For a long time it has been anticipated that the regulations would change regarding vehicle modifications. If you are involved with clients who require a vehicle with even the most simple type of modification then it is vital that you read the following information;
If any of your clients are taking delivery of a new vehicle that will have a modification or adaption then it is essential that the modification to their vehicle conforms to all safety regulations. This not only protects the vehicle owner, but the manufacturer and convertor. Type approval is the confirmation that production samples of a design will meet specified performance standards. The specification of the product is recorded and only that particular specification is approved.
Adaptations and conversions that must have Type Approval or IVA include:
Modified Seating; including Turny seats
Conversions with a wheelchair occupant restraint system
Access via a ramp or lift
When seats have been added
When vehicle electrics have been altered or added
The ECWVTA Directive (Whole Vehicle Type Approval) for passenger and commercial vehicles is very important. It means all vehicles will be manufactured to the same high standards of road safety and environmental performance, therefore improving customer confidence and retaining more value in vehicles produced. For converters and manufacturers within the UK there are two separate schemes – National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA) and Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) . These schemes are designed to maintain the ECWVTA standards whilst minimising compliance costs for low volume manufacturers.
To complete any conversions, adaption or modification to a vehicle, before registration, without either Type Approval or IVA is breaking the law and to “register” a vehicle just to avoid the extra cost or avoid delays which occur in obtaining the IVA, is simply not professional or safe and is viewed very strongly by all the manufacturers.
If something ever went wrong, such as a vehicle supplied was to be involved in an accident, and it was proven the vehicle had been registered, then converted to avoid Type Approval/IVA, then this could prove costly to the vehicle provider and likely the convertor too.
It is not uncommon for clients to approach a dealership for the supply of a ‘new’ vehicle; however, be aware that car dealerships will not be fully conversant with the regulations regarding ‘Type Approval’ or ‘Individual Vehicle Aproval’. If your client is then subsequently involved in an accident and the car is found to be outside the regulations there will be serious consequences for the driver. Please remember that the driver may not necessarily be the vehicle owner.