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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