John Brett

John is a professional engineer with 50 years experience.

John has designed and built many cars, trucks, and vehicle assembly facilities.

John has worked on design of roads, bridges, cranes, transmission towers, and buildings, and operation, maintenance and upgrade of hydro and gas turbine power stations.

John was a LVV Certifier for 13 years. John has long been a whistle-blower, expressing the view that the LVV system is dangerously deficient. John’s authority was revoked in December 2012.

John rides a 1992 Yamaha FJ1200ABS, and is also a keen road and off road cyclist.


“The LVVTA has brought it to my attention that statements I have made in relation to it and its employees may have been perceived as defamatory.

I sincerely regret that and apologise for any harm caused. I have taken down the statements identified by the LVVTA of concern to it.

I have strong views about the low volume vehicle certification process and intend in the future to direct my energies into the public inquiry now being held in relation to it.”

John Brett 7th October 2015


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Seats and Seatbelts in a Van

Fitting seats and seatbelts to a van requires design to meet the loading requirements in a frontal collision.

Van seatbelts - view from side

Van seatbelts - view from side

The LVV Standards for seats and for seatbelt anchorages set out the different ways of meeting these requirements.

In the Hiace shown, some second-hand seats were to be fitted, these had the seatbelt anchorages in the seat frames, making them “Stressed Seats”. This is much neater than having all the seatbelts going to the floor, however it means that the seat has to be strong enough to take the seatbelt loads.

Van seatbelts  - view from rear

Van seatbelts - view from rear

A quick stress calculation showed that the back beams were not strong enough, and had to be strengthened by adding a 50 x 25 box beam to the original 50 x 50 box beam to make a 50 x 75 box beam.

The mounting system is the “Over-floor mounting bar” system, as in the LVV Standard.

Also visible are headrest mounts on the rear seat back, because of the closeness of the rear window.

Installation by owners Eastern Rentals 66 TeRakau Drive 09 577 0128
Design calculations and LVV Certifification by John Brett Technology Ltd. 0800 LOW VOLUME (0800 569865)

The LVV Standards are here- Seats and seat anchorages [692kB PDF] and here Seatbelts [1024kB PDF]

Rear facing seats have to restrain occupants from frontal impact. This means that the seat backs have to be far stronger than normal, or a supporting structure provided.
This is a matter which is often overlooked by some commercial modifiers.

The requirements from ADR VSb 5B are:
Appendix B
Rear-Facing Seat Strength

Rear-facing seats and their anchorages must comply with the requirements of the latest edition of ADR 3/…
In addition, a rear-facing seat should withstand, without imposing any load on any other seat in the vehicle, a load equivalent to twenty times the weight of the seat and its occupants applied in the forward direction relative to the vehicle. Seats intended to accommodate more than one occupant should withstand the loads applied by all occupants simultaneously. This requirement should be demonstrated with the occupant load uniformly distributed over the backrest and head restraint of the seat.
The occupant mass to be used to determine the test loads for each category of seat must be:
Category 1 – 68 kgs
Category 2 – 38 kgs
Category 3 – 26 kgs.

Reasearch link:-
– 8:15am
File Format: Microsoft Word – View as HTML
Rear-Facing Seat Strength. Rear-facing seats and their anchorages must comply with the requirements of the latest edition of ADR 3/. ……/bulletin/…/vsb_05_b.doc

195 comments to Seats and Seatbelts in a Van

  • I think I will try to recommend this post to my friends and family, cuz it’s really helpful.

  • Sam McPherson

    im wondering about folding seats in vans though, how do they avoid the need for cert? not all seem to have seat belts too


  • johnbrett

    Hi Sam
    Vans do not need seatbelts for a rear seat, if they were built before March 2002.
    Also, if there are MORE than 9 seats, and the vehicle is pre March 2002, the rear seats do’t need seatbelts!
    Lots of owners decide to fit seatbelts to these vans, and this is done under LVV Certification.

    If the van has a factory fitted seat (such as the folding ones you have seen) there is no modification to Certify.
    If the Van has had a seat fitted later, it does need a LVV Cert. for the seat, and this is a good time to add seatbelts, and include them on the Cert.

    Hope this helps


  • William

    Hi There,

    I purchased two extra seats for my 80 series landcruiser thinking they would bolt straight into the back of my wagon. I have since been told that I need to track down a wrecked 7 seater, have the floor cut out and mounted into my vehicle before I can have them installed. Is there anything else that can be done?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


    • johnbrett

      Hi William. Is this really a Series 1 Landrover??
      In reply- there is no set way that seat installion has to be done- if you can come up with a practical way to mount the seat, it should be OK. It WILL need to be LVV Certified, so talk to your LVV Certifier first.
      Do you plan to put seatbelts in?

  • William

    Hi John,

    Thank you for this. Sorry I should have been more clear. My vehicle is a 1991 Toyota Landcruiser 80 Series. The extra seats were to be added to the very rear of the vehicle to make it a 7 seater. If I am hearing you right then as long as it can get LVV Certified it should be ok.

    What has me confused is that this information was given to me from a panelbeater who spoke with the LVV Certifier.

    I better give the LVV Certifier a call.

    Finding someone to part with a floor from a landcruiser might prove difficult.

  • William

    I have the seat belts and mounts for the seats. there is just nothing to connect it to the vehicle.

  • John Brett

    Ah, a Landcruiser 80 series! I have done many of these, and similar vehicles. There should be no problem adapting these to the existing floor.
    The inner seatbelt mounts are on the seats, the seats lock down to a bar on the floor, which takes all the seatbelt loads. All this can be duplicated quite easily.

  • marty

    is the same requirements for toyota van for cof as above,, eg 10 seats no belts?

  • johnbrett

    Hi Marty
    see above:
    “Vans do not need seatbelts for a rear seat, if they were built before March 2002.
    Also, if there are MORE than 9 seats, and the vehicle is pre March 2002, the rear seats do’t need seatbelts!”

    So the answer depends on what year your Hiace is.

    COF makes no difference to whether seatbelts are needed or not.

  • Vin

    Hi,I have ford transit mobility van with total 10 seats, I want to convert it to a 12 seater (with COF)and ready to loose mobility lift,
    Can you please inform whatt to do and how or who can do that

  • johnbrett

    Hi Vin
    You would need to get in touch with a LVV Certifer. The actual job of adding seats could be as easy as getting some Transit seats, and bolting tem to existing mounts in the floor, or there may be more work to be done. If you are in Auckland, call us on 0800 LOW VOLUME (0800 569865)

  • Jas

    Hi, I have a 1969 Dormobile Kombi and I would like to install a single folding seat backing onto the passenger seat inside the sliding door does the seat and belts need certifing. What kind of seat belts can i use and who sells them? Queenstown area cerfifier?
    Thanks Jas.

  • johnbrett

    Hi Jas-
    All seats and seatbelts need LVV Certification.
    Does your Kombi have the steel partition behind the front seats? A rear facing seat needs strength in a frontal collision.
    Certifers in Queenstown- In Dunedin is Roy McDonald on 03 4885657 and Graham Fitzpatrick on 03 4545088



  • Diana

    Hi, I have a 1987 Toyota Hiace campervan, the seating in the back consists of 2 long storage compartments bolted down and running down the sides of the van with covered couch foam/matress on top. Do you know if passengers are permitted to ride in the back or will i have to put some seats in?

    • johnbrett

      Hi Diana
      Under the current laws, Camper Vans on vehicles manufacutured before 1/10 2003 do NOT need seats and seatbelt anchorages in the back. Passengers only need wear seatbelts IF they are fitted.
      So you can carry passengers in the back without seatbelts. You CAN fit lap seatbelts on those side seats, maximum 1 per side, far enough back so that an occupant’s head would NOT hit anything soldid in a frontal accident.
      The new seatbelts would need to be LVV Certified. If you are in Auckland, I reccomend that you ring Seatbelt Specialists on 09 4440099 Regards John

  • Alanah

    We have just purchased a 1998 Toyota Hiace van that has a 3 fold-down seats immediately behind the drivers seat which doesn’t have seatbelts but the Trust that I work for, wishes to install. I have been led to believe that it is not a legal requirement. (Is that correct?) If so do I still need the certification for this work to be done? It makes it prohibitive to getting it done as it more than doubles the cost, making it $930-$1100..

    • johnbrett

      Hi Alana- What you say is correct, seatbelts are NOT a legal requirement for the rear seat in this vehicle. If you have Seatbelts fitted, they MUST be Certified. The costs you mention sounds about right, if you are In Auckland try Seatbelt Specialists on 09 4440099.
      I would think that the price is a bargain, compared with the cost, pain, and possible death of not having the seatbelts


  • Richard

    Hi guys.
    We are in the process of tidying up our dear old 65 Series IIa.
    Currently we have the normal ugly statics mounted in the usual position… but on sunny days, when the sun is shining and the birds are in the tress… sorry, I digress – we like run it without the roof.
    Now, this creates a problem… no roof = no top mounts (then I just swap them out for the original lap-belts on those days).
    Any suggestions on a more permanant and suitbale solution that isn’t dependant on the roof being on?
    We’re toying with the idea of 3-point harnesses as this would give us the freedom to go.. sans lid.

    Cheers all

  • johnbrett

    Is this a Landrover Series 11A?
    If so- what body? SWB, LWB, Hardtop? Station Wagon?
    One popular way is to add a roll-bar with upper seatbelt anchorages mounted off that. This is good if it is only a two-seater, but creates an Interior Impact problem if there are rear seats.
    Another method is to add upper mouting points to the body side, below where the top removes.
    Both require some engineering input before you start- I recommend you ring John Brett Technology (Low Volume Vehicle Certification) on 0800 LOWVOLUME.

  • Richard

    Hi again.

    Yep she an LR, SWB/88inch.
    We’re fortunate enough to have a hard-top, cab and as of the end of teh month a canvas hood for it. Hence our dilema… need a system wherby we can use each/all if desired.
    Full hard top is easy, cab is easy, soft-top becomes an issue
    No seats in the back. The original hard top and cab have the required mounting plates etc for belts (which are readily and cheaply available ex-UK if anyone needs them) but we’ll probably lean towards keeping it original by using the canvas hood
    Questions also around the limited space beteewn the door and the seat box for mouting the reel…

    Thanks for the comments and advice – am on the Shore so will drop in or give them a yell.



  • Incredibly awesome read. Honestly!

  • Jamie

    Hi there

    I am looking at buying a LWB Toyota Hiace pre 2000. I was wondering if it is possible to put 2 small couches (Secured with bolts) down each side and a fold out sofa bed down the end facing to the front. Ive worked out all the measurements and with the couches I have and the sofa bed, it fits comfortably and perfect. Is this legal and if so do I need to put seatbelts in the back???

    • johnbrett

      You would be building what amounts to a small motor-home or caravan. As the vehicle has three seats, and no more than 3 berths, you would not need extra seats and seatbelts.
      As the vehicle is pre- October 3003, you would not be required to put the extra seats or seatbelts anyway. You could carry passengers in the back legally too.
      The requirements for seats and seatbelts under LVV are stringent, your wooden couches and sofa beds are not going to be suitable as seats.


  • Good post and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you for your information.

  • Erin

    Hi, we have recently recieved lotteries funding to purchase a disability vehicle for my husband. Could you please advise what the rules are with regard to the hoist and belts for the wheelchair if any. We get one story from the independent assessor and a different one from the dealers. We’re getting a headache trying to figure out what we need to know in terms of certification. We require a rear loading hi top van for a single wheelchair (powered) plus 4 passenger seats for the family.

    • johnbrett

      There are a lot of Low Volume issues here- Seats, Seatbelts, Wheelchair and occupant restraints all need to be Certified, also the hoist. This applies whether the vehilce is built in New Zealand or imported. Who will be doing the conversion?
      Have a look at the VANZ site for approved converters- Regards John

  • debra

    hiya,i have a 1980 sb3 bedford ex school bus which i am converting into a house bus and are trying to figure out the requirements for my drivers and pasenger seat,tell me i have purchased 2 3 point harness safety belted seats from a new plymouth camperbus shop and the seats have been certified in aussy,are the o.k 4 me 2 use? also i want 2 put on swivel bases,can i use the bases from a lapbelted toyota estima seat? thanks for any input .Debra

  • Mike

    Hey there, first off thanks heaps for the great information, I’ve been searching for ages for this info. I have a 1988 Toyota Liteace, I’ve put a foldable bench seat in the back currently fitted to the factory holes, If I were to turn this to face backward but still fit the same holes, would this need certed/tested? And one more, To add another of the same style bench seats at the back by drilling my own holes, would that also need cert’d? Thanks heaps

    • johnbrett

      Your new seat needs to be LVV Certified enen though it is on factory holes. It cannot be certified as rear-facing unless you can make it strong enough to prevent passengers going forward in a collision- that usually means a cross-beam beam of about 65mm square section or similar. Best plan is to talk to a LVV Certifire before you start the job.

  • Rob

    Hi there, probably a silly question but is it posible to stick a little seat in between the driver and passenger seats in a Toyota Estima 2002 model making it a 9 seater?…many thanks

  • David

    Toyota Hiace Van 2005 old model.
    False wooden floor
    I have ford transit minibus double seats with seatbelts included….chose them because of the stronger and safer design.
    However to fit them into the Hiace van, I realise I will need to have plates under the floor.
    Metal thickness and size ?
    Long running plates running along inside the van floor …ontop of the wooden floor ?
    Plates for ontop of the floor thickness and width ?
    High tensile bolt sizes ?
    Packing for the gaps between the wood on the floor and ribs ? Can this be wood or has to be steel packers ?
    Bolted strategically before and after each seat ?
    I have three pairs of seats to fit but will only have one set left in the van for family purposes.(pick up the kids sometimes after school)
    The rest for convenience ie family trips. As I will be using it as a work van.
    So I want a system that I can easily remove the seats and not be obstructive on the floor.
    Any links to further information appreciated

    • johnbrett

      Hi- The Ford Transit seats are excellent- for installation, you need to be working with the LVV Certifier right from the start.
      It might be easier to fit the usual folding type seat, and mount seatbelts to the floor, and to the pillars- Hiace Vans are easy to do this way. Again, get your LVV Certifier involved before you start

  • David

    Just an addition with having to use and over the floor mounting bar. The transit seats wont sit neatly on the seats base mounting plates.
    Any suggestions for a solution ?
    above Floor mounting bar not required ?

  • David

    Thankyou for your swift reply
    Who is a LVV certifier in Wellington ?

  • Michael

    Hi there,
    Im not sure if you have answered this already but I have a 1992 toyota hiace van which has the rear fold down seat behind the driver. Is it possible to keep this seat and add seatbelts? Or would I require new seats? Also what price would I be looking at to get any of these done.

    • johnbrett

      Hi Micheal
      You can keep the original seat, and add seatbelts to it. I have LVV Certified many Hiaces like that. Any seatbelt installation requires LVV Certification. You are best to start with either a Seatbelt Installer, or a LVV Certifier if you want to install the seatbelt anchorages yourself.
      If you are in Auckland, I could LVV Certify it, and try Seatbelt Specialists for the installation, on 09 4440099

  • razzamajaz

    Hi there we have just brought a 1997 toyota hi ace van with a fold up back bench seat. I insisted on this for the odd time my partner might need to pick up our 2 toddlers from day care. He thought he would be able to put seat belts in but we are discovering it is going to be about $1600. Is there anything else we can do as the kids carseats need to be fixed in with both a seat belt and anchor strap (preferably not a lap belt).

    • johnbrett

      My only suggestions are to-
      1 Shop around for seatbelt installation prices (but do not consider any ‘helpfull amateurs’ offering to fit belts without Certification- Dangerous and illegal). I would have thought that $100 to $1200 was about par.
      2 Look at fitting car seats in the front, using child restraints if needed.

  • razzamajaz

    Thanks – yes the front is an option but can only fit one car seat as the middle seat is too narrow and only has a lap belt. Thanks for your help. Might be back to the drawing board.

  • Andrew Morris

    hi there
    I have a 1994 toyota liteace dx diesel work van.
    It has a fold up seat in the back which i now only use to transport the dog with.
    The van has cargo bars behind the drivers seat etc, and is generally only used for work purposes.
    Will I need to remove the seat for the van to pass its next warrent? as there are no seatbelts in the back.
    Would appreciate your answer on this
    Andrew Morris

    • johnbrett

      Hi Andrew- Seatbelts are NOT required in the back of this vehicle. There has been no change in the law. Lucky dog, getting a seat! Mine has to sit on top of my tool-box! Regards John

  • Hiria

    Am interested in buying a 1999 Mitsubishi Delica van. It has one folding seat and no seatbelts. I am told by the seller I will need to get seatbelts and to get the certification.
    I intend to use the van for work and carting stuff not for transporting passengers. Am I right thinking that the van doesnt need to be certified or to have seatbelts based on what you have replied to others.

  • Uli

    Hi John,

    I’ve got a question with regard to fitting childseats in the back of a campervan (Hiace 1995). It has two extra rear seats, both equipped with lapbelts. I had a look on the registration and it’s actually registered as 2 seater.
    Is it possible AND legal to put in the childseat, using the lapbelt? (It’s a rear-facing child seat , which needs two additional anchor points, but they can be mounted (I talked to one of the seatbelt specialists)?
    Thanks much,


    • johnbrett

      I cannot comment about the legality of the rear seatbelts. What are the two additional anchor points? Child restraint anchors can be installed without any Certification, but seatbelt anchorages need to be Certified.

  • Uli

    Hi John,

    Some additional info: The seatbelts were built in by the camper van converter in Japan, back in 1995 (not Toyota). As far as I know the seat has a wooden frame, so probably wouldn’t go through current certification. When it was imported in Aug 2004 only the 2 front seats have been registered. The child restraint anchors would use exisiting ‘bolts’.


  • Gary

    hi, just done up a 1990 Isuzu WRF. and put 3 seats in the back, able to seat 8 people, do i need to fit seat belts aswell? as i was told by a cop that i did….

    • johnbrett

      Hi- the Policeman is right- you need complying seatbelts on all seats, plus the seats and seatbelts need to be LVV Certified. You should get a LVV Certifier in now, before you start putting in seatbelts, and you may have to re-do the seat installation to bring it up to the LVV Standard

  • joel

    we got a van (pre 2000) with NO mounted seats in the back, NO seat belts, can people travel in the back legally? ive been looking all over the internet, you seem to know what your talking about.


  • scott komene

    hi i have a toyota hiace 2000.has no seats in it. would like to put 2 bench seats in it.would i have to get certification?..

  • John Brett

    You certainly do


  • Aaron

    I have a ’93 Mitsubishi L300 minibus. The rear seats have been removed, and were in storage, then someone threw them away. I have not been able to get the correct seats, but have found a similar size bench, possibly of Nissan origin.
    The mounts are different spacings, so would I be able to fit it with new holes, still using the original seatbelts and mounts, or would this require certification?


  • John Brett

    Of course it will need LVV Certification- it is a new Certification.
    The seats and seatbelts all need to meet the required safety standards, and the LVV process ensures that they do.

  • Hello there, Do you know of anyone that can fit rear seats to a 2008 Hyundai H1 Van?