From start to finish… How to apply for, and achieve an MoT Bay

Combined MoT Bay
Combined MoT Bay

The MOT bay is a method that, by thorough examination, a vehicle can be checked to see that it met the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety standards required by law at the time of the inspection. The bay consists of a number of items of equipment that allow the inspection of the various parts of the motor vehicle in such a manner as to check the conformity.

The inspection bay consists of, but is not limited to a headlight tester, a means to inspect the under vehicle systems and general mechanical condition (i.e a lift or a pit), a roller brake tester, an emissions analyser and 13pin trailer socket tester. Other items of ancillary and back-up equipment are also required to conduct the test thoroughly and even specific signage is required!

In order to be approved, every station goes through a strict application process where both the applicants and premises have to conform to many technical requirements. These requirements can be viewed in the public domain at the governments website, however many applicants choose to use a company who supply a turnkey or ready to run system which provides a simple solution where the applicants formal application is actually made by the chosen supplier. Most manufacturers offer such a service which provides simplicity for the applicant for whom this is likely to be the one and only application that is ever made.

For those who wish to conduct the application themselves the starting point is the VT01 form. This is completed in black ink following the instructions on pages 8-10. Confused with the instructions? We are as well! File these 3 pages immediately into the bin!

Basically the form is in 3 sections.

  • Section A; Details on the “authorised entity” (sole trader / company house named directors / partnership members),
  • Section B; is the personal declarations of non-conviction and bankruptcy , as well as supporting evidence for the individuals named in Section A and;
  • Section C; is the details of how the test station will actually be known, its location and contact details etc.

Sections A & B are pretty straightforward. After all, its your own details. Section C however requires some further knowledge of the scheme such as “is it going to be an ATL or a One Person Test Lane”, “Will I be testing diesels” as well knowledge of the technical dimensional standards. Some further evidence is also required in support of section C specifically.

Some out-of-hours research can be done on various manufacturer websites and blogs. Our own key pages for this information include;

  • Information on the Types of MoT bay you can have can be found in our Blog HERE.
  • MoT Bay package information can be found on our website HERE.

The outcome of this paperwork application (following the site visit that is) is the approval-in-principle (AIP). This essentially gives you the ‘nod’ from VOSA that your proposal meets the application criteria.

It is at this point we commence the ground work and electrical provision stage to a known arrangement (to achieve the approved drawing)

Ground-works are one of those areas where you are best to be careful. I am sure that most people immediately think that it’s just digging a hole or two right? Wrong! Excavations always need some planning  before you start them. Understanding existing service routings in the area to be dug is obvious, but also be aware of expansion gaps in floors, which should never be broken, or the water table if you are excavating a pit.

Most roller brake testers are of such a depth that underground building membranes can also be at risk. If possible obtain a coy of the original building drawing which can usually be obtained from the local council and consult this thoroughly. If a building membrane is at risk you need to call in a specialist to restitch it after you have cut your hole. This is (relatively) in-expensive to achieve.

The requirements under most lifting apparatus are such that at least 160mm of good concrete is required below it in order to bolt to safely, and by good concrete we are talking about C25 grade or better. Achieving a good activation is also essential to ensure that the concrete goes ‘off’. Once poured and activated, the concrete will continue to harden off over a period of approx. 1 week, by which time it will achieve it’s maximum strength.

When cutting any recess, always dig outside of the dimensions required and back-fill using wooden shuttering to achieve the final desired dimensions. Ensure the shuttering is firmly mounted and supported in various places to prevent any deviation when the concrete is poured. Do not under-estimate the force that will act on this wooden shuttering when securing it in place!

With the groundworks complete, the bay needs to be installed in such a way as to achieve the original dimensions approved with the AIP letter granted at the end of stage 1. The provision of the groundwork in Stage 2 will have ensured that this is the case.

The supplier of the equipment will normally install the equipment to the prepared site in such a way that conformity is assured and provide other documentation to accompany the installation:

  • Confirmation that the Lift is installed correctly
  • Confirmation from the Lift manufacturer (not installer) that the play detectors can be used on the lift (ATL applications Only)
  • Conformity certification for all equipment
  • Level Certification for the standing areas of the MoT bay
  • Certificates of Calibration
  • Certificates of approval for the bay equipment
  • An ongoing calibration and service contract

All this information will be required by the VOSA inspector when he comes back to approve the installation so get copies prepared in advance for him to take away with him!

Also required before the device can be ordered is the provision of the VTS device location and a phone line.

A lot of mystery and mis-information surrounds the VTS device line. It shouldn’t!

Firstly, you do not need a dedicated line, but the line must be suitable for an analogue connection (therefore not a broadband exchange) and it must have caller line identification activated on it. It is easy to test to see if this is the case by simply phoning your mobile from the proposed device line. If you can see the number that you called from all is OK. If it says with-held or private etc this is not acceptable.

Once all the above is complete and the bay should be essentially ready to open, you can call in your local inspector. Provided the bay is installed correctly and that the supporting documentation is complete, the VTS device will be ordered. This normally takes 3-5 days to arrive and once installed you can order test slots on your smartcard.

Most inspectors come back one final time to watch a demonstration test before fully authorising the station; so ask at the first meeting when he comes to check the installation to find out what he wants to do about this…

Hopefully this series gives a good insight into how the application process works. Professional assistance for an entire bay project can be found from many suppliers and also manufacturers such as ourselves. We can be directly contacted during office hours on 0844 800 9785 or electronically, outside of these hours, to

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