A DIRECTOR of a vehicle repair business has called for better regulation in the industry.
Clint Hudson of Panel Craft said the business currently lacks regulation which means customers have no way of knowing if a crash repair, for example, is up to scratch.
In the worst case scenario, he said the issue could have serious safety implications.
‘If your vehicle is damaged you assume it will be repaired by the same process wherever you go and that everyone will operate to the same standard. In fact not everybody does.
‘There are no rules and regulations to restrict anyone from setting up a car body shop, regardless of training,’ he said.
To address this in the UK, a new kite mark accreditation standard was introduced in 2007 giving stringent guidelines on vehicle repairs, even down to the precise materials to be used and the location and number of welds, for example.
The kitemark is not mandatory but most insurance companies insist their repairs are only carried out by traders who have it.
The kitemark standardised numerous regulations that existed at that time and offers a guarantee work has been done properly.
Repairers comply with it on a voluntary basis and few in the island so far have adopted it.
Repairers do not have to hold the kite mark, but since 2007 he said most insurance companies have stipulated only kite marked body shops can carry out accident repairs.
‘We have been in touch with the government because we wanted to make them aware this industry standard exists. It is a technical standard which proves to insurers, vehicle manufacturers and customers that a body shop can repair a damaged vehicle to the original manufacturer’s specification,’ he said.
In addition to this, spot checks are carried out on staff, equipment and working practices as well as the quality and suitability of materials used in repair jobs.
‘This accreditation cannot be bought. It has to be earned and kept. A repairer can lose its accreditation at any time if the standard is not maintained,’ he said. ‘Seat belts and child seats are kite marked so repairs should be too.’
Infrastructure Minister David Cretney said there were no plans in the pipeline to introduce legislation in the Isle of Man.
‘But I am planning to do some research on whether it would be the way forward,’ he said.
‘It is a legitimate consideration that I will be following up with the OFT.’
Would you prefer to see more regulation for vehicle repairers? Write to us at Opinions, Isle of Man Examiner, Publishing House, Peel Road, Douglas IM1 5PZ, email us at opinions(at)newsiom.co.im or sign in to add your comment below.
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