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Kitemark scheme for crash repairers

Thatcham has been given the go-ahead to develop a single quality standard for the accident repair sector in partnership with the British Standards Institution.

Repairers have been calling for a Kitemark for bodyshops since the service and mechanical repair sector gained its Kitemark earlier this year. Many consider that a BSI ‘publicly available specification’ (PAS) is the surest way to increase public confidence and put in place minimum quality standards for crash repairs.

Thatcham is seen as an important partner because of its relationship with motor insurers and its research into crash repair processes.

Chief executive Peter Roberts hopes the project will launch in January. He told AM that the first step will be for the BSI to form a steering group with trade associations and awarding bodies to research the framework. Then it will go out for an industry consultation.

“We want to develop this with full industry support and full crash repair sector sponsorship,” says Roberts. “The trade associations and insurance sector know that a BSI PAS will be a very robust standard that covers repair methods, training and quality issues.”

Thatcham has already done some research into standards for its insurer members quality assurance schemes.

It published a paper last year proposing a “commitment to competence” in the areas of skills, training, experience and repair equipment to achieve consistent repairs.

Many of the motor insurers that are members of Thatcham have already expressed support for a BSI Kitemark and will put funding into the project, which could go live next summer.

However, this “doesn’t give them a seat at the table”, says Roberts, and the standard will be set by the BSI in a fully transparent process.

Repairers involved in the subsequent accreditation scheme will be independently audited by the BSI.

The Kitemark scheme for garages went live in September. Participating workshops must abide to a number of criteria, from using OE-equivalent quality parts and having suitably qualified staff for technical and customer service matters, to providing detailed invoices and a free arbitration service for complaints.

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