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3 Inspection and certification process

3-1 Duties and responsibilities


3.1.1 General duties and responsibilities

Applicable legislation: Vehicle Standards Compliance Rule 2002 (the Rule).

1. Vehicle inspectors and inspecting organisations [Definitions in the Rule]

Vehicle inspector means an individual appointed by the NZTA under 2.2(1) of the Rule to carry out inspection and certification activities in accordance with requirements and conditions imposed by the NZTA.

Inspecting organisation means a person or organisation appointed by the NZTA under 2.2(1) who is responsible for inspection and certification outcomes.

2. Inspection and certification activities [section 2.1(1) of the Rule]

Only vehicle inspectors and inspecting organisations appointed by NZTA may carry out inspection and certification activities as specified in the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Standards Compliance 2002.

3. Primary duty [section 2.1(2) of the Rule]

Vehicle inspectors and inspecting organisations must carry out inspection and certification activities competently and diligently and in accordance with the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Standards Compliance 2002, this manual, the Notice of appointment and the Code of conduct.

4. Inspection and certification activities that can be carried out [section 2.2(2) of the Rule]

Vehicle inspectors and inspecting organisations may carry out only those inspection and certification activities for which NZTA has appointed them.

5. Requirements, conditions, and period of appointment [section 2.3(1) of the Rule]

The NZTA may specify the period of appointment for a vehicle inspector and inspecting organisation and may impose requirements and conditions as to the performance of the inspection and certification activities, including the performance of those activities at individual sites. This manual contains the requirements and conditions imposed by the NZTA.

6. Driver licence

Vehicle inspectors must hold a current driver licence for the vehicles that they are inspecting.

7. Fit and proper person [section 2.3(3) of the Rule]

It is a condition of an appointment that a vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation continues to be fit and proper.

For further information about what it means to be a fit and proper person, refer to the Transport Agency's Fit and proper person guidelines.

8. Document retention, Advise incorrect certification, Advise vehicle defects [section 2.3(4) of the Rule]

It is a condition of an appointment that a vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation:

a) keeps all records and associated documents relating to vehicle inspections and certifications (including failed inspections) for a minimum period of 12 months (LT400s and other HVS/engineer certificates indefinitely), and

b) advises the NZTA as soon as practicable if there is a reason to believe that the inspection and certification of a vehicle has been carried out incorrectly, and

c) advises the NZTA as soon as practicable of a defect in a manufacturer’s production run or quality control process of which the inspector or organisation has become aware that may affect the safety performance of a vehicle that has been inspected and certified.

9. Delegation [section 2.4(1) of the Rule]

A vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation may not delegate any function or power to carry out inspection and certification activities for which they were appointed, except under conditions specified by NZTA in writing.

10. Additional duties and responsibilities of inspecting organisations under the quality management system (QMS) and the Notice of appointment

In addition to requirements specified elsewhere in this manual, an inspecting organisation must comply with the requirements of their QMS and Notice of appointment, including the following:

a) advise the NZTA as soon as possible when a vehicle inspector leaves or joins an inspecting organisation or moves to another site (Notification of vehicle inspector transfer)

b) manage actual, potential and perceived conflicts of interest (refer to Information for inspecting organisations)

c) report the loss or theft of controlled documents to the NZ Police and the NZTA as soon as possible (Notification of lost or stolen controlled documents)

d) comply with any NZTA requirements relating to IT systems, including protecting access to the NZTA computer system from unauthorised persons

e) carry out regular internal performance assessments (at least once a year)

f) inspect and certify vehicles only at authorised sites unless otherwise permitted

g) responsible for maintaining technical and administrative competence of vehicle inspectors and other persons carrying out vehicle inspection and certification work

h) responsible for ensuring vehicle inspectors continue to abide by the Code of Conduct.

3.1.2 Inspection and certification
1. Inspection and certification of vehicles for operation in service [section 7.3(3) of the Rule]

The inspection and certification of a vehicle for operation in service must be carried out in accordance with requirements and conditions imposed by NZTA.

2. Determining compliance of a vehicle [section 7.4(1) of the Rule]

A vehicle is certified for in-service based on the condition of the vehicle at the time of the inspection.

A vehicle may be certified for operation in-service only if a vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation has identified the vehicle and has determined, on reasonable grounds, that the vehicle meets all of the following:

a) it is safe to be operated under normal conditions of use, and

b) it has been designed and constructed using components and materials that are fit for their purpose, and is within safe tolerance of its state when manufactured or modified, and

c) it complies with the applicable requirements (all of which are contained within this manual), and

d) it has undergone specialist inspection and certification as required by paragraphs 4, 5, and 6 below and the specific aspects of the vehicle have been certified.

3. Information to take into account when determining compliance of a vehicle [section 7.4(3) of the Rule]

A vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation, in making a determination, must take into account:

a) information obtained from inspecting the vehicle and associated documents, and

b) additional relevant information, if any, about the vehicle issued by a manufacturer, modifier, repairer, or other relevant person of which the inspector or organisation is aware.

4. Low volume vehicle specialist certification [section 7.5(1)(a) of the Rule]

Low volume vehicle (LVV) specialist inspection and certification is required prior to inspection and certification for in-service, if the vehicle is a light vehicle that, since it was last certified for operation in-service or last certified as a low volume vehicle, has been modified so as to affect its compliance with an applicable requirement (Note 1).

5. Heavy vehicle specialist certification [section 7.5(1)(b) of the Rule]

Heavy vehicle specialist (HVS) inspection and certification is required prior to inspection and certification for in service, if the vehicle is a heavy vehicle that, since it was last certified for operation in service or last certified for modification, has been modified so as to affect its compliance with an applicable requirement, including modifications to its chassis, brakes, log bolster attachments, towing connections or load anchorages.

6. Other specialist certification [section 7.5(1)(c) of the Rule]

Other specialist inspection and certification is required in accordance with an applicable requirement or as required by NZTA, all of which are contained within this manual.

7. Modified vehicles not requiring specialist certification [section 7.5(3) of the Rule]

Low volume vehicle (LVV) specialist inspection and certification or heavy vehicle specialist (HVS) inspection and certification is not required if a modified vehicle is:

a) excluded in this manual from the requirement for LVV or HVS certification and meets the inspection requirements in this manual, including those for equipment, condition, and performance, or

b) modified for the purposes of law enforcement or the provision of emergency services.

Note that this only covers the modifications for the specialised functions of the vehicle. Other modifications that affect compliance are subject to certification.

Note 1
Modifications not requiring LVV certification

All modifications must meet WoF or CoF requirements. However, not every modification requires LVV certification.

A modified light vehicle may or may not be required to undergo LVV certification, depending on the level of modification. Typical modifications that are made to vehicle components and systems are listed in tables, and identify:

a) those modifications that do not require LVV certification unless they exceed a certain level. Where modifications exceed those listed in the table, a WoF or CoF provider must not issue a WoF or CoF for the vehicle until LVV certification has been issued

b) those modifications that have been certified to an accepted overseas system as shown in Technical bulletin 13

c) those lower levels of modification that are never required to be LVV certified.

For most modifications, the introduction date for the requirement for LVV certification is 1 March 1999, which was the date that the Compliance Rule came into force. In addition, LVV certification was required for some items under the Transport (Vehicle Standards) Regulations 1990. In particular LVV certification is required for:

a) a modification after 1 January 1992 that affected compliance with a brake standard on a class MA vehicle, or after 1 January 1993 on a vehicle of class MB, MC or NA.

b) a modification after 1 January 1992 that affected a seatbelt anchorage standard on a passenger vehicle with up to nine seats, that is class MA, MB or MC.

c) a modification after 1 January 1992 that affected compliance with a standard for door locks and hinges, steering column impact or interior impact on a class MA vehicle.

If a modification was carried out prior to LVV certification coming into force, a valid modification declaration must be produced. The vehicle inspector may also accept other authentic evidence to verify that the modifications were carried out prior to LVV certification coming into force. Examples are an invoice from the company that carried out the modification, insurance policy cover notes and motoring magazine features provided they record the vehicle’s registration number or VIN, the modification details and a date or other information verifying when the modifications were carried out. Documents such as statements from previous owners are not acceptable.

Where the information on the modification declaration (other than the plate number) differs from the vehicle, the vehicle must be failed and sent to an appropriate LVV certifier. For example, if the vehicle has been further modified or the declaration date is incorrect for the vehicle or the modifications. See sample modification declaration for information on modification declarations).

Note 2
Confirming LVV certification

Modifications can be confirmed as certified under the LVV Code by the following means:

a) LVV certification plate riveted and glued to the vehicle in any one of the following positions:

i. within the engine compartment in a clearly visible position, or

ii. where there is insufficient available space within the engine compartment to enable the LVV certification plate to be fitted and remain clearly visible, in any one of the following locations:

(1) within the passenger compartment on the vehicle’s A-pillar or B-pillar, or

(2) in the case of a sedan, on the rear bulkhead or other prominent position within the boot area, or

(3) in the case of a van with an engine cover in the passenger compartment, on a non-removable panel steel part of the engine cover or seat frame, or

(4) in the case of a vehicle with a raised floor, on the vertical area of a step behind a door, or

(5) in the case of a hatchback or station wagon, in the spare wheel well which is accessible without the use of tools.

b) LVV authority card, linking listed vehicle modifications to the special requirements of one person.

All enquiries about the LVV process, LVV certifier locations and the issuing of LVV certification plates should be directed to the NZTA (0800 587 287) or LVVTA (04 238 4343) .

Note 3
Information on LVV plate differs from the vehicle

Where the information on the LVV plate (other than the vehicle’s registration plate) differs from the vehicle, for example where a vehicle has been further modified or returned to original, the vehicle must be failed and sent to an appropriate LVV certifier:

a) where the vehicle has been further modified or partially returned to the original condition, the LVV certifier will inspect and certify the vehicle to ensure the correct details are on the new LVV plate, or

b) where the vehicle has been fully returned to original, the LVV certifier will confirm that this has been done and remove the LVV plate from the vehicle (only an LVV certifier or delegated NZTA staff can remove an LVV plate).

3.1.3 Revocation of a WoF, CoF, temporary permit, CoL, or record of determination
1. Revocation of evidence of vehicle inspection and conditional permit [section 11.3(1) of the Rule]

The NZTA may revoke, by giving written notice to a vehicle’s operator, a WoF, CoF, conditional permit or a record of determination issued under the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Standards Compliance 2002 if the NZTA believes, on reasonable grounds, that:

a) the vehicle does not comply with applicable requirements, or

b) the WoF, CoF, permit or record of determination was issued on the basis of an incorrect determination.

2. Revocation of certificate of loading [section 11.3(2) of the Rule]

The NZTA may revoke, by giving written notice to a vehicle’s operator, a certificate of loading issued for that vehicle under the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Standards Compliance 2002 if the NZTA believes, on reasonable grounds, that the certificate is not valid.

3. Re-inspection and re-certification of a vehicle [section 11.4 of the Rule]

If a WoF, CoF, conditional permit, record of determination or certificate of loading has been revoked, the NZTA may require in writing that a vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation:

a) repeat the inspection and certification of the vehicle, and

b) issue, if appropriate, a WoF, CoF, permit, record of determination or other evidence, and

c) meet the costs of the activities undertaken under (a) and (b).

3.1.4 Vehicles ordered off the road (green and pink stickers) [Land Transport Act 1998: section 115 and section 96]

A green sticker, which directs that the vehicle is not to be driven on a road, may be issued to the driver or owner of a vehicle by an enforcement officer who believes on reasonable grounds that a vehicle does not comply with the provisions of the regulations or rules, or that a vehicle was operated with unnecessary exhibition of speed or acceleration or sustained loss of traction. At the discretion of the enforcement officer, the green sticker notice will remain in force until:

a) the vehicle has been inspected and a new WoF or CoF has been issued, or

b) the enforcement officer has been notified in writing that the vehicle is now compliant (this type of green sticker is often referred to as ‘discretionary green sticker’ or ‘G2 sticker’). A new WoF or CoF is not required, however, instead of notifying the enforcement officer in writing, the vehicle driver/owner may choose to obtain a new WoF or CoF, which will automatically remove the flag from the NZ Police system.

A pink sticker, which directs that the vehicle is not to be driven on a road, may be issued to the driver or owner of a vehicle by an enforcement officer who believes on reasonable grounds that a vehicle is not in a safe condition to be driven on a road. A pink sticker will remain in force until the vehicle has been inspected and a new WoF or CoF has been issued.

Where a light vehicle has been ordered off the road by an enforcement officer for non-compliant exhaust noise, the vehicle must pass an LVVTA objective noise test before the vehicle may be issued with a new WoF or CoF – even if the vehicle is presented with a quieter or original exhaust system or with a previous LVV noise certification. Due to this requirement, for each green- or pink-stickered light vehicle presented for WoF or CoF and before issuing a new WoF or CoF, the vehicle inspector must check (usually by sighting the ordering-off-the-road notice or Landata):

a) whether the vehicle was ordered off the road for non-compliant exhaust noise, and

b) if (a) applies, that a valid LVVTA objective exhaust noise emissions test certificate was issued for the vehicle after the date the ordering off the road notice was issued.

A vehicle that has been green or pink stickered can only be inspected by a vehicle inspector who is employed with an inspecting organisation that does not engage in the repair of vehicles in the course of their business (other than replacing bulbs or wiper blades). This generally includes VTNZ, VINZ, NZAA and some independent testing stations. A new WoF or CoF must be issued by the inspecting organisation before the vehicle is permitted to be used on the road. Once the new WoF or CoF has been issued, the vehicle inspector removes the green or pink sticker. The flag is automatically removed from the NZ Police system.

3.1.5 Performance review
1. The NZTA may monitor and review performance [section 3.1(1) of the Rule]

The NZTA may monitor and review the performance of a vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation in complying with the requirements and conditions imposed by the NZTA, including the performance of inspection and certification activities at individual sites.

The requirements and conditions are contained in this manual, the Notice of appointment and the Transport Agency’s Quality Management System (QMS) requirements.

2. Providing information to the NZTA [section 3.1(2) & (3) of the Rule]

In monitoring and reviewing performance, the NZTA may require a vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation to undergo such monitoring and review and provide such information as the NZTA reasonably considers relevant. A vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation must comply with a requirement from the NZTA.

3. Costs of monitoring and review [section 3.1(4) of the Rule]

A vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation must bear the costs of the monitoring and reviewing of their performance in accordance with any prescribed fee.

Any non-payment of the required fees may result in suspension of the appointment until full payment is received.

3.1.6 Investigations
1. Investigations [section 3.2(1) of the Rule]

If the NZTA has reason to believe that a vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation has failed to comply with any of the conditions of their appointment (including the Notice of appointment and Code of conduct), or has failed to comply with the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Standards Compliance 2002 (the Rule) or with this manual, the NZTA may require the inspector or organisation to undergo such an investigation and to provide such information as the NZTA reasonably considers appropriate.

2. Notification of action (suspension or revocation, but not immediate suspension or imposition of conditions) [section 3.2(3) of the Rule]

Following an investigation and before carrying out action, the NZTA must notify the vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation in writing of:

a) the action that is being considered, and

b) the reasons for the action that is being considered, and

c) the date by which submissions may be made to the NZTA in respect of the action that is being considered, which must be at least 21 days after the notice is given, and

d) where appropriate, the date on which the action that is being considered will take effect, which, unless the NZTA determines otherwise, must be at least 28 days after the notice is given.

3. Responding to a notification of action [section 3.2(5) of the Rule]

If a vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation is notified as above, they must ensure that all information that they wish the NZTA to consider in relation to the action that is being considered is received by the NZTA within the period specified in the notice or within any further period that the NZTA may allow.

4. The NZTA must consider submissions [section 3.2(6) of the Rule]

The NZTA must consider the submissions made and information supplied, and must:

a) decide whether or not to take the action that is being considered, and

b) as soon as is practicable, provide written notification to the vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation of:

i. the NZTA’s decision, and

ii. if appropriate, the date on which the action is to take effect, and

iii. if appropriate, the right of appeal under section 106 of the Land Transport Act 1998.

5. Remedial action, suspension, revocation [section 3.2(2) of the Rule]

If, following an investigation, the NZTA is satisfied that the vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation has failed to comply with any of the conditions of their appointment (including the Notice of appointment and Code of conduct), or failed to comply with the Rule or this manual, NZTA may do one or more of the following:

a) require that remedial action, such as training, be undertaken by the inspector or organisation

b) suspend the whole or any part of the appointment of the inspector or organisation for a specified period or until specified conditions are met

c) revoke the whole or any part of the appointment of the inspector or organisation.

6. Immediate suspension or imposing of conditions [section 3.3(1) of the Rule]

If the NZTA has reason to believe that a vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation has failed to comply with a condition of their appointment (including the Notice of appointment and Code of conduct) or with the Rule or this manual, and that this presents a significant risk to land transport safety, the NZTA may suspend, with immediate effect, the whole or any part of the appointment, or impose any conditions on the appointment.

7. Notification of immediate suspension or imposing of conditions [section 3.3(2) of the Rule]

Where the NZTA suspends the whole or any part of an appointment, or imposes conditions on the appointment, the NZTA must notify the vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation in writing of:

a) the grounds for the suspension or imposing of conditions

b) the fact that the inspector or organisation may make submissions to the NZTA

c) the right of appeal under section 106 of the Land Transport Act 1998.

8. The NZTA must consider submissions following immediate suspension or imposition of conditions [section 3.3(3) of the Rule]

The NZTA must, as soon as is practicable, consider any submission made and notify the inspector or inspecting organisation in writing of the result of any such consideration.

9. Duration of immediate suspension or imposing of conditions [section 3.3(5) of the Rule]

A suspension or condition imposed remains in force until the NZTA has determined the action to be taken and that action has been taken.

10. Withdrawal of immediate suspension or imposing of conditions [section 3.3(4) of the Rule]

The NZTA may at any time withdraw a suspension or condition imposed.

11. Right of appeal [section 3.3(6) of the Rule]

A vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation may appeal under section 106 of the Land Transport Act 1998 against a decision by the NZTA to immediately suspend or impose conditions.

12. Costs of investigations [section 3.2(7) of the Rule]

The NZTA may require a vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation to bear the costs associated with an investigation or remedial action in accordance with any prescribed fee.

13. Obligation to comply [section 3.2(8) of the Rule]

A vehicle inspector or inspecting organisation must comply with a requirement of the NZTA in relation to paragraphs 1, 5, and 12.

Page amended 1 May 2017 (see amendment details).