SPECIFYING AND BUYING TRUCKS AND TRAILERS HAS NEVER BEEN EASY, BUT THE ADVENT OF NEW TYPE APPROVAL LEGISLATION BRINGS WITH IT EXTRA PITFALLS FOR THE STGO OPERATOR. IAN NORWELL LOOKS AT THE AIMS OF THE NEW RULES
As with much legislation that affects road transport, the ECWVTA (European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval) legislation seeks to run a hot iron over Europe, and get rid of any creases in the way vehicles are designed and built. For truck manufacturers, there are certainly associated costs, but for trailer makers it is even more expensive. As of the end of October 2014, the rules now consider a vehicle chassis and its body as a single unit to be type approved, not two products as previously.
Rigid truck bodybuilders are faced with the choice of ECWVTA or, if they are a low volume producer and intend to only sell in the UK, they can opt for NSSTA (National Small Series Type Approval) and thus escape some of the technical burdens, less admin and a more common sense approach to Conformity of Production (CoP). An approved design means that individual vehicles escape further testing. A third way exists, for manufacturers or importers of single or very low volume vehicles, the IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval).
You could be forgiven for thinking that the new regulations have specifically been formed to put small bodybuilders out of business, with the punitive costs involved. If that had been the intention, the rules might well not have looked much different, but the reasoning is that as vehicle systems become more complex and sophisticated, it is no longer reasonable or safe to treat the two products separately, with no consideration of how they perform as a single entity. It follows that chassis and body makers should be singing from the same sheet and the end result are ‘whole‘ vehicles with higher engineering and safety standards.