VSB 1 and the RVSA

Vehicle Standards Bulletin 1 (VSB 1) is the National Code of Practice for trailers with an Aggregate Trailer Mass of 4.5 Tonnes or less. VSB 1 is designed to summarise the design and testing construction requirements for small trailers (including Towable Recreational Vehicles).

The Revision of VSB 1

The revision to the existing VSB 1 (Revision 5) has just been completed by VSS with four strategic intentions. These include the need for VSB 1 to reflect the new Road Vehicle Standards legislation; the need for VSB 1 to reflect changes to the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) that have occurred since the last update; to address the underlying causes of consumer complaints related to Low ATM Trailers (light trailers); and to improve compliance with ADRs by Low ATM Trailers (light trailers) manufacturers.

During this revision process Caravan Industry Association of Australia have worked closely with Industry to provide over 150 pieces of individual feedback to VSS.

VSB 1 (Revision 6) has now been published as a guidance document by the Federal Department to assist manufacturers and importers of trailers with an aggregate trailer mass (ATM) of 4500kg or less (low ATM trailers) to understand the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) applying to the most common types of trailers under the Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation.

Low ATM trailers (light trailers) are expected to comply with the applicable ADRs under the RVS legislation.

Please note that VSB 1 (Revision 5) remains applicable for Low ATM Trailers (light trailers) supplied under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA), while VSB 1 (Revision 6) will apply for Low ATM Trailers (light trailers) supplied under the Road Vehicle Standards Act (RVSA).

The Department have clarified that the intent is for VSB 1 (Revision 6) is to become much more of a ‘living’ guidance document going forward under the Road Vehicle Standards legislation, and will be updated more regularly in line with updated ADRs.

There are some sections of VSB 1 (Revision 6) that contain blue shaded boxes, meaning they are still under review.  The Caravan Industry Association of Australia will continue to consult industry and work closely with the Federal Department as these sections are developed.

The technical content of VSB 1 (Revision 6) may be of benefit to businesses in advance of their transition to RVSA approvals, as an improved summary of ADR requirements.  However, it should be used with care as some of the requirements are specific to RVSA.

VSB 1 and the RVSA

VSS will accept compliance with VSB 1 as evidence of compliance with the ADRs for both type approval and the concessional RAV entry pathways.  However, if VSB 1 (Revision 6) becomes inconsistent with the applicable ADRs, the ADRs will take precedence.

VSB 1 (Revision 6) will leverage the provisions of component type approvals (CTA’s) to avoid trailer manufacturers needing to understand the details of specialised components. Trailer manufacturers will need to understand how to fit the relevant components so that the finished trailer still complies.