Historically, some European Member States have operated their own set of national requirements for goods vehicles. However, Directive 2007/46/EC, as amended, introduced a European wide certification scheme for these vehicles, which is currently being phased in. Existing national arrangements will apply until the application dates outlined below. The key application dates are:
ECWVTA application dates for Goods Vehicles
Type approval is the confirmation that production samples of a design will meet specified performance standards. The specification of the product is recorded and only that particular specification is approved.
Automotive EC Directives and UN Regulations (formerly known as UNECE Regulations) require third party approval - testing, certification and production conformity assessment by an independent body. Each Member State is required to appoint an Approval Authority to issue the approvals and a Technical Service to carry out the testing to the Directives and Regulations. An approval issued by one Authority will be accepted in all the Member States.
VCA is the designated UK Approval Authority and a Technical Service for all type approvals to automotive EC Directives and most UN Regulations.
Routes to certification
Until the relevant application date for your particular vehicle category (outlined above), existing national arrangements will be in place.
However, where a vehicle is converted (possibly as an intermediate stage in a multi-stage build process) there are some circumstances where an approval may be needed to cover this conversion ahead of the relevant date. For example; where an axle is added (e.g. to convert a 2 axle tractor into a 3 axle tractor) it will not be possible to register the vehicle on the original Certificate of Conformity (it will state the vehicle has 2 axles and so won’t be valid for a vehicle with 3 axles).
Once the relevant application date applies, the following routes to certification will be available to you:
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.
Low volume/Small Series Manufacturers
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, including:
(National Small Series Type Approval) is a UK national scheme for low volume manufacturers who intend to sell only in the UK. The advantages of NSSTA are relaxed technical requirements for some subjects, a more pragmatic approach to the Conformity of Production (CoP) requirements, and reduction in administrative requirements. Like ECWVTA, once the design is approved, individual vehicles do not need to be tested.
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 does not normally require CoP (unless in conjunction with the N1 Enhancements Scheme outlined below) as it 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 & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in Great Britain or the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland.
N1 Enhancement scheme
To cater for certain vehicles which are modified before registration such as panel vans and some pick-up trucks) VCA has developed the “N1 Enhancements Scheme” which is a light touch way of ensuring compliance with the national regulations.
It is for the enterprise that is making the modifications to determine for itself whether the modifications cause the vehicle to need to a new approval. In the [ N1 Enhancements Scheme (PDF 972.6KB) ] document VCA has provided guidance with links to appropriate parts of the legislation to help enterprises in their decision process.
If a decision is made to the effect that a further approval is not required then no action need be taken, although it would be a good idea for an enterprise to record the rationale behind this decision in case they need to rely on it in any future discussions with customers, etc. In these cases VCA has no role and cannot provide any documentation (other than the N1 Enhancements Scheme document) to support enterprises in their discussions with customers.
If the enterprise decides it does need an approval for a vehicle VCA has provided a ‘light touch’ scheme which will enable an enterprise to apply for, and receive, an IVA through a mainly administrative process. The scheme is open to enterprises with CoP Clearance from VCA. To get CoP Clearance an enterprise will need to demonstrate that they have suitable processes, controls and documentation. They will also need to submit a vehicle for inspection to show that the measures outlined above are robust and produce vehicles in compliance with the required standard.
To apply to use the scheme complete both of the application forms below;
Customer application form and support information (PDF 826KB)*
* Customers in North America should contact us here to make an application, or for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
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