Fleet setting standards

Setting standards


1.1  The central issue to the achievement of best practice must be the formulation of appropriate ‘Inspection Standards’.  The standards recommended herein are intended to continue throughout the service life of a vehicle.  For Fire Appliances, the basis of the Inspection Standards is the CFOA Heavy Goods Vehicle Inspection Manual*.  That manual is an enhanced version of the Vehicle Inspectorate ‘Heavy Goods Vehicle Inspection Manual.

*Important notice (June 2022) The Heavy Goods Vehicle Inspection manual will be shortly undergoing a review by the NFCC Transport Officers Group and as such, is currently unavailable to download from our website. Please contact Peter Warner if you have any queries in relation to this. 

1.2 Compared with the commercial use of similar chassis, a Fire Appliance will have higher load carrying utilisation rates by virtue of being loaded for the majority of its service life; it is also subjected to the rigors of operating in this laden condition as an emergency response vehicle.  In order to minimise the risk of component failure and to ensure the vehicle is maintained to a high standard, Services may wish replace vehicle components at a higher frequency than manufacturers recommend, based on service knowledge, experience and life expectation rather than at critical failure.

1.3 To reflect the demands such use places upon a vehicle, it has been necessary to further extend the scope of the V.I. Manual by the addition of inspection tasks and enhancing standards specific to Fire Service vehicles.  Such additions also take account of specialist design features, auxiliary systems     and components and the equipment manufacturers recommendations for servicing and maintaining the specialist equipment fitted to a particular vehicle.

Examples of additions or enhanced standards range from specifying the performance of door locks on crew cabs, to the replacement of brake shoes or pads and the performance of braking systems.

1.4 In common with the Department of Transport annual test, it is recommended that the performance of Fire Appliance braking systems should be analysed on a roller brake tester:

1.4.1 There is no direct corollary between the former Joint Council for the Design and Development of appliances (JCDD) braking performance and ‘roller brake’ tests.  The former is a highly practical dynamic test which, measuring stopping distance from speed, requires both highly effective retardation and minimum delay in the operation of the braking system.  The ‘roller brake tester’ primarily tests the mechanical efficiency of the foundation brake at each wheel.  Modern ‘roller brake testers’ incorporate a wider range of test facilities which records actuation delay times, and variations across axles.

1.4.2 The use of roller brake testers will assist in establishing an appropriate single method of measure for both the legacy and current braking standards.

It is suggested that brake performance can be assessed by a combination analysis of a roller brake tester and or road tests utilising appropriate alternative equipment which permits the testing of brake performance without the need to take the vehicle to a main workshop (Note, Section 3 Paragraph 3.3.2).  It is expected that the retardation effort will be in excess of the minimum stipulated in the V.I. Manual for the maximum design weight of the chassis.

National Standards

1.5 The  Heavy Goods Vehicle Inspection Manual is comprehensive.  Each Service will have items to add to the section on ancillary equipment and systems, as well as any tests on operational equipment, which workshop staff will undertake.

The Heavy Goods Vehicle Inspection Manual is based on the latest edition of the Vehicle Inspectorate ‘Heavy Goods Vehicle Inspection Manual’.

Maintenance Standards

2.1 The following recommendations for Fire Appliance maintenance relate to the repair of vehicle defects and Pre Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPPM).

2.2 The recommendations do not include the repair of accident damage or vehicle modification (e.g. bollarding, refurbishment), which should be subject to specific budgetary allocation, so to avoid artificially inflating the basic cost of PPPM.

2.3 The majority of the work undertaken on Fire Appliance vehicles will be PPPM which will form the core of any contract specification and or Service Level Agreement.

2.4 Vehicle defects may occur as the result of a number of reasons.  These may include poor vehicle specification, poor maintenance standard, vehicle replacement policy and the way in which the vehicle is operated.  It is important that all defects are investigated, recorded and monitored in order to identify trends and solutions.

2.5 The number of defects is likely to reduce with a correctly scheduled inspection programme aimed at extending service life by strict inspection standards from which the maintenance needs and programme should be determined.

Pre-planned preventative maintenance

3.1 Pre-Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPPM) is considered to be essential in maintaining the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of the fleet.

3.2 An integral part of successful PPPM is the monitoring of all defects and performance in relation to the vehicle inspection and maintenance programme.  The output of effective monitoring will be to adjust the frequency and scope of the maintenance schedule.

3.3 An inspection and servicing programme for operational vehicles is likely to include:

3.3.1 Safety and fitness inspections should be completed within one week of the due date (which may include an element of service) at a maximum of 16 week intervals.  When required, this should include brake performance testing using mobile equipment.

3.3.2 Rolling brake performance analysis and smoke emission tests at a maximum of twelve month intervals.

3.4 The twelve month inspection should be considered as a similar status to the Vehicle Inspectorate Annual Examination.  To ensure roadworthiness, safety inspections/ checks should include vehicle underside checks.

3.5 An example of a suitable PPPM schedule for operational Fire Service vehicles is shown at the appendix.

The content and frequency optimum for vehicle inspections should generally reflect the arrangements outlined in the appendix.  However, these may be adjusted should the particular topography of the station ground be likely to cause high wear and tear on essential safety components.  Conversely if a vehicle has low/high frequencies, these can be adjusted accordingly to suit operational requirements.

Variations of the schedule in the appendix to a different category should be justified objectively by analysis of a comprehensive management information system which records the results of inspections and maintenance and defects.

3.6 The essential aim, in recognition of the use of vehicle as detailed in paragraph 1.3, is to achieve the standards specified in the appendix of the CFOA Heavy Goods Vehicle Inspection Manual at all times during the operational life of the vehicle.  Maintenance staff should therefore use professional judgement with regards to the need to replace worn parts.  This may result in the content of the service varying for each vehicle.

Management Information

4.1 It is recommended that Fire & Rescue Services maintain a robust fleet management system to accurately record fleet and asset management data.

4.2 ‘Ownership’ of information varies between the client and contractor but in both cases, the production of accurate records depends upon good data collection by the users and by workshop staff.  Subsequently, the management information produced will need to have careful and structured analysis.  Such tasks will be aided by the utilisation of good IT fleet management systems and properly skilled and trained staff.

4.3 It is recommended that management information relating to the vehicle fleet should include:

4.3.1 A vehicle fleet list – showing current allocation and a ‘birth certificate’ in sufficient detail to differentiate between component variations in the same model range.

4.3.2 A dynamic age profile, with a capability to forecast the future profile based on assumptions about purchases and replacements.

4.3.3 An Inspection and Service Schedule and list of other outstanding non- scheduled work identified for each vehicle.

4.3.4 A record of defects by type of defect and by vehicle, compiled in such a manner as to be able to determine detailed analysis of work undertaken.

4.3.5 A record of downtime due to: defects

  • by category of defects
  • inspections
  • planned preventative maintenance
  • accident damage
  • refurbishment
  • modification
  • delivery
  • collection and
  • change-over of appliances

Downtime in workshops must separate waiting time from the total.

4.3.6 All recorded work tasks should be recorded using Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS) or similar.

4.3.7 Utilisation records of reserve appliances, driver training vehicles and ancillary transport.

4.3.8 Fuel accounts.

4.3.9 Grey fleet information that meets both statutory requirements and those of the individual Fire & Rescue Authorities.

4.3.10 Costs:

  • Parts; routine replacement components; defect replacement parts; damage repair parts and materials.
  • Personnel; individuals by function and grade; and applied hours by technicians.
  • Capital Assets Register recharges; buildings and grounds; plant and equipment.
  • Premises; fuel, heat and light.
  • Consumables associated with the welfare of staff and daily maintenance/cleaning of workshops.
  • Consumables associated with repair and maintenance of vehicles charged to vehicles direct, or charged to overheads.
  • Repairs to premises, plant and equipment.
  • Transport costs (i.e. for workshops own vehicles).
  • Insurance, licences and central department charges, e.g. IT, Payroll etc.
  • Post maintenance satisfaction surveys and/or complaints procedure.
  • Specialist environmental waste management costs.
  • Staff training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
  • Facility maintenance, buildings, tools, diagnostic equipment, etc

4.4 At varying intervals, the following management information must be available:

  • Availability reports for operational Fire Appliances and utilisation reports for reserve vehicles, driver training and ancillary vehicles.
  • Compliance to inspection and service schedules.
  • Workshop utilisation and waiting time rates.
  • Comparisons of budget cost and actual costs.
  • Periodic defect and maintenance analysis by vehicle category including, hours and costs, parts and costs, downtime.
  • Life to date repair history and service costs for each vehicle (from which graphs, plotting costs against age, and downtime against age, may be produced)
  • Exception reports which identify vehicles experiencing downtime and/or costs outside of agreed criteria.
  • Accident analysis, costs, causes and trends.
  • Fuel consumption by vehicle and analysis of performance particularly for high mileage vehicles.
  • Quality standards in terms of satisfaction, dissatisfaction or rejection.