Agrément SA spreads its wings

Friday, June 15, 2018

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi has launched Agrément South Africa as a fully-fledged legal entity of the Department of Public Works. 

The entity had previously conducted its technical assessments at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) campus laboratories and test sites on behalf of the Department of Public Works (DPW). 

The 48-year-old entity is tasked with conducting testing, performance and certification of construction industry products and methodologies to ensure quality and durability of such products on behalf of the Department of Public Works. 

Agrément South Africa plays an integral part of the department’s scarce technical expertise, as it ensures compliance with the construction industry’s highest quality standards and performance. 

The entity is also tasked with managing the South African Eco-Labelling System as government’s recognised system for building materials and products. The system will address indoor air quality, comfort, environmental issues, and material and energy resource conservation.  

The Eco-Labelling System will now be incorporated in the National Department of Public Works Standard Specifications for Construction Works. 

“Agrément SA comes onto the scene when a new product or process is developed outside the existing scope of SABS and provides the necessary testing and certification to provide assurances that the product is fit-for-purpose.

“Agrément SA has as its vision to be a world class technical assessment agency,” Nxesi said. 

Nxesi said Agrément SA commenced its operations, independent of the CSIR, as an entity and implementing agency of the Department of Public Works from 1 April 2018. 

Marketing Agrément SA to industry 

In the coming weeks and months, Agrément SA plans to increase its visibility nationally to ensure that communities and industry professionals are aware of its services. 

Prior to today’s launch, the Minister and Agrément South Africa leadership went on site inspections, where they were introduced to new technological innovations produced and showcased by the entity. 

The entity demonstrated the advantages of its innovative sanitation site as a future game-changer to help government’s drive to eradicate pit-toilets and contribute towards the creation of safer toilet infrastructure for disadvantaged communities. 

Some of the sanitation innovations include dry sanitation technologies, underground structures of urine diversion technologies, top structures of ecological sanitation technologies and water-borne technologies. 

The Minister and the team also viewed building site innovations. Project experts also emphasised the importance of focusing more on labour-intensive methodologies to create work opportunities, rather than heavily relying on machines and technology. 

Agrément SA also aims to promote government’s objectives of economic development, good governance and raising living standards and prosperity in South Africa. 

It is a founder-member of the World Federation of Technical Assessment Organisations and is recognised internationally. –