Advice for Multi-Stage Builders
The concept of multi-stage approval applies across the approval routes and is outlined in more detail here.
Many vehicles are built using a process whereby a base vehicle (normally a chassis or chassis/cab) is produced and then another manufacturer (normally a body builder or converter) subsequently finishes the vehicle. To complement this real life situation a Multi Stage Approval process is available to enable the chassis manufacturer to approve the chassis (the first stage) as an "incomplete vehicle", when a body builder or converter approves the vehicle subsequently (a subsequent or final stage) it becomes a "completed vehicle".
Sometimes "complete" vehicles will form the base vehicle in a process, for example where a panel van is converted into a minibus. There will always be two or more stages in the Multi Stage Approval process and each of the manufacturers is only responsible for the work done and Conformity of Production (CoP) at their particular stage of the construction of the vehicle.
The flow of information between parties is extremely important in the Multi Stage Approval process, the manufacturer at any subsequent stage needs to understand the state of build of the vehicle at previous stages and whether any of their additions or modifications will affect the validity of the approval from previous stages. Body builders and converters will generally require access to the base vehicle manufacturer's approval information.
The base vehicle will normally retain the "make" of the first stage manufacturer and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) issued on the original Certificate of Conformity (CoC) to ensure that traceability is maintained. Manufacturers at subsequent stages have to add their own plate with their name, the stage of the approval, the VIN and the approval number plus any revised vehicle weight information.
Generally speaking it is possible to approve to an equal or lower standard at subsequent stages in the approval process. For example, if stage 1 has an approval to ECWVTA you can get either an ECWVTA or an approval under the National schemes. However, if stage 1 has a National approval you cannot get an ECWVTA based on that at stage 2.
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