deals with certification of building products, processes or systems for fitness for purpose. The IAB does not employ staff directly. Staff working in the agrément division of the NSAI are employed by both NSAI and Forfás. In 1999 the number of staff working in the agrément division was two. In 2000 this number was raised to three and it is envisaged that the number working in the area will be raised to six in the very near future.

There are 169 products approved or certified by the Irish Agrément Board for products, systems or processes. A comprehensive list of its products is to be found on the NSAI website, www.nsai.ie, along with a range of information on the Irish Agrément Board.

  178. Mr. Kehoe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of audits, six monthly or annually, which have been carried out by the Irish Agrément Board on agrément supplied products; and the action that was taken as a result. [11434/04]

  Mr. M. Ahern: In 2001 the National Standards Authority of Ireland commissioned a study on agrément in Ireland. This study was conducted by Fitzpatricks Associates, consultants. As part of the study, there was broad consultation with various groups including client companies, IBEC, Government Departments and Irish Agrément Board management and staff. Arising from the report, the NSAI decided at its board meeting in September 2003 to approve an action plan for agrément.

Due to the lack of effectiveness of the surveillance system operated by the IAB in recent years, site audits were suspended with a view to re-engineering the processes involved. As part of the action plan, the management of the Irish Agrément Board has commenced a pilot study of the requirements of surveillance for waste water treatment systems and the first pilot audit has now taken place. Under the plan, a review of the pilot audit will take place shortly and thereafter a system will be put in place to ensure effective surveillance audits. The number of planned surveillance audit days of certified companies in 2004 is 70.