Until 1993, I was responsible for the Department of the Environment's construction research programme.
My memory was refreshed by a seminar at BRE last autumn, at which the DTI announced that it was stopping its support. This has now been confirmed by Andy Pearson (25 June, pages 44-46).

In my day, several advisory committees made it clear that much of this programme was in support of the Building Regulations, public safety and basic consumer requirements. All of the programme, with the exception of work specifically linked to active Building Regulation changes, was eventually re-attributed to "innovation" and transferred to the DTI.

The impact of this DTI withdrawal is that several millions of pounds a year of support to Building Regulations and parallel work on public safety and consumer requirements will cease.

But this may not now matter to consumers. The new Europe is dominated by German and Scandinavian procedures and work. On the whole the research is sound and the procedural results very adequate – albeit very rule-bound. We will shortly (when the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister finally concedes the reality of the DTI changes) have compulsory CE marking for materials, products and prefabricated buildings. This will be based on German precedents: that is, prescriptive standards and approvals.

This will work well enough for the consumer. Pity about innovation, though!