The TGS Guide to Type Approval

TGS has been supplying quality vehicle bodies and converting commercial vehicles for over 40 years and so our customers look to us to give them the important information they need to know to ensure their commercial vehicles are safe, compliant, and fit for purpose.  There are a few important things to bear in mind and we hope this guide will unravel some of the mysteries and hopefully answer some questions you might have.

You cannot register a new Chassis Cab unless it is fitted with a Type Approved Body or Conversion and a Certificate of Conformity (COC) has been provided to the supplying Manufacturer or Dealer that will enable them to register the vehicle.

Types of Conversions and Bodies

There are many types of Conversions and Bodies to suit the needs of a variety of users and these summarised below:

What is Type Approval?

This is the confirmation that production samples of a design will meet specified standards. The specification of the product is recorded, and only that particular specification is approved. It is important to remember that in order to gain Type Approval status, you must, first of all, have gained Conformity of Production (COP) status by the VCA. This involves an
audit of all your internal processes and many small bodybuilders may struggle with this.

Since Type Approval was introduced in 2013, there have been a number of small bodybuilders who have been involved in a ‘passport’ scheme whereby they use the approvals of a large bodybuilder and apply these to their own bodies. This practice is not condoned by the VCA and drives a wagon and horses through the purpose of introducing Type Approval. Many of these companies will not have gained a COP from the VCA.

Officially, Type Approval is required for any vehicle that has undergone a permanent transformation from the factory specification and for Commercial Vehicles is predominantly for the fitment of bodies onto Chassis Cabs due to their variance in size, weights, and dimensions. There are two reasons why these approvals are necessary:

1. It allows the government to understand emissions outputs
2. Ensures that the Conversion or Body conforms to specific standards of safety and security

Different Approvals

There are three primary Type Approvals in the UK:

1. European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA)
2. National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA) – Limited to a certain number per year
3. Individual; Vehicle Approval (IVA) - used for one-off or specialist builds

What is the VCA?

The VCA (Vehicle Certification Agency) is the designated UK Authority and Technical Service for Type Approval to all (EC) Directives and ECE regulations.

Manufacturer Approval Programs

Some Manufacturers offer ‘Factory’# bodies which are fitted on or just after the assembly line. The most common arrangement is a partnership between the Manufacturer and a Bodybuilder. TGS, for instance, partner with Isuzu Truck, Isuzu D-Max, and Toyota with ‘factory’ offerings. TGS is also approved by most Manufacturers to carry out Conversion work or build bodies working in conjunction with Vehicle Dealers.

If you need any more advice and support or you would like to find out more about the range of commercial vehicle bodies and conversion options available from TGS, call us on 0117 965 9965 or email