Agrement Assessment - Testing for Performance

Building Services # 1970 Southhampton

The case for the Agrement Board is argued in the White Paper !'The Assessment of New Bui lding Products~~ published by HMSO in 1965 and in it the purpose of the Agrement Board is described. It is to facilitate the introduction of new products into building by llauthoritative and independent assessment of new materials and techniquesll. To make an assessment it is necessary to establish criteria and the question arises what these should be. At first sight there would seem to be a choice; a new product can, for example, be compared with the established product it is intended to replace, or a product can be judged as being llgood of its kind" solely on its own intrinsic quality. However, if the purpose of the assessment is to facilitate acceptance of the product, then the only valid criteria are those which ensure that it will be satisfactory under the conditions of use for which it is intended. This is the concept of "performance-in-use11 which is now widely accepted - and sometimes misunderstood. The performance of a product is readily identified with what the user requires of it, but this performance is dependent on the inputs and restraints to which the product is subjected, which are themselves the result of user choice and requirement. In order to determine the performance of a product, it is therefore not only necessary to know what it is required to do, but also the circumstances or conditions of use in which it is required to do it. 

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