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Administered by: Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
General Comments: This notice expires on 15 August 2026.
Published Date 12 Aug 2021

HEAVY VEHICLE NATIONAL LAW

National Heavy Vehicle Standards (Special Purpose Vehicles) Exemption Notice 2021 (No. 1)

1.       Purpose

This Notice exempts certain categories of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) from the requirement to comply with specified requirements of the Heavy Vehicle (Vehicle Standards) National Regulation (the National VS Regulation).

Note:      This notice is not an access authorisation and only provides Vehicle Standards exemptions. It does not authorise access to the road network. To gain access to the road network, a vehicle must comply with a current access authorisation, either under notice or under permit.

                                                                                                             

2.       Authorising Provision

This notice is made under Section 61 of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) in force in each participating jurisdiction.

3.       Commencement

This notice commences on 16 August 2021.

4.       Expiry

This notice expires on 15 August 2026.

5.       Title

This Notice may be cited as the National Heavy Vehicle Standards (Special Purpose Vehicles) Exemption Notice 2021 (No.1).

6.       Application

This Notice applies to eligible vehicles operating in participating jurisdictions to ensure they comply with prescribed dimensions and conditions set out here.

7.       Definitions and interpretation

(1)    Unless otherwise stated, words and expressions used in this Notice have the same meanings as those defined in the HVNL.

 

(2)    In this Notice—

 

Articulated steering crane means a crane which is steered by use of an articulated point located between the front axle and rear axle or axle group and has a boom projecting to the front of the vehicle that functions as a crane.

Eligible vehicle means a SPV, other than a non-road vehicle or trailer (that is not a support dolly) and:

a)      is a SPV other than a prescribed SPV that has up to 7 axles; or

b)      is a prescribed SPV.

Hydro-pneumatic means a suspension system design that uses hydraulic cylinders and a hydraulic circuit connected to an air charged accumulator to provide wheel travel, spring and damping while supporting the mass of the vehicle over single or multiple axle groups.

 

Crane means a heavy motor vehicle that is a SPV:

a)      equipped with a crane or other lifting device; and

b)      designed primarily for raising, moving and lowering a freely suspended load.

 

Non-road vehicle means a heavy motor vehicle that was not designed for use on public roads.

 

Note:       Examples of non-road vehicles include plant-based equipment such as wheel loaders, forklifts, etc.

 

Prescribed SPV means a SPV on which:

a)      at least half of the axles steer;

b)      there are no more than two tyres per axle;

c)       all axles have hydro-pneumatic suspension;

d)      has up to six axles; and

e)      that operates:

                                                         i.            without a support dolly; or

                                                       ii.            with a support dolly that has up to 3 axles.

Rear overhang (ROH) means the distance measured between the rear of the vehicle and the rear overhang line of the vehicle.

 

Rear overhang line means for:

 

a)      an eligible vehicle fitted with an axle group as defined in the HVNL, the rear overhang line is as defined in section 1 of Schedule 6 of the Heavy Vehicle (Mass, Dimension and Loading) National Regulation (National MDL Regulation); or

b)      a prescribed SPV which does not meet the requirements of a), the rear overhang line is measured from the centre of the last two axles to the rear of the vehicle.

 

Register of Approved Vehicles means the register of that name maintained by Commonwealth Government, and as amended from time to time.

Special purpose vehicle (SPV) means a special purpose vehicle as defined in s116 of the HVNL.

 

Support dolly means a dolly which assists in supporting the mass of a prescribed SPV to achieve allowable masses for on road use.

 

Note:  Support dollies assist in supporting the mass of structures such as crane booms.

 

Warning Light means a warning light complying with Division 1 of Part 3 of Schedule 8 of the National VS Regulation

 

(3)    A reference to a clause of an ADR is a reference to the version of the clause applying to the vehicle as a heavy vehicle standard, as amended from time to time.

8.       Exemption - Vehicle Standards (Dimensions)

 

An eligible vehicle operating under this Notice is exempt from complying with the requirements in Schedule 2, Section 34(1) of the Heavy Vehicle (Vehicle Standards) National Regulation, as specified in the conditional dimension requirements set out in Section 9, Section 10, Section 11 and Section 12 of this Notice.

 

9.       Conditions - Vehicle Standards Dimension Requirements

 

(1)    An eligible vehicle of the type set out in Column 2 of Table 1 may be exempt from the requirements of column 3 so far as they apply to the prescribed dimension listed in Column 4, on the condition that the dimension does not exceed the limit specified in Column 5.

Table 1 Conditional Vehicle Standards Dimension Requirements

Column 1

Item no.

Column 2

Vehicle type

Column 3

Relevant section of MDL Regulation Schedule 6

Column 4

Dimension

Column 5

Limit

1

An eligible Vehicle

Section 8

Height

4.6 m

2

An eligible Vehicle

Section 7

Width

3.5 m

3

An eligible Vehicle

Section 3

Length

14.5 m

4

An eligible Vehicle which is a crane

Section 3

Length

16.5 m

5

A prescribed SPV when fitted with a support dolly

Section 3

Length

25 m

6

An eligible Vehicle

(unless covered
 by item 7 or 8)

Section 5(1)(c)

Distance from the rear overhang (ROH) line to the rear of an SPV

Lesser of 4.0 m or 90% of the wheelbase or up to 4.5 m if the vehicle complies with Section 10

7

A prescribed SPV that is a 3-axle crane fitted with an optional 2nd (rear) winch which exceeds 90% RoH

Section 5(1)(c)

Distance from the rear overhang (ROH) line to the rear of an SPV

Up to 4.0 m if the vehicle complies with Section 11

8

A prescribed SPV exceeding 5 axles (including support dolly) and/or greater than 16.5 m in length

Section 5(1)(c)

Distance from the ROH line to the rear of an SPV

4.5 m if the vehicle complies with Section 10

10.   Conditions - Vehicle Standards rear overhang requirements

 

(1)    The distance from the ROH line to the rear of the eligible vehicle may exceed 4.0m and/or 90% without exceeding 4.5m if the following conditions are met:

a)      A low speed swept path is performed in accordance with the PBS Scheme Standards and Vehicle Assessment Rules;

b)      The test is performed by either:

                                             i.            an accredited PBS assessor;

                                           ii.            vehicle manufacturer; or

                                          iii.            an engineer as defined in the National MDL Regulation

c)       The tail swing performance does not exceed 0.30m;

d)      The low speed swept path performance does not exceed 7.40m;

e)      The certificate identifies the vehicle uniquely by describing the base vehicle apparatus (i.e. concrete pump model) and vehicle make and model;

f)       The certificate must contain scaled drawings showing the vehicle dimensions;

g)      Vehicle low speed swept path and tail swing, together with the actual assessment result values and corresponding Level 1 performance; and

h)      The certificate is carried in the vehicle whenever it is travelling under this Notice.

 

11.   Conditions – A Prescribed SPV that is a 3-axle crane fitted with a 2nd (rear) winch exceeding 90% rear overhang requirements

 

(1)    A prescribed SPV that is 3-axle crane fitted with a 2nd winch (rear) is permitted to have a rear overhang up to 4.0 m provided the following conditions are met:

a)      The base vehicle meets the Notice;

b)      A circular track test (doughnut test) is performed in accordance with the approved method;

c)       The test is performed by either:

                                             i.            an accredited PBS assessor;

                                           ii.            vehicle manufacturer; or

                                          iii.            an engineer as defined in the National MDL Regulation.

d)      The 2nd (rear) winch, when fitted, does not increase the tail swing in either direction compared to if the 2nd winch was not fitted; and

e)      The certificate is carried in the vehicle whenever it is travelling under this Notice.

Note:     Details of the approved method for performing a doughnut test are provided for in the Operator’s Guide.

12.   Conditions - Forward projection requirements

 

(1)    Eligible vehicles, excluding cranes, must not have an object projecting greater than 3.5 m in front of a vertical line transecting the centre of the steering wheel.

 

(2)    Eligible vehicles, which are cranes, must not have an object projecting greater than 5.5 m in front of a vertical line transecting the centre of the steering wheel.

13.   Exemption - Schedule 2 Part 4 - Vehicle Configuration

 

An eligible vehicle operating under this notice is exempt from complying with Schedule 2, Part 4, Section 32, Clause 1 - Vehicle Configuration of the National VS Regulation.

 

14.   Condition - Identification requirements

 

(1)    An eligible vehicle must be fitted with either:

a)      an identification plate (compliance plate) or be on the Register of Approved Vehicles, in the case of an SPV built on an ADR complying vehicle, or

b)      a manufacturer’s plate listing the following:

                                             i.            the make of the vehicle;

                                            ii.            the model of the vehicle;

                                          iii.            a vehicle identifier (vehicle identification number or chassis number);

                                          iv.            the gross vehicle mass; and

                                            v.            the date of manufacture.

 

(2)    A support dolly must be fitted with an identification plate or be on the Register of Approved Vehicles.

 

15.   Conditions - Warning lights and markings

 

(1)    A pattern covering an area of at least 0.16 m2 and consisting of diagonal stripes, at least 150 mm wide with alternatively coloured red and white, or black and white, must be marked on the left and right sides and extremity of any rigid projection extending more than 1.2m in front or to the rear of the body of an eligible vehicle.

 

(2)    Eligible vehicles that are cranes with a projection in front of a vertical line transecting the centre of the steering wheel exceeding 3.5m must have:

a)      side marker lights on both sides of the projection, as far forward as possible. The side marker lights must be shielded from the driver’s view, but be visible to other motorists approaching from the front and sides of the vehicle, and

b)      a yellow rotating warning light attached to the projection, as far forward as possible, that is shielded from the driver’s view.

(3)    a warning light must be attached to the vehicle if it is wider than 2.5m.

(4)    a prescribed SPV operating with a support dolly (boom rearwards) must also have yellow rotating warning lights fitted either side of the crane’s winch, forward facing, that project toward oncoming traffic and additional flags at each rear corner of the SPV motor vehicle.

 

16.   Conditions - Driver visibility requirements

 

(1)    An eligible vehicle must be designed to allow the driver in the normal driving position a view of the road, pedestrians, and traffic to the front and sides of the vehicle, so the vehicle can be driven safely.

(2)    Any equipment fitted to an eligible vehicle must allow the driver in the normal driving position, a view of the road, pedestrians, and traffic to the front and sides of the vehicle, so the vehicle can be driven safely.

(3)    Where the driver of an eligible vehicle would not have an adequate view to the rear or either side due to a minor obstruction, it must be fitted with mirrors or an indirect vision device (such as a camera) that counteracts the visual obstruction and provides an adequate view of the road, pedestrians, and traffic as intended by ADR 14/02.

 

17.   Conditions – General requirements

 

(1)    An eligible vehicle must be designed and operated with the smallest practicable dimensions.

(2)    Any equipment fitted to an eligible vehicle must not obstruct lights, warning signs, or flags.

 

 

Don Hogben

Chief Regulatory and Policy Standards Officer

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator