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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the EU Advisory Committee on the training in architecture is next due to meet; whether representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if she will make a statement. [66455]

Mr. McNulty: I have been asked to reply.

The next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Training and Education in the Field of Architecture (ACETA) has been scheduled provisionally for 20 November 2002. The date is still to be confirmed by the EU Commission. No representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have been or (b) are members of it.

The mandate of this Committee is to help to ensure a comparably high standard of education and training for architects throughout the Community, and permit free movement of people and provision of services as Single Market objectives. It normally meets once a year.

The UK Delegation to the ACETA consists of one Government official from this Office (Building Regulations Division), the Chief Executive of the

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Architects Registration Board, two representatives from the architectural profession, and two representatives from schools of architecture.


Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the President of the Council how many questions to Ministers for written answer have been tabled this session by the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow); and what has been the cost of responding to them. [68868]

Mr. Robin Cook: At the close of business on Tuesday, 9 July, the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) had tabled 4,382 1 questions at a total cost of £565,278.

Female Staff

Mr. Bercow: To ask the President of the Council what percentage of the staff of his Department are women; and what the percentage was in June 1997. [66919]

Mr. Robin Cook: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, on 5 July 2002, Official Report, column 622W.

Statutory Instruments

Mr. Bercow: To ask the President of the Council how many statutory instruments have been (a) introduced, (b) removed and (c) amended by his Department since 1 January; and what the (i) cost and (ii) saving has been in each case. [64638]

Mr. Robin Cook: [pursuant to his reply, 9 July 2002, c. 837W]: I regret to say that there was an error on the number of statutory instruments which have been amended by my Department. The figure given was one. The correct figure is two.


Election Nominations

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many parish councils (a) did not receive sufficient nominations to have an election in May and (b) are missing as a result. [66217]

Mr. Raynsford: This information is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, no parish councils would be "missing" as a result of insufficient nominations for election. Under powers in the Local Government Act 1972, the remaining councillors would be able to co-opt people on to the council or, if the council had become inquorate, the district council would be able to co-opt members to enable council business to continue.

Terminal 5

Keith Vaz: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the final cost was of the planning inquiry into Terminal 5. [66328]

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Mr. McNulty: The total cost of Terminal 5 inquiry to all participants is estimated at over £83 million, including certain pre-inquiry costs.

Out-of-town Shopping Centres

Keith Vaz: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many applications for planning permission for out-of-town shopping centres have been agreed since 7 January. [66326]

Mr. McNulty: Local planning authorities provide quarterly statistical returns of planning decisions made, but details, such as their location, are not held centrally and therefore could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Facilities (Minimum Requirements)

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will place in the Library the minimum requirements for (a) houses, (b) flats, (c) hotels and hostels, (d) houses in multiple occupation, (e) prisons and (f) university halls of residence for (i) space, (ii) lighting, (iii) ventilation, (iv) bathroom and toilet facilities and (v) fire escapes. [66679]

Mr. McNulty: There are a number of regulations in place in relation to minimum requirements for dwellings, including houses, flats, hotels and hostels, houses in multiple occupation and university halls of residence.

This reply deals with areas of regulation for which my Department is primarily responsible. As regards prisons, my Department is responsible for fire safety matters only. I will ensure that the relevant documents are in the Library.

Building Regulations

The minimum requirements for the construction of most new buildings and certain extensions and alterations of existing buildings in England and Wales are given in the Building Regulations 2000 (SI 2000 No. 2531) (as amended by SI 2001 No. 3335 and SI 2002 No. 440). Buildings which are owned and/or occupied on behalf of a Crown Authority, such as some prisons, are exempt from both the procedural and technical aspects of the Building Regulations.

The Building Regulations are made for the purpose of securing reasonable standards of health and safety, welfare and convenience of persons in or about buildings, and the design of buildings to further conservation of fuel and power. The technical requirements of the Building Regulations are divided into fourteen substantive parts. These include Part B (Fire safety -including fire escapes and escape lighting); Part F (Ventilation); Part G (Hygiene—including bathroom and toilet facilities); and Parts L1 & L2 (Conservation of fuel and power—including energy efficiency of lighting systems). The Regulations make no requirements with regard to the minimum size or amount of living space that should be provided in buildings.

These Regulations are performance based, rather than prescriptive, and are supported by Approved Documents which offer ways of satisfying the requirements of the Regulations.

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Housing Fitness Standard

Under the housing fitness standard, set out in section 604 in the Housing Act 1985, as amended by the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, a dwelling is unfit if, in the opinion of the local authority, it fails to meet one of nine specified requirements and, by reason of that failure, is not reasonably suitable for occupation. The requirements constitute the minimum deemed necessary for a dwelling house to be fit for human habitation. Among other requirements a dwelling should have adequate provision for lighting, heating and ventilation, have an adequate piped supply of wholesome water, have an effective system for the drainage of foul, waste and surface water, have a suitably located WC for exclusive use of the occupants, have a bath or shower and wash-hand basin, with hot and cold water.

Houses in Multiple Occupation

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are subject to the general housing fitness standard in section 604 of the 1985 Act and in addition local housing authorities have discretionary power to ensure HMOs are fit for the number of occupants under s352. This includes ensuring such properties have adequate toilet and bathroom facilities and adequate means of escape from fire and other fire precautions. The Housing (Fire Safety in Houses in Multiple Occupation) Order 1997 (SI 1997/230) places a mandatory duty on local authorities to ensure, in consultation with local fire authorities, that HMOs of three storeys or more and occupied by more than four persons are adequately equipped with means of escape from fire.

The Housing (Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation) Regulations 1990 (SI 1990/830) place a duty on the manager of an HMO, among other things, to ensure that installations for lighting, toilet and bathing facilities in common use are maintained in repair, a clean condition and good order. The manager is responsible for ensuring means of escape from fire and other fire precautions and windows and other means of ventilation are maintained in repair and proper working order and in respect of fire escapes and other precautions, free from obstruction.

Hostels and most University halls of residence are classified as HMOs.


Overcrowding standards are set out in Part X of the 1985 Act. The Room Standard is breached if two people of opposite sexes, who are not living together as husband and wife, must sleep in the same room. The Space Standard specifies the number of people who may sleep in a dwelling according to the number of rooms.

Fire Safety

Some hotels and boarding houses (including halls of residence at universities where these are used as sleeping accommodation for conference facilities etc), are designated under section 1 of the Fire Precautions Act 1971 as requiring a fire certificate. (Those that provide sleeping accommodation for more than six guests or staff or any accommodation above the first floor or below the ground floor are designated). It is a requirement, under section 5 of the 1971 Act that in order to gain a fire certificate the fire authority must be satisfied that the means of escape are such as may reasonably be required in the circumstances of the case. Guidance for owners/occupiers and enforcing authorities is contained in Chapter 13 of the publication "Fire Precautions Act 1971:

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Guide to Fire Precautions in Premises Used as Hotels and Boarding Houses Which Require a Fire Certificate" (TSO; ISBN 0–11–34–1005–0).

In hotels, boarding houses, prisons, university halls of residence, houses in multiple occupation, hostels and most other places where staff are employed to work (other than single private dwellings and private accommodation areas of flats) the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (as amended by the Fire Precautions (Workplace) (Amendment) Regulations 1999) will also apply. This regime utilises risk assessment of the premises to determine the fire precautions that are necessary in the circumstances of the case—including the means of escape. Regulation 5 imposes requirements in respect of means of escape. Guidance to employers is given in part 3 of the publication "Fire Safety: an employers guide" (TSO; ISBN0–11–341229–0).

Specific guidance on fire safety standards for prisons is given in HM Prison Service document: Fire Standards in Prison Establishments Principles of Design and Standards of Construction.

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