On August 26, the VBRA awarded the first Structural Truck & Van Body Repair certificate.
This marks a significant milestone for large and medium-sized commercial accident repairs. For too long the commercial vehicles accident repair industry has been unregulated by any means of auditing the accident repairs of large commercial vehicles up to 44 tons and those weighing in over 5 tonnes.
Dean Gawthrope, managing director at D Gawthrope ACR Ltd was involved in the development of the standard and already holds Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van approval, also Volkswagen approval including Volkswagen Commercial & EV level 3 and ADAS level 3 Certifications.
Dean was invited to register to apply for the standard via the ITAS platform and the VBRA assisted with the application being finalized by a face-to-face audit on the 20th of July.
Response from the sector has been incredibly positive. VBRA has further registrations being processed.
Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of The Motor Industry said,
” IMI applauds VBRA’s creation and launch of the new Truck & Van Body Repair Standard for the commercial sector. It is a much-needed safeguard against the risk of poor repairs for drivers of these vehicles, as well as for the general public. Its importance in supporting the insurance industry and fleet operators in selecting body shops with trained, competent, and certificated staff is also to be commended, as it will improve efficiencies and drive down premiums in the longer term. Fundamentally, however, the new Truck & Van Body Repair Standard will bring a vital boost to the automotive sector suffering an all-time high skills shortage.”
DVSA responded to our application for accreditation with VBRA Elite Truck and Bus Standard:
“While we have no doubt that the VBRA Elite Truck and Bus Standard is a well-designed scheme for technicians who can demonstrate that they are proficient in commercial vehicle repair, I fear it is beyond DVSA’s remit to properly evaluate this standard. I realize this must be disappointing for you.
I have been advised that your product would be more appropriate for evaluation by insurance industry representatives, although I’m afraid I don’t know if they apply a comparable system. I commend your efforts to improve road safety and understand why you applied for DVSA accreditation, so no fee is required on this occasion. I hope this sounds right to you and this answer will not discourage you from providing products designed to improve the standards of commercial vehicle repairs.”
The standard will use certifications from IMI and other bodies to identify the skills of technicians in this complex repair industry.
Each potential Elite Truck & Van Body Repair member must undergo a full audit and inspection before being granted membership. The full details of each member will be held on a VBRA platform specially developed with ITAS which is already used by manufacturers and insurers, enabling a virtual online audit of all qualifications, services & calibration of all equipment.
This leaves a physical visit to cover any other area of the standard to be inspected with ongoing inspections handled mostly online.
The standard consists of several grades of membership:
-Elite Truck & Van Body Repair (Structural with Cab & Chassis Repair)
-Elite Truck Repair (Structural with Cab & Chassis Repair)
-Elite Van Repair (Structural with Chassis Repair)
-Elite Truck & Van (Non-Structural no Cab or Chassis Repairs)
Vans can be repaired in many Car & Van workshops under BS10125 up to 5 tons, but chassis cabs between 3.5 and 5.0 tons require special extended jigs and skilled personnel to deal with bespoke body repairs (specialist training)
We often hear from job suppliers and insurance companies about the difficulty in selecting a body shop that can do the repairs in full without outsourcing the masking work.
Too often, vehicles are sent to body shops which then subcontract the chassis repair work as they have no staff or equipment.
They would prefer a one-stop shop that would improve key-to-key times.
This will give continuous quality control to the member and the customer, finally, we can talk about repair standards.