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Regulations and standards for WAVs

All wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) are made by converting an existing vehicle - usually a new production MPV or van. Although they're converted, WAVs still need to meet the same legal standards as unconverted vehicles. 

Regulations for WAVs - Type Approval

All vehicles must have 'Type Approval' before you can register them. For converted vehicles, this will be one of the following categories:

  • European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) - Special Purpose Vehicle
  • National Small Series Type Approval
  • Individual Vehicle Approval

This approval process is to make sure that the vehicle complies with the law at the point of registration. Following this, it's the driver's responsibility to make sure that the vehicle they're using complies with the law.

Many adaptations are fitted after registration. This is perfectly legal but its your responsibility to ensure that any adaptations fitted comply with the relevant vehicle construction and use legislation. The following steps will help:


The adaptation company or a mobility advisor, will have to talk to you to consider your needs and how they can be met, and design a vehicle around them. They must also take into account the design of your wheelchair and determine whether it can be safely used in a WAV. Any adaptations must be justified and fully assessed for risk.


The adaptation company needs to provide the following documentation:

  • Details of the assessment identifying your needs and the solutions proposed for them
  • Technical information about each product or adaptation, showing how they meet the requirements of your assessment and what safeguards have been put in place to ensure that their installation is satisfactory, safe and complies with relevant legislation
  • Accompanying documentation for any products they use from other manufacturers that specifies how they're to be fitted and used
  • A schedule that describes the work they will be carrying out, if and when any fittings are required, and when each stage will be completed


When you take delivery of your vehicle, make sure the adaptation company provides you with copies of all documents, including sign-off documents showing that each part of the schedule has been completed and checked.

Make sure they show you how to use everything that you'll need, let you have a test drive and give you time to make sure you are happy with the vehicle before completing the handover.


As well as their legal obligations, members of the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Converters' Association (WAVCA) accept a commitment to customer service. WAVCA will deal with complaints about their members if you contact them via their website.

PAS 2012

WAVCA and the British Standards Institute (BSI) produced a new standard for WAVs - Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 2012 - which was implemented during 2012. You can buy the PAS from the BSI. Part one provides guidance on the design and build of WAVs and part two offers retail guidelines.

This standard is additional to the Type Approval process. The intention is that organisations that buy a lot of WAVs, such as Motability, and other organisations like local authorities that license taxis and minibuses, can specify that these need to meet the PAS.

See also: 


Last updated: February 2017

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