SPECIALIST vehicle body builder, the Bevan Group at Halesowen, has become the first company to secure EU accreditation for its external glass racking, or frails, fitted to panel vans.
The breakthrough follows months of negotiation with VCA, the Department for Transport agency responsible for confirming type approvals for all automotive European Community Directives and other regulations.
It means that vans with racks manufactured and fitted at the Merseyside production facility of Supertrucks, the glass transport solutions specialist which it acquired earlier this year, can be awarded Whole Vehicle Type Approval automatically, under the enhancement scheme.
Previously, such vehicles have had to be submitted to the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency for Individual Vehicle Approval tests. But as well as adding cost, this process can result in delivery delays – often extending to several weeks – before the van is registered and put to work.
Bevan Group’s Operations Director Lee Dimmock said, “Having audited all of our systems, as well as Supertrucks’ products, VCA has now cleared Bevan to produce groups of vehicles fitted with glass racks, which will comply with current Type Approval regulations. The potential advantage in terms of reduced lead times is huge.”
Lee says some glass carriers have been exploiting a loophole in the regulations by purchasing and registering unmodified vans, then having them fitted retrospectively with external racks.
“But that means the vehicle which eventually goes on the road is not the one that was registered, and this can cause problems further down the line,” says Lee.
Supertrucks Manager Dave Hill added, “We have significantly modified our frails to meet the requirements of the approval scheme, while maintaining the superior quality of the equipment. The fact that we can produce and Bevan Group can now fit our systems here in the UK is a further step forward for the two businesses.”