FAQs

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where a specification refers to a statutory requirement is there guidance on this?

TOPAS recognises that BS/EN, Elexon and other requirements can be changed.  Whilst TOPAS makes every effort to keep these up-to-date in our specifications, the onus is on the manufacturer to ensure that they comply with the latest regulations specified under any BS/EN or other statutory requirement, regardless of whether they are listed in TOPAS specifications.  You are advised to refer to the TSGRD 2016 and other statutory resources for further guidance on these matters.  

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/traffic-signs-regulations-and-general-directions-2016-an-overview

 

Compliance to statutory regulations manufacture and use of VMS

Requireents for variable message signs are prescribed in the Traffic Signs Rgulations And General Directions 2016.  Schedule 16 states that a discontinuous variable message sign must meet the relevant performance classes from BS EN 12966:2014 as set out in part 7.  This refers to clases 'B1 or B3' as being the permitted classes for beam width.

Manfacturers have a responsiblity to ensure their products offered for sale meet the relevant legislation.

VMS may only be used to display traffic signs as defined in the Road Traffic Regulation Act.  All messages must be displayed on a single sign aspect.  It is unlawful to display messages that require the use of multiple displays ("paging") or scrolling text.

TSRGD Schedule 17 includes the permitted alphabet for VMS in part 5 - shown as all CAPS, similarly in Schedule 16.  This means that they must be displayed as such.  

Regulation 5  states that letters and numerals be in the proportions shown in the relevant schedul.  In addition letter height is governed by the required x-height for the speed of the road.

VMS not confirming to TSRGD or displaying messages not defined in the Road Traffic Regulation Act may be deemed to be unlawful.  It is for local authorities and other users to ensure any VMS they place on their roads coply with all legislation.

Placing an unlawful VMS on a public road may expose the local authority to litigation in the event of an incident.

 

 
Who can register products with TOPAS?
 
TOPAS will consider applications for product registration by third parties other than the manufacturer, provided that the applicant has the permission of the original equipment manufacturer/design authority to submit such an application, or a degree of ownership of the design to fulfil the manufacturer's role, and is also able to supply the necessary technical file and documentation for such registration.
 
Can I use the TOPAS logo once my product is registered?
Manufacturers who have registered a product with TOPAS may request a "TOPAS registered product" logo from enquiries@topasgroup.org.uk .  Guidelines for use of our logo can be found here
 
 
What do I receive upon Registration?
Once Registration is completed you will receive a Certificate of Registration.  This document will serve as your proof of satisfactory compliance with the specfication and version and you will need this document to show to your customers as part of the procurement process.
 
 
How does a technical assessor get approved by TOPAS?
A body may apply to TOPAS to be an approved Technical Assessor.  Such body will need to show that they have sufficient and demonstrable experience, knowledge and expertise in electronics, optical and traffic technologies within the traffic control sector.
Technical Assessors will need to be fully independent of any applicant with whom it works, and be able to provide independent test or audit facilities.  Any body may apply to become TOPAS approved for this purpose and there is no charge for this.    TOPAS welcomes bodies who have UKAS accreditation but will consider those with substantial experience and expertise.  We are hopeful that manufacturers' current external assessors will look to provide this service in addition to those already required by manufacturers.  
Technical Assessors do not enter into a contract with TOPAS, all agreements are carried out independently between applicants and Assessors throughout the TOPAS process to registration. Please direct any enquiries to enquiries@topasgroup.org.uk 
 
Trial Approvals and Developing new specifications
 
Anyone developing new equipment within the traffic control sector should refer to TOPAS 0600 and TOPAS 0601A for guidance and information.  Where a manufacturer believes their new or innovative product  does not appear to fit an existing specification, they may wish to contact TOPAS  for further guidance.  In the event that the Board considers the product will not be covered,  the manufacturer is invited to subject a new specification draft in accordance with TOPAS 0601A for this purpose.  Please note, the process under TOPAS 0601A is intended to run in parallel with the trials assessment process described in TOPAS 0600.
 
What is an independent Technical Assessor?
 
An independent third party body competent to assess the Technical File to ensure that it provides adquate evidence that the product has been designed and tested to meet a relevant TOPAS procurement specification.  This may be a European Notified Body as defined in Clause 2.6 of TOPAS 0600 or another body recognised by TOPAS as competent to undertake the assessment.
 
 
When should manufacturers consider registration process?

TOPAS has been established to coordinate the management and development of technical specifications for traffic control equipment, and to offer a straightforward means of customers verifying manufacturers’ compliance with the associated product testing through a registrations system.  Whilst TOPAS registration is not mandatory  it is recommended, with increasing numbers of purchasing specfications from Local Authorities and other organisations requiring tihs.   The TOPAS website provides the most up-to-date register for the purchasing authorities to use in the procurement of products.

 

Can I rely on TOPAS registration to guarantee equipment performance as I did with Type Approval?

TOPAS registration is only intended to provide assurance that manufacturers products have undergone sufficient internal testing against the relevant equipment specifications, with third party independent verification of test certificates (by nominated bodies like BSI). TOPAS registration is based on manufacturers self-certification in the same way as Type Approval, but potentially provides a more robust assurance as, unlike Type Approval, TOPAS registration requires independent verification of internal testing.  It is important to remember that neither TOPAS registration or Type Approval guarantee that equipment is defect free, and purchasers should undertake such factory and site testing as they consider necessary to ensure products work as required for the specific installation. Purchasers should also ensure products are used only for their intended function.

 

Can I complain to TOPAS Ltd if a TOPAS registered product doesn’t work?

TOPAS Ltd has been established with the aim of continuing the benefit of national agreement of equipment specifications, supported by an approvals system, so that purchasers can buy equipment with confidence that it complies with the relevant technical specification. TOPAS registration may be withdrawn if testing is considered unreliable, but purchasers should deal with the individual manufacturer over complaints that a product supplied by that manufacturer does not work. Where a product is intended to be used in an innovative way, purchasers are advised to check with the manufacturer before purchasing equipment that it will operate in the intended way, particularly where there may be installation interface requirements.

 

Do I have to use TOPAS registered products on UK public roads?

No. TOPAS does not cover all equipment installed on public roads, but only equipment manufactured to a limited number of technical specifications relating to traffic control and associated equipment [see list of specifications for details]. Additionally, TOPAS registration by manufacturers is voluntary and a manufacturer may offer a product to a particular technical specification within the TOPAS range without registering that product. Purchasers considering purchasing such equipment are advised to assure themselves that sufficient testing has been undertaken. The removal of the need for Type Approval by the Secretary of State means that purchasers have more freedom over the equipment they install provided that it conforms with the Traffic Sign Regulations and General Directions. Purchasers considering using such equipment are advised to satisfy themselves that it is fit for the purpose and that it will not adversely affect the operation of connected equipment.

 

How will product registrations be affected when TOPAS specifications are up-issued?

When a specification is up-issued, existing product registrations remain in place registered under the assigned specification version.  However,  buyers may require products registered to the latest specification and therefore manufacturers may wish to consider re-registratration for this purpose.  Because of the registration fees and other costs involved, TOPAS will only up-issue a specification in the event of a significant change in policy or technology.  Please refer to the TOPAS Registration Process TOPAS 0600, Section 4.15 - 4.18.

 

Can I register Arrow Signs with TOPAS?

TOPAS currently does not cover registrations for Arrow Signs but would advise manufacturers that should they wish to use arrow signs on networks other than HE then they must have DfT authority to do so.   click here for TAL1/03 (Vehicle Activiated Signs)   

 

Is TOPAS the only requirement for my product?

Manufacturers MUST ensure their product conforms with all requirements necessary, not just those required by TOPAS.

 

Do I need to be registered with ISO 9001?

Manufacturers need to demonstrate that products put forward for TOPAS registration have been designed and tested within an effective quality management system.  Offering evidence of a certified ISO 9001 is one way of achieving this.  For non-UK manufacturers, certification from a national certification body is also accepted.  Where an organisation has an effective QMS but which is not formally certified, this will also be accepted by TOPAS, provided evidence of its existence and effectiveness is provided to the Technical Assessor as part of the Registration process, in lieu of formal certification.  Any registration request without evidence of QMS would need to be reviewed by the Board.

 

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