CVW covered the launch of the VBRA’s Elite Truck & Van Body Repair Standard last year. Now in 2023, we find out how it’s going.
Back in September 2022, the Vehicle Builders and Repair Association (VBRA) launched its Elite Truck & Van Body Repair Standard. Its rationale was clear. “We wanted to reduce risk, improve the quality of the repair network and ultimately lower costs by avoiding costly rectification of poor workmanship,” explains Tom Hudd, National Technical Manager. “Only the framing of a nationally recognised repair standard for commercial vehicles could achieve that. Hence, we launched the Elite Truck & Van Body Repair Standard.”
At the heart of the new standard was safety. The potential for disaster from a badly repaired commercial vehicle is much greater than any car. And yet there has been a body repair standard for car repair in place since 2007, originally called PAS125. It subsequently developed into a full BSI standard becoming BS10125.
With no thought given to the much more important area of body repair comprising trucks, bus and coach, trailers, and large vans (panel vans and chassis cabs up to five tonnes), the VBRA decided to act.
The standard consists of several grades of membership:
Elite Truck & Van Body Repair (structural with cab and chassis repair)
Elite Truck Repair (structural with cab and chassis repair)
Elite Van Repair (structural with chassis repair)
Elite Truck & Van (non-structural no cab or chassis repairs)
Since the launch, support for the Standard has grown with notable work providers backing it unreservedly. Jamie Sopp of fleet accident management specialists Sopp+Sopp believes that a standard for commercial vehicles was long overdue and utilising a transparent auditing and deployment platform that encapsulates the essence of competent repairs is a must-have.
Sean Harper, fleet supply chain manager at S & G Response says his company can see significance benefits in the Elite Truck Standard and echoes the importance of safety underpinning the need for certified repair work.
“For a fleet manager, vehicle safety should be a top priority. This is because there are many benefits to having a safe fleet. It helps protect drivers, reduces costs, improves productivity, maintains compliance, and protects the company’s reputation. By making safety a top priority, fleet managers can ensure that their fleets operate efficiently and effectively while keeping their drivers safe and secure on the road,” he explains.
Long term benefits
Workshops are also seeing the benefits of obtaining the standard. The latest member to achieve the Elite Truck Standard (Structural) for Cab and Chassis repair is CarComm Coachworks based in London and Home Counties. Managing director Jason Mole is very proud of the newfound status, adding that the interest from his customers has been significant. “Gaining the award highlights our commitment to the high standard of repair that we give to all of the vehicles that come through our doors and we couldn’t be prouder to lead by example in the standard that has been set out by the VBRA.”
Longer term, Tom believes that attaining the standard will confer some major benefits, not least of which will be the opportunity for members to charge in line with their capabilities and being able to attract new work. “We understand that workshops are busy right now, but there is no time limit for achieving the necessary certification, so it can be embarked upon in stages. The journey will be worthwhile.”