Type Approval- It's the Law

Vehicle type approval is now mandatory for all larger passenger carrying vehicles, such as minibuses (M2). This legislation took effect in October 2011 and all new M2 vehicles (10 seats or above, including driver) built in more than one stage, e.g. converted, MUST comply with the legislation in order to be registered.

M1 minibuses (minibuses with less than 10 seats, including the driver) had to comply with the type approval requirements from April 2012.

What does this legislation mean?

The legislation means that ALL minibus conversions should be approved under the European Whole (ECWVTA), National Small Series (NSSTA) or Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) Scheme.

All converted vehicles, M1 and M2 must be tested by DVSA using one of the three approval routes (ECWVTA,NSSTA or IVA). Failure to do this will result in the vehicle being incorrectly registered.

Tell me about the different Type Approval Routes

As mentioned previously, there are three different routes a converter can take:

* European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA)

* National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA)

* Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA)

European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA)

EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) is based around EC Directives and provides for the approval of whole vehicles, in addition to vehicle systems and separate components. This certification is accepted throughout the EU without the need for further testing until a standard is updated or your design changes. Generally, larger manufacturers of converted vehicles will seek this form of type approval where:

* They manufacture a large number of generic vehicles

* They may need to export their products

Full EC whole vehicle type approval (ECWVTA) won't suit everyone, particularly those manufacturing vehicles in low numbers. In recognition of this fact there are a number of other approval routes available:

National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA)

National Small Series Type Approval is a UK national scheme for manufacturers who intend to sell only in the UK. The advantages of NSSTA are relaxed technical requirements for some subjects, reduced Conformity of Production (CoP) requirement, and reduction in administrative requirements. Like ECWVTA, once the design is approved, individual vehicles do not need to be tested.

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA)

Individual Vehicle Approval is a UK national scheme and the most likely route for those manufacturing or importing single vehicles or very small numbers. IVA is based on inspection of each vehicle, although most bodybuilders and converters will work with manufacturers to ensure there is no warranty compromise. Under IVA, vehicles have to be inspected by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in Great Britain.

The IVA route is ideal for converters such as Warnerbus as we do not build generic vehicles but bespoke design all of our customers' minibuses.

Why do we need Type Approval?

Firstly, it's the Law! Failure to produce an obligatory Type Approval Certificate could result in:

* No approval

* No registration

* No sale

What is Warnerbus doing about this legislation?

DVSA testing is nothing new to us as we have been subjecting our vehicles to the Enhanced Special Vehicle Approval Tests for many years now.

Our conversions are of the highest quality and ALL of our minibuses are IVA tested, meaning that we have legally converted your vehicle and met stringent safety standards in all areas of your conversion.

How will I know that you really have had my vehicle IVA tested?

Once your vehicle has passed its IVA test, we will provide the registering dealership with your IVA Approval Certificate (IAC). This will enable your vehicle to registered legally. We will also provide you with a copy of this certificate within your Owner's Handbook.

The PDFs highlighted below show Warnerbus IVA Certificates for both M1 and M2 minibuses. Ask your converter to provide you with a copy of your vehicle's IVA Certificate once it is registered.

IVA M1 Individual Approval Certificate:

Download PDF File
IVA M1 Individual Approval Certificate

IVA M2 Individual Approval Certificate:

Download PDF File
IVA M2 Individual Approval Certificate

Is there any way I can avoid having my minibus type approved?

As explained previously, type approval is mandatory. However some conversion companies have discovered a loophole in the law, meaning that they can avoid this very important legislation.

If your converter takes this route, your vehicle will be registered as a panel van, then converted afterwards, meaning that the stringent DVSA type approval tests are avoided. They will also invalidate the Manufacturer's base vehicle type approval, therefore possibly affecting or even invalidating your vehicle's warranty.

In addition to these issues, you could be affected by the following:

* Incorrect Registration of your vehicle (your minibus will be registered as a panel van pre-conversion)

* Your safety. IVA Regulations insist that we meet stringent safety standards. All seats and seatbelts, for example are tested for safety and for M2 vehicles, there must be an emergency escape exit. We would question what would happen in the event of an accident if your vehicle has no type approval.

* Failure of MOT should the 'loophole' be closed

* Residual Value of your vehicle. As more people become aware of this new legislation, they would be reluctant to purchase a non approved vehicle for obvious reasons.

This back-door approach costs less but we would question the reasons behind avoiding such tests - and so should you.

In conclusion, we want our customers to be 100% safe when travelling on UK roads.

How are these converters getting away with this?

The Department for Transport is keeping an eye on vehicles which are registered as vans and then subsequently converted to minibuses. It's seen as a potential problem by the SMMT, and the DfT recognises that post registration conversion may increase now that the ECWVTA, NSSTA and IVA directives have become mandatory. However, the DfT does comment on such converters "By this method they avoid meeting the tougher standards on testing approval".

Warnerbus is proud to promote the fact that we insist on every one of our conversions being IVA tested. We care about the safety of your minibus and, equally as important, the safety of your passengers.

Warnerbus - working in association with:

The Department for Transport


Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information