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Risk Management

Highway Schemes (NHSS)

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

What are National Highway Sector Schemes (NHSS)?

NHSS are bespoke integrated management schemes which supplement ISO 9001. 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. 

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 organizations are carrying out work on their behalf.

Helps you with

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

Benefits of ISO 9001 Certification

Customer satisfaction

Deliver products that consistently meet customer requirements and a service that is dependable and can be relied on.

Reduced operating costs

Continual improvement of processes and resulting operational efficiencies mean money saved.

Improved stakeholder relationships

Improve the perception of your organization with staff, customers and suppliers.

Legal compliance

Understand how statutory and regulatory requirements impact your organization and its customers.

Improved risk management

Greater consistency and traceability of products and services means problems are easier to avoid and rectify.

Proven business credentials

Independent verification against a globally recognized industry standard speaks volumes.

Ability to win more business

Procurement specifications often require certification as a condition to supply, so certification opens doors.

Initial certification audit (NHSS)

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

Why were these schemes were developed?

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.

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.

What are the specific schemes?

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 document for the Design and/or Supply, Installation and Repair of Fences for Infrastructure Works.

  • Scheme 2B document for the Supply, Installation, Maintenance and Repair of Vehicle Restraint Systems

  • Scheme 2C document for the Design, Supply, Installation and Repair of Environmental Barriers

  • Scheme 5A document for the Manufacture of Parapets for Road Restraint Systems (RRS)

  • Scheme 5B document for the Installation of Parapets for RRS

  • Scheme 6 document for Minor Structures

  • Scheme 7 document for the Application of Road Marking Materials and Road Studs to Road Surfaces

  • Scheme 8 document for the overseeing and/or Installation and/or Maintenance of Highway Electrical equipment and supporting works

  • Scheme 9A document for the Design, Assembly and/or Provision of permanent and temporary road traffic signs
  • Scheme 10B ​Permanent Vehicle Restraint Systems Incorporating NHSS2B & NHSS5B

  • Scheme 12A /12B document for static temporary traffic management on motorways and high speed dual carriageways including on-line widening schemes

  • Scheme 12C document for Mobile Lane Closure Traffic Management on Motorways and other dual carriageways

  • Scheme 12D document for Installing, Maintaining and removing Temporary Traffic Management on rural and urban roads

  • Scheme 13 document for the Supply and Application of surface treatments to road surfaces

  • Scheme 16 document for the Laying of Asphalt Mixes

  • Scheme 17/17B document for Vehicle Recovery at Highway Construction sites (17) and Vehicle Recovery and Removal on Control Roads

  • Scheme 18 document for the Natural Environment and Landscape including Ecology

  • Scheme 19A document for corrosion protection of ferrous materials by industry coatings.



Steps to Certification

  1. Step 1

    Complete a Quote Request Form so that we can understand your company and requirements. You can do this by completing either the online quick quote or the online formal quote request form. We will use this information to accurately define your scope of assessment and provide you with a proposal for certification.

  2. Step 2

    Once you’ve agreed your proposal, we will contact you to book your assessment with an NQA Assessor. This assessment consists of two mandatory visits that form the Initial Certification Audit. Please note that you must be able to demonstrate that your management system has been fully operational for a minimum of three months and has been subject to a management review and full cycle of internal audits.

  3. Step 3

    Following a successful two stage audit, a certification decision is made and if positive, then certification to the required standard is issued by NQA. You will receive both a hard and soft copy of the certificate. Certification is valid for three years and is maintained through a programme of annual surveillance audits and a three yearly recertification audit.

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