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HIGHWAYS AGENCY BACKS PRODUCT PASSPORTS

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A joint initiative that will speed up the approval of new products and systems for use on Britain's roads has been ...
A joint initiative that will speed up the approval of new products and systems for use on Britain's roads has been launched by the Highways Agency, the CSS and the British Board of Agrement (BBA).

It will be known as the Highway Authorities Product Approval Scheme (HAPAS) and will in effect provide new products with passports.

Advances in materials technology have resulted in a large number of innovative products such as thin layer asphalt surfacing and high friction surface treatments coming rapidly on stream.

To make sure they can be exploited quickly, a new reliable certification procedure is required. This will provide a customer with the confidence he needs about performance and allow industry to market their products effectively.

Highways Agency's road surfaces specialist Graham Bowskill said, on behalf of the group:

'Until now new products had to get separate approvals from individual highway authorities which was a laborious, time-consuming and expensive procedure.

'By using the British Board of Agrement to evaluate individual products, engineers all over the country will be able to judge the respective merits of adopting different products against individual site requirements.

'Highway authorities will no longer need to run their own product approval schemes. With us all working to the same guidelines we will have a common approach on performance and safety in which the road user can have confidence.

Added BBA director, Peter Hewlett:

'This approach reflects sensible cooperation between the BBA, the Highways Agency and other agencies by building on our established series of Roads and Bridges Certificates. HAPAS will help innovating manufacturers obtain acceptance of their products. It is a significant step forward for this sector.'

The new scheme will be embraced by standard specifications for many highway authorities and the Highways Agency's own Specification for Highway Works is being amended to include HAPAS.

The BBA has set up specialist groups with representatives from industry, the Highways Agency and County Surveyors' Society and the Transport Research Laboratory so assessment and test procedures will reflect state of the art knowledge.

-- The Agrement certificates will be published as part of the existing BBA Roads and Bridges series within the BBA Highway Authorities Product Approval Scheme - HAPAS.

-- HAPAS is an approval scheme which has been established through the Highways Agency and County Surveyors' Society. It provides a means for manufacturers to obtain approval for use of their innovative and proprietary products within defined performance criteria. It is particularly relevant to products which fall outside current standards and specifications.

-- Technical soundness and objectivity is provided by the involvement of users, specifiers, producers, contractors and other competent organisations according to the nature of the products under scrutiny.

In particular, inputs will be made as appropriate by:

The British Board of Agrement (BBA) The Highways Agency The County Surveyors' Society (CSS) Other highways organisations including overseeing authorities, local authorities and DBFO interests Technical committees of trade associations Other specialist experts and bodies as required.

-- Certificates issued within HAPAS by BBA will form part of the existing BBA Roads and Bridges Series of Certificates. These are the principle means by which producers can demonstrate that their proprietary products meet mandatory and general performance requirements. Specifications can be written to include requirements for certification, when appropriate, thereby ensuring that only satisfactory products are used on site.

-- Within the BBA, a Technical Advisory Committee (HiTAC) has been set up to manage activities under this scheme with members drawn from organisations listed above with technical expertise in highways work.

It is chaired by the BBA's director, Dr P C Hewlett. HiTAC is responsible for establishing Specialist Groups to prepare detailed Guidelines for the assessment and certification of products in defined areas. Following acceptance by HiTAC of the Guidelines, the BBA certification process is then available to producers.

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