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Federal Road Safety Minister launches RVMAP and raises bar for Recreational Vehicle compliance

April 04, 2013
Federal Road Safety Minister launches RVMAP and raises bar for Recreational Vehicle compliance

RVM Australia, the peak body for Australias RV manufacturing industry, has set a new benchmarkfor product compliance with the launch of the RV Manufacturing Accreditation Program (RVMAP).

RVMAP was officially launched in Melbourne today by the Federal Minister for Road Safety,Catherine King, member for Ballarat.

The minister struck a strong core with the big RV industry audience when she remarked on herfamily involvement at caravan and camping shows since childhood and her personal appreciation ofRV's and camping and safety issues which are linked to that background.

RVMAP was a significant positive procative step by the industry, she said.

RVM Australia CEO David Duncan said RVMAP was a crucial step in making RVM Australia atrue peak body, and would raise the bar substantially for compliance of Australian RVs.

RVMAP is a mandatory member accreditation program that is robust and comprehensive, and itcaptures a greater share of manufactured product than ever before, he said.

Its systems and processes will provide greater support to manufacturer members in complying withthe law and maintaining comprehensive documentation to verify their compliance.

It will enhance the already substantial value of the RVM Australia badge as the symbol of a highquality RV, and will help establish a level playing field for all RVs sold in Australia.

David Duncan said RVMAPs origins could be traced back to a Strategic Planning Forum in 2011which led to his appointment and the formation in September 2012 of RVM Australia Ltd.

An industry-wide Product Compliance Program Review last year led to formation of DevelopmentReview and Validation Review Teams from the industry to draft the program framework.

We had the benefit of inputs from both RV manufacturers and component suppliers, and fromgovernment representatives, all of which underpins the strength of the program.

RVMAP is designed to give RVM Australia members everything they need to keep abreast ofregulations, ensure they are compliant, and document the compliance of every vehicle they build.

David Duncan said it was built on a foundation of communication, education and training, plus thecreation of tools such as checklists and the appointment of staff to apply them.

A key element is the creation of new assessment checklists, but just as importantly, every companywill appoint a Compliance Officer and a Designated Vehicle Inspector to run the program.

Accreditation of a members business will confirm the compliance of the members products andadherence to the RVM Australia Codes of Practice and Compliance Standards.

The roll-out of RVMAP has begun with information road shows and recruitment of ComplianceOfficers and Designated Vehicle Inspectors, and it should be fully operational within 12 months.

Over the next six months, our technical team will visit every members premises to help themimplement the program, David Duncan said.

Soon after the first of those visits, we will begin the first round of physical vehicle inspections atmanufacturers premises, to be followed by a second round some six months later.

At the conclusion of the second inspection the frequency cycle of each Members inspections from then on will be determined, and RVMAP will be fully up and running, he said.

David Duncan explains RVMAP direction
David Duncan explains RVMAP direction

Editors Note: The RV Manufacturing Program RVMAP credits proactive members for undertaking/implementing proactive activities as contained in the Proactive Assessment and Desktop AuditChecklists to reduce the frequency of Finished Product Inspections.

The eight core elements of RVMAP are:

To turn RVMAP into reality, RVM Australia has developed eight core elements to create a programwhich addresses both current and projected requirements.

1. Communication, Education Training of Regulatory Standards and Technical Information tomembers.

RVM Australia members will receive timely information on changes to technical standards to ensurethey are fully aware of compliance requirements.

Every Member will nominate a Compliance Officer to disseminate safety and technical bulletins toemployees and maintain communication with RVM Australia; and a Technical Inspection Officerwho will be responsible for the Finished Product Inspections of each RV built.

RVM Australia will work with Regulatory Bodies to improve the clarity of RV-related design andcompliance standards through the development of a plain English Regulatory Standard Guide.

Compulsory Technical Briefings will be held at least annually, and the online reference library will bean up-to-date archive of all relevant technical and regulatory material.

2. Effective and Practical Tools

RVMAP will include tools to assist members to uphold safety standards. Enterprises that candemonstrate a track record of effective safety compliance will undergo less frequent FinishedProduct Inspections.

The Accreditation Process comprises three components: Proactive Assessment; Desktop Auditsand Finished Product Inspections (including Witnessing of Inspections).

RVMAP Launch Garth Morrison of GSA with Michael Case of RACV (R).
RVMAP Launch Garth Morrison of GSA with Michael Case of RACV (R).

The frequency of Finished Product Inspections will be based upon statistical rigour, frequency ofnew vehicle type introductions, total number of vehicles and number of each type produced.

Manufacturers of Motorised RVs will gain credits through RVCS certification, whereby productionfacilities are registered, approval is given for each model, and inspections ensure products meetdesign standards.

3. Assessment

RVMAP includes checklists for RVs and components, provision for Self Certification, andfrequency of Finished Product Inspections based on the level of proactive measures andmanagement systems.

Audits will generally be performed on a random basis, at a frequency depending on the risk profileof the Member by the gaining of Accreditation Credits for proactive compliance activities.

Finished Product Inspections will be conducted on-site on finished vehicles in the presence of theCompliance Officer or Designated Vehicle Inspector so education on compliance issues can beprovided. Within two weeks of a successful Audit, members will receive an RVM AustraliaAccreditation Certificate.

For every vehicle produced, the manufacturer must hold a self-completed checklist, at least meetingRVM Australia Finished Product Inspection Checklist requirements, with photographs of the VINplates

4. Documentation to reduce members risk of non-compliance

RVM Australia will maintain records of member compliance, a library of technical information anddata for Member reference that makes RVM Australia the one-stop shop for compliance resources.

The onus will be on members to demonstrate they have complied with safety standards andrequirements.

To identify emerging trends and problems relating to safety and compliance, RVM Australia willproduce a monthly summary of technical issues and encourage the use of electronic records forgreater efficiency.

RVM Australia will communicate regularly with regulatory authorities to ensure they are aware of theextent and effectiveness of the system and of trends that emerge from the Accreditation process.

5. Meaningful Accreditation

Accreditation will be granted to members who meet the required technical standard, and there willbe a process for non-compliance of members to be addressed through education, escalation anddiscipline.

RVM Australia Accreditation Certificates will expire two months after the next scheduledInspection. Manufacturers who produce ISO or RVCS documentation will be granted AccreditationCredits.

In any case of a failure to comply with requirements, RVM Australia will require the Member tonotify the relevant government authorities, and may apply sanctions depending on the seriousness ofthe compliance failure, starting with a warning and demand to rectify failures, and including moreserious penalties.

As a last resort, members may be expelled by the RVM Australia Board, temporarily orpermanently.

6. Continuous improvement of Compliance Program through Governance

The RVM Australia Board will subject RVMAP to appropriate governance and oversight, andconduct regular reviews of the effectiveness of the program.

This review and improvement process is built into the on-going operation of RVMAP and will reflectchanges in the commercial and regulatory environments.

7. Represent the industry in developing Regulatory Standards

RVM Australia will actively engage with the development of new Regulatory Standards as theyapply to the industry, and become a clear industry voice in developing and implementing suchstandards.

RVM Australia will work with regulatory authorities to develop safety standards with particular

focus on harmonising state and federal regulations; encouraging higher industry standards; identifyingpotential national issues for action by RVM Australia; and working with government on priorityissues.

When authorities request industry input on a proposed change, RVM Australia will survey Membersand appoint a panel of experts to recommend action based on Member inputs and their ownexpertise.

RVM Australia will identify regulatory issues by assessing audit results and conferring with members.

8. Assessing compliance of supplied components

Since RVM Australia manufacturers are assemblers, and much componentry is third-party supplied,the Accreditation process will verify the compliance of vendor and sub-contractor suppliedmaterials.

RVM Australia will identify key vehicle elements covered by Regulatory Standards, and confirm thatthese are purchased against and meet the relevant standards, based initially on a review of themembers purchasing system and records (rather than intruding on the supplier/subcontractor).

RVM Australia will provide members with all Regulatory Standards for components such as chassisand couplings, and manufacturers will be responsible for purchasing product that meets thestandards.

The manufacturer will be responsible for holding copies of test certificates from all suppliers ofcomponents required by Regulatory Standards in readiness for provision during Desktop Audits.

The roll-out of RVMAP has already begun, and is intended to be complete by April 2014.

The information road show began in Melbourne, with Sydney and Brisbane to follow, and is mainlyto give business owners and managers a broad understanding of RVMAP, ahead of itsimplementation.

Also under way are members nominations of their in-house Compliance Officers and TechnicalVehicle Inspectors who will be vital to RVMAP.

Next, RVM Australia technical advisers will visit each member to work with the Compliance Officerand Technical Vehicle Inspector to implement the RVMAP processes and record-keeping systems.

The first round of physical vehicle inspections at manufacturers premises will begin within the nextmonth, to be followed by a second round some six months later.

At the conclusion of the second inspection the frequency cycle of each members inspections fromthen on will be determined and RVMAP will be fully established.

Catherine King Fed  Min for Road Safety
Catherine King Fed Min for Road Safety