Bus builders to be audited

By: David Goeldner

Compliance audits will sweep through the bus building sector by year’s end

Bus builders to be audited
Vehicle certification representatives Martin Handley and Bryce Davy with BIC technical manager Luke Hardy at the Suppliers Summit

Bus builders are set to be audited later this year following revelations that non-compliance with Australian Design Rules (ADR) was higher than the industry average for other vehicle manufacturing.

Addressing the Bus Industry Confederation Suppliers Summit in Canberra this week, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development’s Heavy Vehicle Certification Section Head Martin Handley presented data pointing to unsatisfactory conformity of production audits among bus builders.

"We often see it comes down to bus builders making genuine mistakes," says Handley.

"I think non-compliance also comes down to the fact that bus building is a complicated industry as far as production goes.

"If you go to Toyota, you will see 50 vehicles built for Australia on the production line, but if you go to a bus builder, pretty much every vehicle is different."

Essentially, Handley considers the batch processing nature of bus building in Australia as a contributing factor to the ‘unsatisfactory conformity’.

"The level of deliberate non-compliance is low, in fact almost non-existent," he says.

Handley says it is more complex for bus builders to put a system in place to control this process than it is for large volume manufacturers.

"It’s almost ‘bespoke’ for every single vehicle, and getting a system to cover this is very difficult," he says.

Handley says desk top audits are planned for the bus industry in the final quarter of 2014, starting in September.

He says bus manufacturers won’t need to prepare for the audits, as the evidence of ADR compliance being sought should already be contained in the company’s own records.

"The first thing they should do is read the Department circular on the arrangements for the audits, and if they have any problems or questions they should contact us," says Handley.

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