How Long Does an MOT Bay Project Take?

How Long Does an MOT Bay Project Take?
MOT Expert Ashley Hance
Ashley Hance MSc – Director of GETECH and MOT Project Expert

Our own MOT Expert Ashley Hance talks through MOT timings in this blog article…

“Often I am asked at the point of sale as to the likely lead-time for the introduction of an MOT bay into an existing or new business premises…

It is a question which is difficult to accurately answer given the complexity of an MOT bay project but personally I always like to work on a worst case scenario – things only ever improve from there!

The long lead time item within the application process is without doubt the “local authority consent” aspect. More often that not, local Council records of the premises are either non-existent or unhelpful. Furthermore the planning department will often state that they do not necessarily know the exact usage ongoing within the premises – in essence they are looking at historical information. Although this may seem a little strange to the layman, it does make sense; planning and enforcement are tasked with planning and enforcement so if no application for planning has been made, or if you have had no complaints raised by enforcement then  despite the fact that you are probably banded correctly for your business rates by the Council’s own business rates people – the planning department may have no knowledge of the activities being conducted within the premises.

You can also be assured that local authorities have become more greatly skilled at pushing unsuspecting applicants towards a planning application of some kind; be it full planning, change of use or a lawful development certificate. After all funds in the public sector are non-existent and if you cannot prove that the usage is legal and that the proposed changes also fall within that legal framework then inevitably you will be forced into a cost, and more undesirably, a 8 week delay in starting the application process to the DVSA.

So how can you avoid this requirement? The truth is that from a DVSA perspective you cannot. The VT01 clerks are looking for something from the local authority in question which states that either planning is not required, the MOT Bay will be covered within existing planning permissions or that permission has been granted for the MOT bay as a result of a planning application.

How do you achieve planning approval? Well you can speak to the Council yourself and attempt to navigate your way through planning law for what will probably be the first and last time – or alternatively you can pick up the phone to GETECH Garage Equipment and be guided through the entire process from start to finish with the minimum of direct involvement.

Complete planning applications including floor-plan and elevation drawings, flood risk assessments, traffic flow studies and more can all be supplied or project managed by GETECH where there is a specific requirement from a Council’s planning department.

Even if you are not an existing customer of GETECH, we can still be employed to conduct this aspect of your project on your behalf – you could even get a better deal on your equipment by speaking to us and cutting out the distributor network altogether!

Visit our “Other Services” page by clicking this link and find out how much more than just a garage equipment manufacturer GETECH actually is…

Coming back to the question though…

…once the planning (if applicable is achieved) the rest of the application and realisation process is fairly straightforward. DVSA approval can, in 2017, ordinarily be achieved within a week of submission – and with no site visits required by the DVSA until the bay is ready to be signed off, you could genuinely be into your groundwork and electrical preparation stages promptly. Installation only takes a day or so (dependent on the type of bay you have opted for), as does the approval of the Ministry…

Therefore in a tightly managed project where no planning is required – a lead time of approximately 3-8 weeks is achievable (irrespective of what class of vehicle will be tested). Whereas with a planning application requirement you could be looking at a lead time of 11-16 weeks from start to finish.

If you have been informed that the application process takes a ling time and it is difficult to obtain a prompt approval (I have heard horror stories of 6-9 months on my travels around the UK) – you are definitely talking to the wrong supplier! Our “can-do” attitude will see you authorised within the lead times indicated above!


For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit http://getech.org.uk or mail info@getech.org.uk.

6 Weekly Fleet Brake Checks: PC Download or Print to Hard Copy?

6 Weekly Fleet Brake Checks: PC Download or Print to Hard Copy?

The subject of this blog article pertains to the methods that can be employed to maintain vehicle testing data as part of a schedule of 6 weekly checks.

The "Industry Standard" Bowmonk brake meter is used in ATF's and MOT stations across the Country
The “Industry Standard” Bowmonk brake meter is used in ATF’s and MOT stations across the Country

The Bowmonk Brake Meter is a means to measure and record braking forces and efficiencies, and this data can be quickly acquired during a simple single test pass.

Dealing with this data is the actual issue. Having conducted the tests you want to maintain a record of those checks as evidence of compliance however is it better to maintain an electronic version of this data or a hard copy?

In the first instance one immediately thinks electronic data makes more sense. The file size is generally quite small and an electronic record can be stored safely on a PC for years – indeed this facility does exist with the Bowmonk Brake Meter however GETECH believe that a paper copy makes more sense…

  1. A micro printer can be supplied with the unit enabling the result to be immediately printed whilst negating the requirement for a laptop to be carried around the test site.
  2. Data when printed can immediately be attached to the service record for the vehicle in question. If a download is to be achieved from “the office” then not only will the tester have to return to base to download the data every time, a risk is introduced whereby the data when downloaded may be saved against the wrong vehicle.
bowmonk_brake_tester
The portable brake meter for motorcycle, car, light commercial, HGV and Bus & Coach testing

In actual fact though we can supply specific to customer requirements – so in those odd ball site requirements that require a download function can be accommodated although GETECH supply our brake testing kits with the printer option as part of a kit. These kits a designed for specific applications. HGV operators require a slightly different specification of brake meter – but our kits for commercial applications are clearly identified HERE whereas the entire product range can be viewed HERE.


For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit http://getech.org.uk or mail info@getech.org.uk

Local Authority Consent for MOT Bay Applications

Local Authority Consent for MOT Bay Applications

Part of the application evidence that needs to be submitted to the DVSA when applying for an MOT station licence is “Local Authority Consent” which appears within Section C of the VT01 application form.

Specifically the VT01 form requests;

Evidence of planning permission (or an excemption) or written confirmation that existing approval covers MOT testing.

Q: So what does that mean in plain English?

A: It means that the DVSA are looking for a communication from the Council that the MOT facility either has or does not require specific planning permission.

Q; So how do you get the evidence required?

A: With great care. Experience has shown in the last few years that local authorities are usually unable or unwilling to confirm if the correct planning permission is in place unless some kind of planning search or application is conducted – at a cost obviously. Usually there are a few scenarios;

  1. The building already benefits from planning permission to operate as a garage (usually B2 but I have also seen B1 quoted). This may be available if the site you intend to use was previously used as an MOT station and document evidence from the Council is available to support this.
  2. The building does benefit from the correct planning permission but the Council attempt to steer you towards a planning application of some sort i.e a change of use because they claim that an MOT bay is not classified within the “Land Use Gazateer”
  3. The building has completely the wrong planning in place for even a garage to operate. This is not as unusual as you might think – after all, when you first find the ideal unit for your garage why necessarily would you speak to the Council planning department when you are already paying the correct rateable value and have agreed terms with the landlord.

Are you encountering issues with your local Council? Are they attempting either Scenario 2 or 3 with your specific request? Call GETECH. We can probably help as we always include local authority planning assistance with every MOT package we supply. Although we can never guarantee that we can avoid the requirement for a planning application, the truth is that we have lots of experience in dealing with local planning authorities and as a result have a better than average chance of side-stepping this requirement.

And if your planning application requires additional reporting such as traffic flow analysis or flood risk assessments we can also assist.

GETECH Garage Equipment are much more than a garage equipment manufacturer and supplier – we have our own in-house teams to deal with the entire processes of garage and mot bay management so when you engage us in your business you gain a powerful contractor capable of managing entire projects on your behalf and with the minimum of effort from your side. Furthermore, as we are the manufacturer you will have cut out the middle-man when professional support or parts are required… So that’s a truly complete service, with manufacturer support – Why would you buy your garage equipment from anywhere else?


For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit http://getech.org.uk or mail info@getech.org.uk.

Lease, Hire or Buy – What is best for Capital Equipment?

Buying workshop equipment is rarely an easy process. Most people can’t afford to buy the equipment outright in their lifetime, so often look for other options that can take the financial pressure off – like financing or a second hand equipment purchase. But how do you know which option is right for you? With the interest and hidden costs of many finance solutions, or buying second hand equipment that may not be reliable, many workshop owners experience a time consuming and frustrating journey.

Leases have given many garage owners an opportunity that’s both practical and cost effective. As a two way agreement between you and a finance company, employers are given a fantastic option to purchase new equipment suitable for their needs and within a managable budget. It’s a solution that’s helped many people get the equipment they want at a price they can afford.

But how does a Lease compare with other buying options? Let’s take a look!

Lease Hire vs. Finance

Historically, for many garage owners, taking out a loan to finance new or used equipment tended to be a most popular option. Most people opted for either a business loan or a personal loan from the bank both of which require about the same amount of paper work and credit history to get it over the line. Depending on your credit history, the value of the purchased equipment and the type of loan you take on, you may have to fork out a deposit in advance as well.

Although purchasing equipment using finance can be the most familiar option it does of course have interest rates attached to it and these vary significantly from loan to loan so that they can end up costing you a fortune down the track. On the other hand, a Lease still has an arrangement with a finance company but it’s much more transparent than a finance loan – which can seem a lot more attractive than what it actually is.

Lease Hire vs. Buying Outright

Whilst buying equipment outright can be a feasible solution for garage owners who are willing to accept the risk of second hand equipment, it’s not always practical for a brand new. Unless you have been on a strict saving plan for years, have cash in hand at the bank or earn a significant above-average return, it’s rarely a practical plan for the average person.

Buying equipment outright with the cash you have saved comes with one obvious advantage though – it’s yours outright with no more to pay and nothing further to owe. It also has a notable downside – unless you have significant additional funding available to hand at the bank, then a future additional cash requirement within the business could cause cash flow issues – therefore it doesn’t always make a lot of financial sense to buy outright and to ‘dig in’ into your ‘rainy day’ savings account.

Lease Hire vs. Mortgage Redraw

It’s the incredibly low interest rates that tempt homeowners to redraw additional home loan payments to buy capital equipment. The problem? Most mortgages are likely to be a 20 year term (or more!). If you add the cost of the equipment to your mortgage and pay this pack over the same 20+ year period then a £30,000 investment can easily turn into a £55,000.

Lease Hire vs. Lease Purchase

These are the most common methods of purchase for large items of high value capital equipment. Sometimes equipment purchased on a hire purchase agreement can sometimes be confused as a ‘equipment loan’. Under either a lease or purchase agreement, the finance company purchases the equipment on your behalf and you will gain the use of that equipment in return for regular payments.

At the end of a lease hire contract, you have the option to buy the equipment at a pre-arranged rate whereas with a lease purchase agreement you will have already paid the VAT up front as a deposit to the supplier with the ownership of the equipment being automatically transferred at the end of the contract term. On paper this looks more attractive – but only as you will have reduced the initial purchase cost by 20% (the VAT element).

Either way around is “as broad as it is long” as far as ownership of the equipment is concerned however, since the lease hire gives the facility to maintain the initial deposit to zero; in most cases these are usually the most cost-effective way to purchase.

Want to find out if a Lease Hire contract is right for your equipment purchase? Contact us at GETECH Garage Equipment for more information on 0844 800 9785.

More information on our lease packages can be found here.


For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit http://getech.org.uk or mail info@getech.org.uk.

Weigh Up the Value of £4,200 in Cost Savings

Looking to either upgrade your existing MOT bay or starting an MOT project from first principles? GETECH can help you weigh up the pro’s and con’s of the many bay offerings provided by manufacturers and suppliers across the UK.

The first thing to get to grips with is the type of MOT bay you are going to install… Sure – you want the all singing and dancing ATL (Automated Test Lane) – you’ve been told this is the future of MOT testing by a number of agents and you’ve been convinced.

But why pay for an all singing all dancing MOT bay when what you want is a good price and one man to operate your MOT bay… Why not opt for One Person Testing instead?

One person testing was previously only available to existing MOT stations and it allowed them to go to One Person Testing without all the expense of upgrading the entire MOT bay. Happily new applicants now also have this opportunity hence the future of MOT testing is actually One Person Testing rather than Automated Testing.

The only difference between OPT & ATL is the roller brake tester which for Automated Testing has an integrated weighing set to allow “as presented” vehicle weights to be used in the brake efficiency calculation – but in opting to One Person Testing you can eliminate the costs of a complete weighing set, download PC and a whole host of other items within the bay meaning that you could save £3,500 nett on the initial purchase.

So do yourself a favour and OPT for One Person Testing rather Automated Testing with a GETECH MOT Bay – You will already have saved £4200 just by placing your business with us!

Call us on 0844 800 9785 to speak to our MOT advisors at any time during normal office hours or visit our website.


For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit http://getech.org.uk or mail info@getech.org.uk.

Truck & Trailer Testing

Truck & Trailer Testing

Last week an article was published by the GEA (Garage Equipment Association)

Planned or Unplanned - Bowmonk

which gave clarification on the use of hand held braking meters for trailer testing for agricultural or goods vehicle trailers.

The article sought to overcome comments that have been made in the public domain in relation to the method of testing of trailer brakes and also the approval status of equipment to perform such tests.

The statement from the GEA reads as follows;

The GEA operates the MOT equipment approval service on behalf of the DVSA.

Recently we’ve received enquiries from workshops & installers, asking which brake test decelerometers are DVSA approved for HGV trailer testing.

Whilst there are numerous approved decelerometers that may be used to complete a brake test during an MOT, we would like to point out that none are approved specifically for HGV trailer testing.

So what does this mean? Can I only use brake rollers to test trailer brakes?

We have received numerous enquiries asking whether our portable brake testers are approved by the DVSA for trailer testing.

Our answer to this has always been that although no decelerometers are approved for trailer testing, despite some within our industry implying the opposite, there are methods available which can allow a portable decelerometer to be used as a diagnostic tool and to be used to assist in determining the brake efficiency of commercial trailers.

How do we use a Brake Meter to diagnose potential braking faults in trailers?

  1. Run a complete test using the drag / truck / tractor unit. This develops a baseline level for braking efficiency of the vehicle.
  2. Attach trailer to the drag and repeat the entire test run.
  3. Compare the data between Run 1 & Run 2: We are looking for an indication that the trailer is doing its fair share of the braking effort to decide if the braking system is operating as it should or if further diagnosis is required on a roller brake tester. i.e If braking efficiency for drag is 85% but the overall performance deteriorates to 40% for the tractor and trailer – then this is a good indication that the trailer is not doing its fair share of the effort and further analysis on a set of brake rollers is required.

What unit should I buy?

bowmonk_brake_tester
The portable brake meter for motorcycle, car, light commercial, HGV and Bus & Coach testing

There are a few decelerometer brake meters available in the UK but by far the most popular units are the Bowmonk BrakeCheck or Bowmonk TruckStop. Both of these units are approved for use within both the MOT scheme and for Designated Premises – each variant specifically designed to test either vehicles with a parking and single service brake and for those with a secondary braking system.

Almost inevitably when seeking a unit such as this for diagnosis purposes, a hard copy print out becomes desirable evidence to produce and maintain.

Therefore GETECH have a number of different kits available to suit the specific type of testing you wish to conduct – and all of these kits come in a portable hard carry case with an infra red printer to enable immediate evidence of the brake test result to be attached to the service record of the vehicle.

These packages are available on the GETECH website, but our friendly well informed sales team will be able to assist you during normal office hours on 0844 800 9785.


For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit http://getech.org.uk or mail info@getech.org.uk.

 

Motorcycle MOT Layout Planning

MOT Expert Ashley Hance
Ashley Hance

In this guest posting, Project Manager and Company Director Ashley Hance talks about the planning of a motorcycle mot bay, the installation arrangements available and offers free links to drawings to assist you in your quest for the best use of your floorspace!

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Integrating any kind of MOT bay into either an existing garage or into a new start business situation takes a significant amount of planning to ensure that the best use of the available floorspace is achieved.

There are actually an infinite number of ways that an MOT bay can be installed to meet the dimensional requirements as stated in the DVSA regulations, however normally there are 2 basic types of arrangement…

In-Line Symmetrical

A majority of motorcycles which will present to your new station are likely to be 1×1 arrangements (i.e. without a sidecar) so therefore it makes sense to plan for this situation as the standard whilst being aware in the background of the ramifications of this should a sidecar arrangement present.

In this type of configuration the basic plan is to run the motorcycle up a single axis and for all the checks to be completed with the motorcycle only traveling up or down the test lane.

Dependent on the floorspace available the headlight tester rails may also be recessed to reduce the overall test bay size.

The absolute minimum which can be achieved for this configuration is 3.2m wide x 4.6m long although normally the headlight tester rails are surface mounted which increases the bay length to approx. 5.8m.

Side by Side Arrangement

The side-by-side arrangement is preferred by some other suppliers on the basis that additional MOT’s can be conducted within the single MOT bay purchase. This is achieved by providing 2 standing areas (headlight test & brake test) which almost touch in the middle. This drives a bay width of 3.4metres with surface mounted rails as the headlight aligner carriage has to travel beyond the edge of the standing area to allow the measurement to be taken.

There is one major disadvantage to this installation arrangement which is the fact that this configuration takes no account of the additional requirement of the inspection area of 3.2m wide x 3.7m long.

Generally the general inspection area at 3.2m would sit over the top of both the brake tester and headlight tester standing area but in the side by side configuration placing the inspection area in this location means that both the left and right hand side of the side by side bay are active when the inspection is taking place. In other words an inspection area of 3.7m x 3.2m would need to be provided in addition to (and outside of) the 1.2m x 4.6m brake area & 2m x 2.1m headlight areas – so in reality, unless the premises are large, then installing the bay in this configuration loses more floorspace to potential service/repair productivity.

There is also the issue of navigating the motorcycles between left and right hand sides of the bay which costs time and is inconvenient if the test frequency is high…

Conclusions

Every MOT bay is bespoke and the installation arrangement you select will depend on a number of factors including the type of business you are operating and the floor area which is available for the MOT bay. To that end 2 MOT bays which are in identical adjacent premises may have completely different bay configurations.

In selecting the correct installation arrangement for your premises, time spent with an MOT expert would have been well invested. With detailed knowledge of the requirements for authorisation the optimum bay configuration can be agreed and achieved.

GETECH supply our project managers to support all MOT bay introductions. We are ideally placed as manufacturers to offer detailed advice to guide you toward the correct solution.

Some common general arrangement drawings have been uploaded to our Motorcycle MOT Bay product page.

To view these drawings, and the package information, simply follow the link at the foot of this text and scroll down to the expanding menu within which you can see  .pdf copies of the drawings which can be directly printed or downloaded to your PC. Page Link


For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit http://getech.org.uk or mail info@getech.org.uk.