West Midlands bodybuilder Bevan Group has secured European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval for external glass racks (frails) fitted to panel vans.
The breakthrough follows months of negotiation with VCA, the Department for Transport agency responsible for confirming type approvals to all automotive European Community Directives and other regulations.
It means that vans fitted by Bevan with racks manufactured at the Merseyside production facility of Supertrucks, the glass transport solutions specialist which it acquired earlier this year, can be accorded Whole Vehicle Type Approval automatically, under the enhancement scheme.
Previously, such vehicles have had to be submitted to the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval) tests. But as well as adding cost, this process can result in delivery delays – often extending to several weeks – before the van is registered and put to work.
Bevan Group was also the first UK bodybuilder to secure European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval certification for its vehicle bodies. The Halesowen-based manufacturer secured this status as long ago as March 2009 – the deadline by which all categories of commercial vehicle must meet Type Approval standards is 29 October this year. Since then it has been authorised to build and sell an unlimited number of bodies of the same type, provided they have met conformity of production requirements, without further inspections.
Bevan Group’s Operations Director Lee Dimmock said: “Having audited all of our systems, as well as Supertrucks’ products, VCA has now cleared Bevan to produce groups of vehicles fitted with glass racks, which will comply with current Type Approval regulations. The potential advantage in terms of reduced lead times is huge.”
Dimmock says some glass carriers have been exploiting a loophole in the regulations by purchasing and registering unmodified vans, then having them fitted retrospectively with external racks.
“But that means the vehicle which eventually goes on the road is not the one that was registered, and this can cause problems further down the line,” says Lee. “Responsible operators prefer to do things properly and ensure that their vans are fully finished, and approved, with quality racking systems and other features such as additional lighting already in place, prior to registration.”
The European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval regulations are designed to ensure that new light commercial vehicles meet environmental, safety and security standards.
Supertrucks Manager Dave Hill added: “We have modified significantly the design of our frails to meet the requirements of the approval scheme, while maintaining the superior quality of the equipment. Our racks and other glass-carrying systems are widely acknowledged to be the finest in the industry, and are already exported to a number of European countries. The fact that we can produce and Bevan can now fit our systems here in the UK is a further step forward for the two businesses.”