Performance-Based Standards (PBS)

What is PBS?

Performance-Based Standards (PBS) offers an alternative regulatory system which allows heavy vehicle combinations to achieve higher productivity and safety through innovative and optimised vehicle designs.

As stated by the National Heavy Vehicle Register (NHVR), “PBS approved vehicles are designed to perform their tasks as productively, safely and sustainably as possible, and to operate on networks that are appropriate for their level of performance. The basic principle of PBS is matching the right vehicles to the right tasks”.

Under PBS vehicles are assessed according to 16 minimum vehicle performance standards to ensure they are stable on the road and can turn and stop safely. Additionally, there are four infrastructure protection standards.

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Some of the benefits offered by PBS

  • Increased gross combination mass
  • Increased cubic capacity
  • Improved productivity and freight efficiency
  • Innovative and optimized vehicle designs for specific applications
  • More flexible combination and vehicle design rules
  • Improved safety
  • More sustainable transportation task


Advantages of PBS

  • Flexible design rules
  • Design based on a set route decided by the transport operator and approved by road authorities along the route
  • Design based on making the truck and trailer combination perform safely on that route while carrying larger payloads
  • Design considers things like acceleration, braking, roll stability, tail swing, cornering
  • Truck and Trailer(s) combination are approved as a set


Process of ordering a PBS vehicle

  • Consult with your MaxiTRANS trailer partner to discuss what you wish to achieve
  • Specify product, route and designated prime mover
  • Work with your MaxiTRANS partner to create a preliminary concept
  • MaxiTRANS Engineering will provide you with a concept drawing
  • Using this concept drawing, the operator then approaches the relevant road authorities to seek ‘in principal’ approval, before formal applications commence
  • The MaxiTRANS partner will quote you the trailer(s) and the cost of obtaining PBS approval
  • Order the trailer(s)
  • MaxiTRANS designs and builds the PBS trailer(s), liaising with NHVR for approvals
  • MaxiTRANS arranges for inspection and certification of the completed prime mover & trailer combination by PBS assessor


Important things to consider when ordering PBS

  • PBS approvals are for the entire combination - including prime mover, trailers, tyres amongst other things. If any of these are to be replaced during the life of the combination, they must be replaced with the exact same brand, specification and model or a new application must be completed
  • Some PBS approvals are for a specific route only, while others may be for certain road types, thus allowing wider usage. This usually depends on the type of PBS units proposed
  • Consider the working life of the trailers – if you are considering selling them at the end of their life, they must continue to be used with the PBS-specified prime mover on the PBS specified route(s)
  • It is possible to include more than one truck or tyre make and model in one PBS application – giving the operator more flexibility in the service life of the trailer.


Since Performance Based Standards were introduced in Oct 2007, there has been over 16,000 separate PBS registered vehicles.

MaxiTRANS continues to be the single biggest producer of PBS approved combinations for our customers.

So don’t hesitate to contact us and see how our in-house PBS experts can help you.

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