Vehicle Type Approval is confirmation that the vehicle meets prescribed standards.
These standards derive from European Whole Vehicle Type Approval regulations (ECWVTA).
For vehicles sold for use in the UK, certification is likely to be achieved through National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA) or Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA).
Standards for M1 passenger vehicles have been in place for several years, while those for multi-stage build M2 passenger vehicles became a legal requirement as from October 2011. The regulations for M2 Minibuses are complex and wideranging. The regulations include the introduction of hundreds of dimensions that must be observed, affecting the design of entrances and exits, gangways, seats and seat layouts. Some of the regulations seem quite sensible, some irksome and others just bewildering.
While it is possible to avoid these regulations, by means of a rather silly loophole, such a course of action may be foolhardy.
There may be a risk that once the loophole is closed any vehicle that did not comply would need very expensive modification, or else face being written off.
If a vehicle is not certified to meet Type Approval requirements, then it will not meet all the latest safety requirements and indeed aspects of its actual method of construction might be doubtful.
We are aware of converters who will Type Approve a standard minibus, before converting the vehicle for wheelchair access. This is done, as they are unable to build the vehicle to the correct standards.