National Heavy Vehicle Regulator update: Assessor Sign-Off approval process

Smedley's Industry News

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has introduced a new work procedure which introduces tighter limits on what certification anomalies can be approved via an Assessor Sign-Off (ASO).

Certification anomalies occur when an as-built combination does not conform to one or more aspects of a PBS Design Approval (DA).

For anomalies that are within the limits of the new process, an ASO can be obtained. Where the limits are exceeded, a DA Amendment or Variation (collectively known as DA Modification) will be required.

An ASO is an approval from the Assessor confirming that the as-built combination continues to pass the PBS standards at the same or higher level shown on the DA. The new process splits certification anomalies into three categories:

1. Dimensional anomalies – Dimensional anomalies cover deviations from the dimensional specifications set out in the DA.

  1. Any dimension referenced in a DA (e.g. S-dimension, wheelbase, drive axle spacing, rear overhang, track width, dual tyre spacing), other than payload height and fill level, is eligible to be considered under the ASO approval pathway.
  2. There is no limit on the number of dimensional anomalies.
  3. Dimensional anomalies can only deviate from the dimension-set value by the lesser of 20% or 200. Where a dimension is between 0 to 200mm e.g. fifth wheel offset, the deviation range is ±50mm.
  4. For OAL the maximum deviation limit is +500mm.
  5. The PBS certification tolerance (the lesser of 1% or 20mm) does not apply to dimensional anomalies.
  6. Payload heights and fill levels are not applicable and cannot be signed off via the ASO process.
  7. OAH must not exceed the original approved height bracket – 4.3m or 4.6m.
  8. Changes to overall vehicle width above 2.5m are not permitted.

2. Component anomalies – Component anomalies cover deviations from specifications set out in the Part B

  1. Any specification for a vehicle referenced in a DA (e.g. suspensions, engines, ATM ratings, GCM, ratings, tare weights), other than the presence or location of steerable axles, is eligible to be considered under the ASO pathway.
  2. Anomalies relating to tyres are not considered component anomalies
  3. Each vehicle unit in a combination may have no more than three component anomalies
    1. EXAMPLE: A prime mover and semitrailer combination may have a maximum total of six component anomalies, three for the prime mover and three for the semitrailer.
    2. An A-double combination may have a maximum total of twelve component anomalies, three for the prime mover, three for each semitrailer and three for the dolly.
  4. In the case where a vehicle unit is certified against two or more dimension-sets, the component anomaly limit applies per dimension-set
    1. EXAMPLE: When Truck 1 and Trailer 1 is certified against ‘Dimension Set 1’ and has two component anomalies present on the truck, an ASO is acceptable to cover off the component anomalies
    2. When Truck 1 (same truck as above) and Trailer 2 is certified against ‘Dimension Set 2’ and has additional three component anomalies on the truck; an ASO is acceptable to cover off the component anomalies as the number of anomalies per dimension-set does not exceed three.
  5. Anomalies relating to steerable axles position are not applicable and cannot be signed off via the ASO process.
  6. Transmission and FDR anomalies are counted as one anomaly.
  7. Anomalies relating to addition or change of position of retractable axles are not applicable and cannot be signed off via the ASO process.

3. Tyre anomalies – Tyre anomalies cover deviations from the tyre specifications set out in the DA.

  1. Tyre anomalies are handled on a dimension-set basis. When approved by an Assessor, the noncompliant tyres will be added to the Approved Tyre Options on the PBS Vehicle Approval in italics
  2. There is no limit on the number of tyre anomalies.
  3. Where a combination has a tyre anomaly, all other combinations certified under the same dimension-set must be eligible to use the noncompliant tyre.
    1. EXAMPLE: Two combinations are certified against ‘Dimension Set 1’. The two combinations have different tyres that do not comply with the design requirements:
      1. the first combination has X Multi D drive tyres
      2. the second combination has M766 drive tyres.
    2. The ASO must specify that all combinations certified against ‘Dimension Set 1’ are able to use X Multi D and M766 drive tyres even if the combinations were not physically fitted with the noncompliant tyres.
  4. Where combinations certified against the same dimension set cannot use the same noncompliant tyres, a Variation or Amendment to the DA is required.
  5. An as-built combination cannot be assigned a separate tyre list applicable to one specific combination only. However, this can be achieved via DA modification to include an additional vehicle variant matching the as-built combination with the specific tyre list options.

The new process encourages as-built combinations be as close as possible to the DA. This ensures that as-built combinations perform consistent to the DA. In the case where anomalies occur, Certifiers will now be required to determine whether an as-built combination exceeds the limits and decide whether an ASO is applicable. In the case where the limits are exceeded, the Certifier will notify the Assessor that a DA Modification will be required. Assessors are now also required to check that the anomalies found during certification are eligible under the ASO process; otherwise, a DA Modification is required. In the majority of cases, the new ASO process will not have any adverse effects and will only affect as-built combinations that are severely noncompliant.

As our processes are done in-house, the systems have been streamlined to ensure that processing times are minimised and applications are not held up. In the case where a vehicle is expected to not meet the new ASO limits, please provide advance notice to avoid processing delays. Please contact us if you have any queries.

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