A new era dawns for UK crash repair industry

Press release: 21st February 2007

Thatcham and BSI are delighted to announce the launch of the Thatcham BSI Kitemark® scheme, set to redefine the crash repair industry.

The impetus for the scheme has come from the UK crash repair industry itself as it seeks to maintain its quality standards in order to safeguard the future of the sector and, even more importantly, help the public it serves.

Alastair Trivett, Global Managing Director, BSI Product Services, sees that Thatcham BSI Kitemark® brings with it a number of crucial benefits. He says: “The new Kitemark® will undoubtedly save lives. It will ensure the safe repair of vehicles and give the bodyshops a badge of recognition that the public can be confident in.

“Our research shows that 82 percent of the UK public recognise the Kitemark® and trust it as a symbol of quality assurance. We also know from our experience, in a variety of industries, that businesses that have gone through the programme to obtain the Kitemark® benefit not only from the confidence it inspires in customers – and potential customers – but also from the high levels of service and best business practices that come with obtaining it.”

The design of modern motor vehicles is becoming ever more sophisticated, with the increasing use of advanced metallic composites and other leading edge automotive technologies. The industry has had to cope with dramatically expanded use of such materials, to the extent that the average motor vehicle of today can now contain no less than 25 different metallic composites.

This trend is certain to continue in the future and, with 25 percent of motorists likely to be involved in an accident over a two-year period, the repair industry is determined to keep ahead of the need for evermore frequent improvements that new vehicles bring with them.

The Thatcham BSI Kitemark® has been devised to ensure that the UK’s 5000 bodyshop repair outlets have a recognised standard to aim for and to maintain.

Jason Moseley, Thatcham’s Chief Operating Officer is proud to be part of this vital programme. He says: “Britain’s crash repair industry is the best in the world and it is their aim to keep it that way, which is why they have been one of the main instigators of this initiative.

“The Thatcham BSI Kitemark® will ensure that the motorist and the insurance industry can continue to be confident about the abilities of those making potentially life saving repairs to their vehicles.”

The Thatcham BSI Kitemark® and PAS 125

The Thatcham BSI Kitemark® is centred on adhering to the recently announced British Standard for the crash repair industry - BSI PAS 125. The Kitemark® will also feature a regular audit to ensure compliance to the required competency levels on an ongoing basis and thus future proof the scheme.

“Cars are so much more sophisticated in the 21st century,” Moseley adds. “There are no less than ten different disciplines involved with repair. We at Thatcham, along with organisations such as EuroNCAP, are always pushing for safety improvements. This scheme will ensure that the body shop repair industry drives ahead of the changes.”

The insurance industry is also embracing the scheme. Pierre Lefevre, Chairman of the Thatcham Board and CEO of insurance company Groupama, hailed the Thatcham BSI Kitemark® as a major contribution to road safety.

“Insurance is all about reducing risk,” Lefevre says. “This scheme does just that. It will benefit all sides of the crash repair process and thus, ultimately motorists, their passengers and pedestrians too.”

Extensive investment is required to operate a bodyshop. In terms of equipment alone, the average UK bodyshop invests around £400,000. It then needs to master the repair processes of 40 different motor manufacturers.

The Thatcham BSI Kitemark® ensures that bodyshops are capable of getting the most out of this investment. At the core of it is ensuring that “The Five Key Elements” are in place:

  1. Manpower– Personnel are fully trained and maintain the required competencies
  2. Method – The bodyshop has demonstrable use of recognised crash repair methods
  3. Machine – Repairers have the correct equipment for the job, which is properly calibrated and employed
  4. Material – Repairers use the correct parts and components
  5. Management – Process management to ensure that the processes are in place to deliver the required standards

Repairers themselves have been quick to recognise the value of the Thatcham BSI Kitemark® as Mark Baldwin, Partner at Norfolk-based East Bilney Coachworks confirms.

He says: “We are 100 percent behind the introduction of the Kitemark®. As a crash repairer, it will enable us to assure our customers and the insurers we work with that the vehicles going through our bodyshop have been repaired using safe and demonstrable quality procedures.”

Neil Kirk, Managing Director at North West-based repair group, Howard Basford Ltd, explains why he supports the Kitemark®.

“This initiative is just what the professional Bodyshop operators, who are committed to safety and are investing heavily in equipment and people, have been calling for,” he says. “The standard will give confidence and reassurance to all who place work with us. Additionally, it will set the framework for the ongoing development of quality standards that will need to evolve and adapt to the challenges of new vehicle manufacturing technologies.”

Motoring TV personality, Quentin Willson, was Master of Ceremonies at the launch of the Kitemark, but his interest in the scheme runs far deeper.

He says: “I was delighted to be invited to participate in the launch as the Thatcham BSI Kitemark® is a very important initiative and one which the industry itself has brought about. It should benefit the motoring public in terms of quality, confidence and safety – and that’s something that I’ve long campaigned for.”