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Open letter to UK and NI bodyshops

The National Association of Bodyshops (NAB) has written an open letter to UK and Northern Ireland bodyshops to communicate its stance relating to the impending launch of the new bodyshop standard BS10125.

The letter, which has been endorsed by the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association (VBRA), is being widely circulated and the subject will be a major topic of discussion at a series of roadshows being organised by NAB throughout May and June.

The text of the letter is reproduced here:

Dear Colleagues,

BODY REPAIR INDUSTRY STANDARDS

As you may already be aware, at the end of 2013 BSI formed the BS1025 Steering Group and Drafting Panel to develop a new BS standard for the repair of accident damaged motor vehicles. BSI has proposed that this new standard will replace PAS125 and will be launched towards the end of 2014

The published timetable for the introduction of BS1025 conflicts with the deadline for the publication of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (formerly Competition Commission)’s final report and proposed remedies for the Private Motor Insurance market, in September 2014.

This report will almost certainly have a significant bearing on how future standards in the body repair industry will evolve, particularly in relation to post repair inspection audits of cars that have been repaired as part of an insurance claim.

NAB has made numerous submissions to CMA during this three year investigation. Throughout, NAB has promoted the requirement for a pan-industry adjudicator – an Independent Lead Body – to uphold legal, ethical and moral behaviour in the sector.

CMA asked NAB to scope out its ideas for such an industry watchdog which have now been provided and NAB’s proposals have the full support of the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association (VBRA).

Our submission requires that the proposed Independent Lead Body would oversee the implementation of bodyshop standards that have been agreed by designated participants including bodyshops, insurers and others involved in the private motor insurance market. Those standards may incorporate elements of PAS125 (or any BSI suggested replacement).

The wider bodyshop community has a vast and wide ranging skill set that can complement and benefit the development of any new bodyshop standard. To this effect there will be an opportunity for the wider industry to review, and pass comment on, any changes proposed and we would encourage our members and the accident repair community at large, to have their say before any new standard is finalised.

We believe that the majority of bodyshops would want this balanced and objective input to be included in any new standard and that any implementation of such standard should not incur unrestrained cost.

In order to avoid potential confusion, concern and unnecessary future cost to bodyshops, NAB has written to BSI and the CMA recommending that progress on BS1025 be suspended until after the CMA’s final report is available. NAB has discussed this issue with Malcolm Tagg on behalf of the VBRA’s National Council and this ‘suspension pending CMA outcome’ call has the support of VBRA.

NAB are launching several roadshows to help the members understand some of the issues that are likely to change their current operational landscape when the final outputs from the CMA report is made public. These roadshows are being made available to both RMI members and non-members alike, so please get in touch if you would like to attend one of the events.

We trust you agree with our recommendations; if you do not then please email us on NABconfidential@rmif.co.uk or call on 0845 3054230, expressing your thoughts. We can assure you we will treat any feedback as confidential.

Yours, Frank Harvey