Regulations and standards for WAVs
There are important legal steps you have to take before you can register your wheelchair accessible vehicle.
To help make the process simpler, we go through the regulations and standards for WAVs and point out what needs to be done to get approval for your vehicle. Remember, you have to take these steps - it's the law. But your adaptation company or mobility adviser can help with getting it done.
All WAVs must have 'Type Approval' before you can register them. For converted vehicles, this will be one of the following categories:
- European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) - Special Purpose Vehicle
- National Small Series Type Approval
- Individual Vehicle Approval
This approval process is to make sure that the vehicle complies with the law at the point of registration. Following this, it's the driver's responsibility to make sure that the vehicle they're using complies with the law.
Many adaptations are fitted after registration. This is perfectly legal but, again, it's your responsibility to ensure that any adaptations fitted comply with the relevant vehicle construction and use legislation.
The following steps will help:
The adaptation company, or a mobility adviser, will have to talk to you to consider your needs and how they can be met, and design a vehicle around them. They must also take into account the design of your wheelchair and determine whether it can be safely used in a WAV. Any adaptations must be justified and fully assessed for risk.
The adaptation company needs to provide the following documentation:
- details of the assessment identifying your needs and the solutions proposed for them
- technical information about each product or adaptation, showing how they meet the requirements of your assessment and what safeguards have been put in place to ensure that their installation is satisfactory, safe and complies with relevant legislation
- accompanying documentation for any products they use from other manufacturers which specifies how they're to be fitted and used
- a schedule that describes the work they will be carrying out, if and when any fittings are required, and when each stage will be completed
When you take delivery of your vehicle, make sure:
- the adaptation company provides you with copies of all documents
- you receive all the sign-off documents showing that each part of the schedule has been completed and checked
- you are shown, and know how to use, everything that you'll need
- you have a test drive
- you have time to be completely happy with the vehicle before completing the handover
As well as their legal obligations, members of the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Converters' Association (WAVCA) accept a commitment to customer service. WAVCA will deal with complaints about their members if you contact them via their website.
National standard - the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 2012
WAVCA and the British Standards Institute (BSI) have produced a standard for WAVs called the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 2012, which was implemented in 2012. This standard is additional to the Type Approval process.
The intention is that organisations which buy a lot of WAVs (such as Motability) and other organisations which license taxis and minibuses (like local authorities) can specify that these vehicles need to meet the PAS.