Malcolm Tagg, VBRA director-general, accepts that PAS 125 sets out to raise standards, “so it can’t be a bad thing”. But, he adds: “It’s for individuals to decide whether it’s for them. And we will support them.
“It appears to be a cost for no great benefit – similar to the old BS 5750. That will only change if the work providers mandate it.”
PAS 125 could put trade association membership at risk as it provides an independent mark of quality. However, Tagg says: “It doesn’t address the ability to put out a good repair, it just increases the paperwork involved.”
And he adds: “PAS 125 does not remove the need for services that a trade association supplies.”
The VBRA claims to have changed its approach to insurer relations over the past couple of years, becoming less confrontational. Tagg says is he trying to put across a positive message, which he believes is behind a recent rise in membership.
“We hit a low of less than 600 members in 2004, but we are now at 800 bodyshops and smart repairers,” he says. “Most growth is in the Midlands and south with younger people who are setting up businesses.
“They are enthusiastic and haven’t lived through the ‘good old days’ so they have a different view of the industry. They see the issues but just get on with it.”