Avoiding Overloading

Avoiding Overloading

In recent years, many movers have decreased their vehicle sizes in favour of 3.5T vans. This trend, (originally due to HGV driver shortages) is likely to increase with the introduction of more Low Emission Zones throughout the UK.

A standard 3.5T van only has a payload of 1100kg. With the introduction of electric vans, (which have a greater unladen weight) this will decrease, effectively reducing the amount that can be carried. Allowing alternatively-fuelled vehicles up to a maximum authorised weight of 4,250kg to be driven on a category B driving licence would be a step forward, (See Alternatively Fuelled Vans) but that’s a side issue that doesn’t address the immediate problem.

A 3.5T van, when fully loaded with household goods is at high risk of being over its Gross Vehicle Weight. In 2013/14, of the 3031 weight checks carried out on LGVs, there were 2543 prohibitions issued, a rate of 83.9%. Of course, most of the vehicles were probably only checked because they were visibly overloaded.

In removals, the responsibility to ensure the van doesn’t exceed gross weight falls on the driver, but the problem is usually caused earlier in the contract process.

As AIM has pointed out in the past, the surveyor needs to pay as much attention to load weight as they do to volume (see Considering Weight When Quoting). Any surveyor can spot if the customer’s furniture is likely to be heavy, or if they have a large book collection, but it takes a little more skill to determine the combined weight of the house contents.

However, if by paying extra attention to weight, the surveyor can significantly reduce the risk of overloading, those few extra minutes could be vital to the removals business’s survival.

If a van is stopped and found to be exceeding its gross weight, the DVSA does not ignore the fact simply because “the office sent the wrong van” or “the customer had to be out by 2pm”. There will be fines and maybe even prosecution for the driver and the company.




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The Movers and Storers Show 2018 will be on the 21st and 22nd November at Event City, Manchester. Register for your FREE tickets, so you can come and speak to us and the many other exhibitors.

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The Association Of Independent Movers
Unit 4, Skills Centre,
Twickenham Trading Estate,
Rugby Road,
Phone:0208 892 0369


COVID-19 Statement

Although there is no rule to prevent them from doing so, not all removals businesses are working during the Coronavirus measures advised by the Government.

Those that are working have been provided with clear guidelines by the Government and supported by AIM, with safe working procedures, specific documents and frequent information updates.

Removals firms

Removal firms are able to operate and should follow the latest government guidance on safer working. Where moves are carried out, social distancing should be followed.
Companies should ensure employees understand how to operate safely and communicate this to customers.

  • Removers should contact the household in advance to check that no member of the household is showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating. If they are, works should be delayed.
  • They should also encourage households to ensure all internal doors are open and surfaces and possessions have been cleaned with household cleaning products prior to them entering the property.
  • No work should be carried out by a person who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
  • Removers should wash their hands on entering the property using separate towels of paper towels which need to be washed or disposed of safely after use.
  • Removers should seek to minimise contact with homeowners and remain 2 metres apart from householders at all times.
  • Removers should implement a buddy system and ensure that the same people work together when moving bulky items and furniture.
  • Removers should bring their own refreshments but you should ensure they have access to hand washing facilities, using separate towels or paper towels if possible,
    which should be washed or disposed of safely afterwards.