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Lord Howie of Troon: Perhaps I may help the Minister. These are complicated matters. We seek to clarify them for the noble Earl in the hope that the Bill will eventually be understood by the remainder of us. We are not doing too well so far.

Perhaps I may refer to the Waterloo International terminal--Waterloo Railway Station, as I prefer to call it; it is not too far away. Let us for a moment call it a piece of architecture and get away from construction, and so on. The train shed is steel, made in a factory somewhere, brought on to the site and assembled. The architect was Nicholas Grimshaw and the engineer was Tony Hunt. That component seems to be excluded from the Bill. However, the undercroft to that station--it is

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very large--is mainly massed concrete designed by Alexander Gibb. I cannot remember the contractor although he is important. That part of the railway station would be included in the Bill.

On the other hand, certain elements in the undercroft are precast concrete pieces. My noble friend Lord Berkeley mentioned earlier that those would be manufactured somewhere and brought on to the site. We have a needless complication. We have reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete--elements which are brought on to the site and excluded from the Bill. We have structural steel elements, and glass, which are brought on to the site and excluded from the Bill. But a large part of that structure is included in the Bill.

I know that the Minister will reply that the client can come to any contractual arrangements that he likes. That is quite correct. But this series of exclusions complicates matters quite needlessly. It would be much more sensible if the station, or any similar construction, were to be regarded purely as a piece of architecture, and dealt with in one contractual package.

This would greatly simplify the worries that I see the Minister has. His brow has been furrowed for two hours now; and I dare say that it will be furrowed further. However, I hope that he agrees with the amendment that we put forward as mildly and patiently as we can.

Lord Berkeley: As regards Waterloo Station, on page 59 of the Bill line 21 excludes security systems. Those are a massive part of Waterloo Station. I believe that security systems and the like are one of the biggest causes of delay in construction. I am worried to see such things excluded from such a contract.

Earl Ferrers: I am sorry if I gave the appearance to the noble Lord, Lord Howie, that my brow was furrowed. Whenever he speaks the furrows go. It is a moment of charm and happiness when I hear the noble Lord speak. He is now a great authority on Waterloo Station. Perhaps we shall find that he designed the hinges for the front door.

We seek to achieve a simple aim: to make sure that the payments of the construction industry are correctly applied. That is what the Bill is about. We then discuss these vast, grandiose schemes such as mining, nuclear constructions, Waterloo, and so forth, and those muddy what we seek to do in the Bill.

The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, said that if you build a concrete component on the site you are covered by the Bill; and if you build it off the site, you are not covered. He is quite right. There is good reason for that. One does not want to cover people who manufacture things--air ducts, ventilators, or, for instance, bricks or concrete boxes. Those are brought on to the site. We want to cover only those who would deal on the site.

The noble Lord, Lord Howie, said that the steel work, glass and concrete lumps (if lumps were brought on) in Waterloo Station were constructed elsewhere and would not be covered by the Bill. That is perfectly true, because they were constructed perhaps 100 miles away. What matters is what occurs on the site.

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I shall look at the points made by the noble Lords. This is not a simple area. I have never conceded that it is. But we have to be careful that we do not spread the Bill far too wide. We must allow those people who manufacture to do so in the way that they can. When the item comes on to the site, if the manufacturer's job is to fix a thing down, that should be part of the manufacturing, and does not come into the construction part. It is merely the fitting in of a part manufactured elsewhere.

I doubt whether I have been able to satisfy the noble Lord, Lord Howie. I sometimes do not find him too easy to persuade when he has an idea. But I shall consider what he said to see if we can go further.

Lord Swinfen: Can my noble friend tell me whether it makes a difference if the component is manufactured by the contractor or by someone else? A reinforced concrete beam could be manufactured either on site by the contractor or in the contractor's own workshops several miles away and brought to the site. The manufacturer and contractor at that point are the same person. That may not be so as regards other components.

Earl Ferrers: I think that I am right to say--I shall need to consider it--that where a piece of material is manufactured by someone else and brought into the site, that is not covered by the Bill. But I would think that the situation where a person who is a party to the contract manufactures his own component and brings it on to the site was covered. However, that is a point of complexity. I should like to take advice on it before I give a totally reassuring reply.

Lord Williams of Elvel: With great respect to the noble Earl, I do not think that that situation is covered in the Bill as drafted. It would be covered by the amendment that I propose. If the noble Earl accepts the amendment that I propose, or some equivalent wording, I am happy to rely on the Minister to produce appropriate wording. If what the noble Earl has just announced is his intention, I hope that he will accept the amendment.

Earl Ferrers: When one is presented with a curious position at a moment's notice, as it were, it is not always easy to give the right answer. I should like to consider the matter. The noble Lord, Lord Williams, would consider it if he were in my position. If I give a wrong answer, he jumps down my throat. If I say that I wish to give a right answer he jumps down my throat for saying that too. I shall consider the matter and give a correct answer if I have given an incorrect answer. I hope that I have not done so, but I may have done.

Lord Williams of Elvel: I am sure the Committee will be very interested in the correct answer when it finally comes out. I am convinced that if the noble Earl accepted the arguments, which he seemed to be accepting, towards the end of the remarks of his noble friend Lord Swinfen and of my noble friends Lord Howie and Lord Berkeley, my amendment would stand as it is.

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Nevertheless, the noble Earl will no doubt give me and the Committee the correct answer in due course. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Williams of Elvel moved Amendment No. 137:

Page 59, leave out lines 18 to 22.

The noble Lord said: A few moments ago my noble friend Lord Berkeley raised the question of the installation of security systems, including burglar alarms. I raise the question of,

    "signwriting and erecting, installing and repairing signboards and advertisements...the installation of seating, blinds and shutters...the installation of security systems, including burglar alarms, closed circuit television and public address systems",
all of which seem to us to be construction activities carried out by construction companies. I cannot for the life of me see why the Government have excluded these activities by means of paragraphs (g), (h) and (i) in the Bill. I am advised by people who know much better than I do that all are activities which should be within the ambit of the Bill. I beg to move.

Viscount Ullswater: I am attracted to the amendment moved by the noble Lord. Until I have heard what my noble friend might have to say to convince me, I cannot see that these particular operations should be excluded from "construction operations". I tried to make clear in my previous remarks the difference in respect of, as it were, the process industry in the building and civil engineering industries, which is respected in the Bill; and Clause 102(2) attempts to achieve that balance. We have had long discussions as to whether it succeeds. I am not persuaded at present that the exclusions in paragraphs (g), (h) and (i) have any connection at all to the sort of balance to which I referred.

I mentioned the definition of the Bill given by the Latham Review Working Group 10. These forms of operations fall within the definition of construction operations under that definition. I know that we are not importing that definition, although I think the noble Lord, Lord Howie of Troon, will seek to persuade the Committee that that is what we should be doing. Having said that the working group accepts these items as being part of construction operations, I hope that my noble friend will at least consider this amendment. I believe it to be quite proper.

Earl Ferrers: As I have explained on more than one occasion, this has not been an easy Bill to draft. This particular clause has not been easy, because it would either include too many people or exclude those who should be included. We have put this Bill forward as our considered thoughts as to the way ahead. Being a good, listening, caring Government, we listened to what people said to us before the Bill took shape and to what has been said during its passage. I have already proposed Amendment No. 134, which the Committee was good enough to accept, to make sure that work on warehousing is fully covered. It may well be that some of the exclusions that were appropriate when we originally drew up the list might not be appropriate when it comes to dealing with contractual relationships.

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I am still far from convinced that the work of signwriters and signboard specialists should be included in these provisions. But as to the installation of seating, blinds and shutters, and also of security systems, sufficient doubts have been raised. I was sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Williams, laughed when I said that we were a listening, caring Government. The noble Lord made a speech, I listened to it and I am prepared to consider it. I will consider these matters: they are important, and we are not convinced that we have got them right. If the noble Lord will withdraw his amendment, I will certainly see that they are considered, I hope before the next stage of the Bill.

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