Workshops need to prepare for any future modifications to the modifications code of conduct in the next few months as the whole area is being reappraised. VSB6 is under review and a project, being driven by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, is underway to come with a revised code of conduct for when trucks and trailers are being modified.
“Our modification system was intended to create a balance between safety and efficiency,” says Peter Austin, Manager Vehicle Safety at the NHVR. “Requiring a jurisdictional inspection of every single vehicle modification is not practical for the industry. Industry would grind to a halt without the help of AVEs. Being able to access freight and engineering people locally, who know the standards and can assess modifications, is key to us having an effective modification system.”
The current review is the first wholesale review of the VSB6 code since its inception in the early nineties. When the NHVR took over the handling of the code, it decided to bring the whole thing up to the standard it sets for all of its publications, dotting the Is and crossing the Ts. The final document is expected to be with us in September, later this year.
“We wanted to ensure the code actually matched the content,” says Austin. “The first part of the process is to professionalise the standards used and the second phase will be all about professionalising the modifiers who do the work.”
A number of codes have been rolled up together to simplify the system. There also some mods which are not deemed to be in need of certification. An example of this concerns a range of air operated accessories which are fitted, now the code will only specify and certify the air pressure protection valve itself.
Visibly, the entire code has been changed looking a lot more user-friendly. New diagrams of equipment and fitments is in place on some of the early draft, but all will be renewed before publication. There is now a step-by-step guide to the modification process. It also now uses a rational layout, sections explain issues around the particular topic highlighted.
The details of the new code are currently being reconsidered following the kind of feedback received by the NHVR at forums like the recent ARTSA event in Melbourne. The results of the review and the consequent feedback are expected to see the light of day in September. You can keep up with the latest on the NHVR website.