Business Franchise Australia


What Is The PBS Review Panel?

Have you ever seen those gigantic freighters carrying a ton of products? Did you know that they’re actually part of something called the performance-based standard (PBS) scheme? This is what actually allows them to be so big and can carry so much.


Keen to hear more about PBS and who oversees it? Fantastic! You came to the right place! In this article, we’ll cover what the PBS is, the rules heavy vehicle drivers have to abide by, and who sets those rules.

What is the Performance-Based Standard?

The Performance-Based Standard (PBS) is an Australian-designed scheme that regulates how heavy-duty vehicles operate on public roads. It’s been so effective that even other countries have adopted the concept and applied it to their heavy-duty vehicle industries.


Introduced to Australia in 2007, the PBS provided a set of regulations for heavy vehicle owners to follow. The regulations aimed to reduce the number of vehicles travelling on the road by optimising the capacity at which trucks can be loaded.


Here’s an example. If you have a small 1-ton truck but need two tons of packages delivered, the PBS would ensure that you have a bigger truck, thus reducing the amount of travel needed and saving on fuel, road maintenance and other issues.


For vehicles to become a part of the PBS framework, they’d need to meet the expected requirements first and undergo an assessment done by the PRP. If you want to know more about how to get your fleet PBS approved, contact companies like BTT Engineering, who can assist you in designing and obtaining your vehicles ready for approval.

How does it work?

So, how exactly does the PBS work? In the simplest sense, The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator established the PBS as a framework to efficiently run the heavy-duty transportation industry in Australia. Run by the NHVR, they select and operate a panel of individuals who are responsible for determining whether or not a vehicle meets the PBS standards set by the Transport and Infrastructure Council.


The PBS Review Panel (PRP) usually consists of 11 individuals which includes one person from the Commonwealth and each respective territory or stare. It’s led by an independent deputy chairperson and is regulated by a set of business rules, vehicle assessment rules, and performance standards to ensure they operate in a transparent way.

What are the rules regarding Performance-Based Standards?

Off the hip, it’s helpful to know some of the basic rules surrounding PBS. Knowing them could help your approval process move faster and ensure you avoid any snags that may come up during the process. The NHVR has provided us with a rather exhaustive list of rules and specifications to follow; here are some of them:

Standards and vehicle assessment rules

These rules refer to the basic standards that a PBS-approved vehicle needs to meet. It would include infrastructure effects, braking requirements, and other important aspects of a vehicle. These are just a few examples of them; the rest can be found on the PBS Guidelines and Rules site:


  • The pavement vertical loading standard limits axle group loads to reduce road pavement stress. Drivers must adhere to axle mass limits, facing restrictions if their vehicles could cause excessive wear on the pavements
  • The horizontal loading standard controls braking, turning, and acceleration forces until a performance-based standard is developed
  • The tyre contact pressure distribution standard sets minimum tyre widths to reduce wear and tear on the pavement
  • Bridge loading classifies vehicles based on their effects on bridges, with access levels varying
  • Start ability ensures vehicles can start on specified upgrades safely, with performance requirements based on road classes

Assessor accreditation rules

Yes, there are rules for the assessors as well. Before an individual is allowed to a vehicle under the PBS scheme, they need to be approved as an assessor, meaning they have to meet all the requirements and know all the rules set in the rule book above.

Vehicle certification rules

Before a vehicle is certified to be designed, it needs to pass a variety of certification checks. This document largely explains how the certification process works, the state of the vehicle and design, and what vehicles aren’t eligible for certification.

Network Certification

The network certification is also pretty robust. This set of rules classes vehicles into four levels of the road network. Each level vehicle will have a set of roads on the network that they can access, and the higher the level, the more severe the certification will be. For instance, a level two vehicle would need to be assessed according to how stable it is, how much space it takes on the road, and its turning capabilities. It would also be able to access levels three and four roads, but it wouldn’t be allowed on level one roads.

Final Thoughts

The PBS has made such an impact on road infrastructure and the transportation industry in Australia that other countries are implementing it as we speak. From being able to transport larger quantities to reducing the amount of trucks on the road, the PBS is one step in the right direction for effective transportation using heavy vehicles.