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BSI Kitemark charge is ‘just tip of the iceberg’

Bodyshops have been left angry and downbeat after the BSI announced substantial annual fees for the industry’s PAS 125 standard and Kitemark, to be officially launched next month.

BSI Product Services, which administers the Kitemark, has set the joining fee at £2,450, which includes two days initial assessment, mystery shop and the licence to display the Kitemark.

This is followed by an annual renewal of £2,500, which covers two mystery shops and continued use of the licence. BSI offers a direct debit payment plan to help bodyshops manage the cost.

AM has learned that BSI initially wanted to charge £5,000 and assess bodyshops for four days but was negotiated down by development partner Thatcham, which feared such high fees would kill the initiative.

Nevertheless, Tony Lowe of Impact Repair Centres, which participated in the PAS 125 pilot audit, told AM he expects to have to spend another £30,000 training his staff to its requirements.

“The fees are just the tip of the iceberg. Many repairers will have to spend a large amount of money to fill the huge training gap caused by lack of investment in this industry. We’ve reached a point where we have to invest and catch up,” he says.

It appears the fees have been announced without discussion with all the partners involved in formulating the PAS 125 standard. David Cresswell, chairman of the ABP Club, says the PAS 125 Working Group was due to meet with the BSI on the morning of the announcement to discuss fees.

Cresswell adds: “There appears to have been no consultation or discussion with the working group. Who has decided the price and ongoing compliance costs? The price is much higher than we had been led to believe.”

The ABP Club wants a single standard that removes the duplicated cost and confusion in the accident repair market, and wants to pressure the BSI into reconsidering the costs.

Robert Hadfield, of Auto Body Projects, says dozens of repairers he has spoken with complain the costs are excessive. “They agree with the basic cost of attaining and policing the standard but are unhappy about the cost of the Kitemark licence which, they say, is unnecessary.”

Another repairer told AM: “I understand that a commercial cost will need to be absorbed by our business to implement PAS 125 and have no issue with that premise, but £2,500 year-on-year is not acceptable to our market.”

If BSI fails to reconsider pricing, Hadfield suggests that PAS 125 could be taken up by the Association of British Insurers, with Thatcham left to administer it.

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