Smart repair companies have been accused of supplying non-compliant materials and encouraging bodyshops to operate below the law by carrying out paint chip repairs on the shop floor.
One source said: “Some of the smart repair systems contain solvents or isocynates which, if used on the open shop floor, contravene health and safety and environmental legislation.”
He also questioned whether some systems complied with carmakers' warranties.
Although smart systems have been in use for several years, they are only now attracting the attention of larger companies, including the paint manufacturers, who are developing their own, compliant systems.
“The interest of larger companies is catching the attention of the authorities,” said the source. “These companies can't afford to be seen to be operating below the law, so they are developing systems that use compliant products with full training to ensure repairers do not break the law.”
Repairers and contract firms that offer smart repairs have been urged to carry out the process in the spraybooth.
Industry expert Robert Hadfield said: “Questions over smart repair systems have been around since they first came to market, nearly 10 years ago.
“I've been told that they are used in car showrooms as well as open workshops and other non-controlled environments. To guarantee compliance with environmental and health and safety legislation, repairers should carry out all paint repairs in the spraybooth.”
Thatcham, which offers aftermarket training on a range of smart repair processes, conceded that there were concerns over companies using chip repair systems on the shop floor. Its training does not extend to chip repairs.