National Highways Sectors Schemes | NQA

National Highways Sectors Schemes are bolt on schemes to ISO 9001.

Helps you with

Highways Agency contractual requirements, Specification for Highways Works (SHW), Process Control, Quality Control, Risk Management, Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Operational Efficiency 


NHSS are bespoke integrated management schemes which supplement ISO 9001:2008. The schemes were developed in partnership with key stakeholders of the highways industry to interpret ISO 9001 and its specific application to highways maintenance activities.

They are designed to:
  • Provide industry benchmarks
  • Ensure that all processes are planned
  • Provide a basis for continuous improvement
  • Focus on quality as an objective
  • Reduce overall costs for the client and supplier
  • Provide and maintain a properly trained and competent workforce
  • Involve all sides of the industry in scheme ownership within a partnership framework
  • Ensure that Certification Bodies use auditors with technical knowledge and experience of the sector concerned
  • Promote confidence in quality management systems by provision of a robust, transparent system.

The schemes provide the Highways Agency and local authorities responsible for the operation and maintenance of the road infrastructure in the UK with an assurance that only competent organisations are carrying out work on their behalf.

The bodies responsible for the road system include local authorities in the case of ‘local’ roads and the Highways Agency in the case of major trunk roads and motorways. They have a statutory duty to maintain the road system.


National Highway Sector Schemes are relevant to any contractors working under contract with the Highways Agency.

We provide certification for the following Schemes:

  • Scheme 2A Sector Scheme document for the Design and/or Supply, Installation and Repair of Fences for Infrastructure Works.
  • Scheme 2B Sector Scheme document for the Supply, Installation, Maintenance and Repair of Vehicle Restraint Systems
  • Scheme 2C Sector Scheme document for the Design, Supply, Installation and Repair of Environmental Barriers
  • Scheme 5A Sector Scheme document for the Manufacture of Parapets for Road Restraint Systems
  • Scheme 5B Sector Scheme document for the Installation of Parapets for Road Restraint Systems
  • Scheme 6 Sector Scheme document for Minor Structures
  • Scheme 7 Sector Scheme document for the Application of Road Marking Materials and Road Studs to Road Surfaces
  • Scheme 8 The overseeing and/or Installation and/or Maintenance of Highway Electrical equipment and supporting works
  • Scheme 9A Sector Scheme for the Design, Assembly and/or Provision of permanent and temporary road traffic signs
  • Scheme 12A /12B Sector Scheme document for static temporary traffic management on motorways and high speed dual carriageways including on-line widening schemes
  • Scheme 12C Sector Scheme document for Mobile Lane Closure Traffic Management on Motorways and other dual carriageways
  • Scheme 12D Sector Scheme document for Installing, Maintaining and removing Temporary Traffic Management on rural and urban roads
  • Scheme 13 Sector Scheme document for the Supply and Application of surface treatments to road surfaces
  • Scheme 14 for the Quality Management of the production of Asphalt Mixes
  • Scheme 15 Sector Scheme document for the Supply of Paving Bitumens
  • Scheme 16 Sector Scheme document for the Laying of Asphalt Mixes
  • Scheme 17/17B Sector Scheme document for Vehicle Recovery at Highway Construction sites (17) and Vehicle Recovery and Removal on Control Roads
  • Scheme 18 Sector Scheme document for the Natural Environment and Landscape including Ecology
  • Scheme 19A Sector Scheme document for corrosion protection of ferrous materials by industry coatings


  • Ability to win more business - particularly where procurement specifications require certification as a condition to supply. The Schemes are included in the procurement process referenced in the Specification for Highway Works (SHW). For Highways Agency contracts their use is a mandatory requirement of SHW.
  • Customer satisfaction - through service delivery that consistently meet customer requirements
  • Reduced operating costs - through continual improvement of processes and resulting operational efficiencies
  • Improved stakeholder relationships - including staff, customers and suppliers
  • Legal compliance - by understanding how statutory and regulatory requirements impact the organization and its customers
  • Improved risk management - through greater consistency and traceability of products and services
  • Proven business credentials - through independent verification against recognized standards


We provide certification to NHSS as an extension to scope of an existing ISO 9001 registration. The process of registration follows three steps:

  • Application for registration is made by completing the ISO 9001 quote request form
  • Assessment to ISO 9001 and relevant NHSS is undertaken by NQA - the organisation must be able to demonstrate that its quality management system has been fully operative for a minimum of three months and has been subject of a full cycle of internal audits
  • Certification is issued by NQA and maintained by the organisation
  • Maintenance is confirmed through a programme of annual surveillance visits and a three yearly re-certification audit.

Initial Certification Audit

Stage 1 - The purpose of this visit is to confirm the readiness of the organisation for full assessment. Your assessor will:

  • confirm that the quality manual conforms to the requirements of ISO 9001 and relevant NHSS
  • confirm its implementation status
  • confirm the scope of certification
  • check legislative compliance
  • produce a report that identifies any non-compliance or potential for non-compliance and agree a corrective action plan if required
  • produce an assessment plan and confirm a date for the Stage 2 assessment visit.

Stage 2 - The purpose of this visit is to confirm that the quality management system fully conforms to the requirements of ISO 9001 and NHSS in practice. Your assessor will:

  • undertake sample audits of the processes and activities defined in the scope of assessment
  • document how the system complies with the standard
  • report any non-compliances or potential for non-compliance
  • produce a visit plan for the first surveillance visit
Please note that if any major non-compliance is identified, the organisation cannot be certified until corrective action is taken and verified.


We can advise you on how to achieve certification, related training, useful resources and finding a reputable consultant.

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