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Plan Aims to Cut Red Tape for UK Upfitters

July 16, 2014

More than £10 million a year could be saved across the UK bodybuilding and conversion industry, thanks to a new, streamlined Type Approval process developed jointly by the Department for Transport (DfT) and The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT said it has spent the past six months working with the DfT and Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) on an alternative National Small Series process that would make a dramatic, 15-fold, reduction in the complexity of approving vehicles for use.

“The new Type Approval process, designed by SMMT’s technical experts, could save the vehicle conversion and bodybuilding industry more than £10 million a year,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “By streamlining the hugely complicated and fragmented approval process, bureaucracy can be cut significantly, easing the pressure on over-stretched IVA centers.”

More than 55,000 multi-stage-built commercial vehicles are registered in the UK every year and each could now be approved through the alternative National Small Series Type Approval process, according to the SMMT. The new system enables vehicles of the same category and number of axles to be approved under one type, reducing the current 60+ possible heavy commercial vehicle types that currently exist to just four.

Under present requirements, a bodybuilder has to create a new “type” for each different base chassis that is used. A bodybuilder could be required to have more than 60 different approvals – a major financial and administrative burden, according to the SMMT.

In such cases, the only practical option would be for the bodybuilder to use the DVSA Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) scheme. The SMMT said it is working with ministers, government departments, and agencies to ease the approval traffic jam at IVA centers, so removing the need for hundreds of UK bodybuilders to obtain an IVA can only ease the pressure on agencies and businesses.

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