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Kitemark targets 1,000 by 2008

The British Standards Institute (BSI) wants to get 1,000 bodyshops accredited to the Thatcham BSI Kitemark by the end of 2008.

It hopes PAS 125, officially launched last month, will enjoy faster take-up than its PAS 80 Kitemark for mechanical repairers. That was launched in September 2005 and took almost a year to get 10 workshops accredited. BSI’s head of kitemark services Tina Tillard subsequently resigned.

BSI says 50 bodyshops have already paid the initial Kitemark fee, set by BSI at £2,450. This is followed by annual £2,500 fees. Another 100-200 have applied for a quote, and application packs have been sent to more than 250. It would like 300 to 500 repairers to pass the standard by the end of this year.

Bodyshops unwilling to invest such a sum are able to pass the PAS 125 technical specification through other inspection organizations. However, only BSI may award the Kitemark and it says its inspectors are trained to look at the quality of the actual repair process, not just the quality of repair process management.

Scott Hanney, BSI Product Services sales manager, says insurers – representing two-thirds of the motor insurance market – are supporting PAS 125. He is also talking to nine carmakers about adopting the standard for their approved bodyshops.

Insurers are attracted by the Thatcham BSI scheme because the Kitemark is identified as a stamp of quality by 82% of consumers.

“The Kitemark has an unrivalled public recognition providing confidence that accident damaged vehicles can be repaired to the latest standards,” says a BSI spokesman.

The MVRA has joined the BSI’s Associate Consultancy Programme (ACP) for PAS 125. This allows it to help prepare bodyshops for an official BSI audit by identifying which specific actions or systems need to be in place to gain the Kitemark.

The RMIF is reviewing its own Quality Control (QC) standard. It is surveying bodyshop members asking whether they want QC to continue, or to support members applying for PAS 125.

The VBRA believes PAS 125 will benefit the industry, but is concerned about costs and restrictions.

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