Technical assessment agency Agrément South Africa has become a fully-fledged legal entity of the Department of Public Works (DPW). The agency, which conducts testing, performance and certification of construction industry products and methodologies to ensure quality and durability of the products on behalf of the DPW, was previously managed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Assessment agency to operate under Department of Public Works“Agrément South Africa is an integral part of the department’s scarce technical expertise, as it ensures compliance with the construction industry’s highest quality standards and performance. Agrément has as its vision to be a world class technical assessment agency. It also aims to promote government’s objectives of economic development, good governance and raising living standards and prosperity in South Africa,” explains Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi.

The 48-year-old entity is also tasked with managing the South African Eco-Labelling System as government’s recognised system for building materials and products. The system addresses indoor air quality, comfort, environmental issues, and material and energy resource conservation. As a result, the Eco-Labelling System will now be incorporated in the National Department of Public Works Standard Specifications for Construction Works.

According to Agrément CEO Joe Odhiambo, one of the first focal points for Agrément will be to eradicate pit toilets and contribute towards the creation of safer toilet infrastructure for disadvantaged communities and, thereby, reduce possible injuries or fatalities. Nxesi says the agnecy plans to increase its visibility nationally to ensure that communities and industry professionals are aware of its services in the coming weeks and months.

While Agrément’s portfolio seems to overlap with the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), the SABS deals with subjects that have, or can be, standardised, while Agrément tests new products or processes developed outside the existing scope of the SABS. Agrément South Africa’s certificates are comprehensive advisory documents, intended to assist building authorities and other interested parties to decide, on technical grounds, whether a particular innovation will be suitable for a specified purpose in a given situation.

The certificate contains an objective assessment of the performance-in-use of the subject to allow designers and specifiers to acquaint themselves with its likely performance. There is a detailed technical description, which enables building inspectors and other interested parties to check the manufacture, installation or erection of the product or system.

Image Credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA  



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