Wheelbase Engineering Ltd

Whole vehicle type approval

Wheelbase Engineering Ltd route to ‘Whole Vehicle Type Approval’.

As you will already be aware Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA) has been introduced in phases and is now a mandatory requirement for commercial vehicles and trailers.

There are various ways to achieve an approval, namely European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA), which is the preferred route adopted by manufacturers producing high volumes of equipment conforming to the same standards.  The second method is European or National Small Series Type Approval (ESSTA and NSSTA) which allows manufacturers to produce between 250 and 500 units per annum of a particular type.  The last way to achieve an approval is by using the Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) route, where each individual vehicle is submitted for inspection by DVSA.  The determining factor as to which method of approval adopted by individual manufacturers is dictated by the numbers of any particular type to be produced, the cost of acquiring the required approvals and the number of suppliers involved in the manufacture of the complete vehicle.

Wheelbase Engineering Ltd predominantly produce bespoke equipment in relatively small batches, hence we will use all three routes to gain WVTA depending on numerous factors.  Due to the frequency of contracts that must use the IVA route to type approval it quickly became apparent that because to the limited number of test facility sites being provided by DVSA and the likely high demand on those services, coupled with the waiting time for available inspection slots, the cost of vehicle movements and waiting time on the day of test, an alternative method of having our products tested was necessary.  This has led to us applying for and being granted the status of a Privately Owned Test Facilities (POTFs), which allows testing to take place on our own site.  To achieve this involved us in making a significant investment in the required test facilities to meet the requirements specified by DVSA.

The last group of N2 and N3 vehicles to fall into the WVTA net is proving to be the biggest challenge to every bodybuilder due to the sheer number of chassis’ types and their derivatives available on which to build, therefore Wheelbase Engineering Ltd become a founder member and sits on the Technical Committee of the VBTA Ltd which was a new company formed in November of 2013 specifically with the aim of gaining ‘Type Approval Through Co-Operation’.  Very briefly the aim of the company has been to acquire ECWVTA approvals for different types that can be used by its members, thereby making more approvals readily available and reducing the cost of gaining those approvals to the individual members.  As well as benefiting from the expertise of the individual members, there are also a full time Type Approval Engineers employed by the VBTA Ltd to co-ordinate activities.  

WVTA has created a huge learning curve for all involved and even now the finer detail is still subject to changes of interpretation, but for those of us that have grasped the nettle it has put us in a position of being able to confidently negotiate the system and provide our customers with products that meet their expectations, are compliant and incur the least amount of cost in the acquisition of the required approvals.

Without a WVTA certificate a vehicle cannot be register or a ‘Letter of Consent’ be acquired from DVSA for a trailer, therefore preparation is critical if the process is to be a smooth pain free process.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Page updated 28th Feb 2017, 09:33
© 2011 – 2017 Wheelbase Engineering Ltd.
Chanters Way
Off Lower Eccleshill Road
Darwen
Lancashire
BB3 0RP
Tel: 01254 819399 | Fax: 01254 776920 | Email: info@wheelbase.net
Company No. 1816735, Registered in United Kingdom, VAT No. 806 6421 40
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