Handy Guide for Wannabe MOT Stations

Handy Guide for Wannabe MOT Stations


Much confusion surrounds both the types of test bay which you can install and also with respect to the installation of an MOT bay within a garage environment. This handy synopsis explains the detail you need to know…

Basic Classifications of Test Classes

The first thing to understand is what are the classes of vehicle that you wish to test…

  • Class I/II – Motorcycle [Including Sidecars] – Always a test using an assistant
  • Class III – 3 Wheel Vehicles – Always a test with an assistant
  • Class IV – Cars, Motor-homes, Small Vans
  • Class VL – >16 Seats with Seatbelts
  • Class VII – Light Goods Vehicles

Types of MOT Bay Available

There are a number of test bay types which you can purchase dependant on budget, available manpower on-site. GETECH offer flexibility with our test lanes since our modular construction allows us to offer an almost infinite number of configurations to suit YOUR requirements.

  • Motorcycle MOT Bay – A package purely for testing Class 1 and 2
  • Standard MOT Bay – [Classes 4, or 7 (incl 5L)] – Test is conducted with an assistant – No easy upgrade to One Person Testing or Automated Testing.
  • Upgradeable MOT Bay – [Classes 4, or 7] – Test is conducted with an assistant but equipment can be upgraded for One Person or Automated Testing.
  • One Person MOT Bay [OPTL] – [Classes 4, or 7] – Test is conducted with a single man
  • Automated MOT Bay [ATL] – [Classes 4, or 7 (incl 5L)] – Test is conducted with a single man. Brake Tester has automated program, integrated weighing and automatic PASS/FAIL decision making capability
  • Combined MOT Bay – [Classes 1,2, 4, or 7 (incl 5L)] – An ATL Bay with a brake tester which is upgraded to accept motorcycles.

MOT Bay Layouts

Equipment can be installed anywhere in the premises provided that each test area meets its own individual requirements and the locations still allow the overall test requirements to be met. To that end there is no “right or wrong” way to install the equipment in any premises although practicality dictates that a majority of MOT bays are installed using similar layout configurations.

  • Motorcycle Bays

We tend to install motorcycle bays symmetrically about the centreline of the prescribed width of the bay; although a side by side arrangement in theory means that 2 tests can be conducted simultaneously (or at least that in a single test situation, the covers of the roller brake tester can definitely remain off during the headlight test.

In practical terms arranging your bay in this side by side arrangement brings little or no benefit unless the premises is sufficiently large to accept a completely separate zone for the “underside inspection” portion of the test. In reality therefore a symmetrical arrangement works best for a majority of sites.

You can view our Motorcycle MOT Bay Package by Clicking HERE
  • Class 4, 5 & 7 Bays

These tend to be site specific, but the best starting point is to look at the available headroom and the entrances to the premises. This generally makes 50% of the decisions for you. Headrooms at the 4m mark are suitable for Class 4 testing and 5m mark for Class 7 testing when using a lift and these sizes allow you to understand a) which class testing is actually possible and also b) if a surface mounted, rather than recessed mounted, installation is possible.

A common trap is to think that just because a ramp is installed where you think the mot bay goes, and that you can work under the car comfortably then you are meeting the MOT requirements – Nothing could be farther from the truth…

Another key issue is the sizing of the door to the premises. For class 4 testing it is straightforward: 2.4 metres square is sufficient but for Class 7 testing two dimensions exist dependent on if the MOT bay will run through the door or otherwise.

Essentially always look for 3.5 metres where possible as this maintains the best chance to have a number of different arrangements which will be dimensionally acceptable to the vehicle inspectorate – although you may eliminate some options for practical reasons subsequently.

The above refers to a lift based installation but of course – a pit installation may also be used to achieve approval.

In instances where class 7 testing is to be achieved, the overriding favourite arrangement is to opt for an inline but compact arrangement to minimise the floorspace intrusion although technically you could install side by side or in-line but “stretched out” to allow multiple simultaneous tests on the single bay (subject to available testers).

You can view our all our MOT Bay Packages by Clicking HERE

You may wish to draw on our expertise and request a site visit to look at the feasibility of your MOT bay project. Call 0844 800 9785 to speak to one of our project advisors on the telephone and to arrange your consultation now.

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

We’ve got you covered…

Nationwide Coverage – Regional Response

If you are based anywhere within mainland UK then GETECH can support you for all manner of workshop related requirements.

If you require an item of equipment servicing, have a breakdown or require calibrations or service for your MoT bay equipment – then we can help you with a prompt professional response.

For new projects, we have a complete suite of MOT equipment – much of which comes with a 5 year extended parts warranty – and a project management team who are conversant with both building regulations and DVSA MOT bay installations. This team of specialists are effectively employed by your company to deliver you a professional and turnkey service with the minimum of interruption to your normal work.

Our own service department spend much of their time maintaining and installing our own brand equipment but they have skills to assist with other manufacturers equipment in most situations so call us with ANY inquiry!

As a company, GETECH support and supply our equipment nationwide but we have a specific teams covering various overlapping areas of the Country to ensure that when required; the best service assistance is provided.

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

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.

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.

Today’s blog article is driven by a visit to one of our customer sites yesterday to conduct a calibration on the equipment in the MOT bay.

Having arrived on site to do the work, our engineer was told that the calibration had already been conducted that morning by a local calibration agent. This for us is not a problem – customers have the right to select who they want to conduct works on their premises – however we always do insist (in-line with the DVSA regulations) that the calibration should be conducted as per the manual issued to the Garage Equipment Association.

It was quickly apparent in this instance that had not been the case.

The reason for being able to so quickly identify the problem is that the use of dynamic response code systems to unlock calibration menus have been present in some products since 2005. Simply by checking with the office it was possible to immediately identify that this brake tester had not been unlocked to allow a calibration to be conducted.

Our engineer then contacted the independent agent direct to ascertain how he had conducted his calibration.

The independents explanation was that he had put a weight had been put onto the torque arm and the display was used to judge if the unit was measuring weight correctly.

This does not constitute a calibration!

The very nature of a display is that the value shown on it must, to a certain extent, be interpreted as each LED signifies 5Kgf making it impossible to see the exact value being represented on the display.

Only by hooking the brake tester up to a laptop and then entering the calibration menu is is possible to firstly assess the accuracy of the measurement to allow adjustments to be made to the brake tester such that it is truly “calibrated”.

The sad thing in this situation concerns the regulations. By unknowingly believing that the unit had been calibrated, and having paid for such a service, the Authorised Examiner has left themselves wide open to non-conformance to the scheme (it remains the AE’s responsibility to ensure that all the equipment is calibrated correctly) – the independent agent has essentially “got away with it” or in this case “nearly got away with it” – as we took the original calibration record with us as evidence!

Smart Cards Are Back!

Smart Cards Are Back!

indexIt’s back to the past in the MOT scheme when MOT Smart Cards make a re-appearance starting in October.

The cards this time are planned to be of the new type often used for accessing your bank account – in other words with a dynamic code system rather than a simple card and card reader (as they were originally).

One hopes that in a garage environment these cards will be robust enough although we feel certain that issues are likely to be hiding just around the corner!


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?

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.