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 John's authority was revoked in December 2012.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

159 comments to Seats and Seatbelts in a Van

  • johnbrett

    Hi Brett.
    All vans from 2002 are required to have compliant seatbelts in all positions. If there is a rear folding seat, it would have to have seatbelts fitted when the vehicle entered the country, or the seat removed. The vehicle in the Trade-me advert is not legal with the rear seat, because seatbelts are not fitted.
    If you convert to a camper, you would probably not use those seats, but incorporate seats into the camper conversion
    Seat belts are required in a camper according to the number of sleeping berths. A van of this type is usually 2 or 3 berth, so the front seat-belts are all it needs.
    If you do want to add seat belts in the rear, the seat belt installation, AND THE SEAT have to be covered by a Low Volume Vehicle Certification. The best way to do this is to deal with a seat belt installer who has a Low Volume vehicle Certifier on call- this way the job gets done to meet the Certification standard, and you come away with a Certified installation and a Cert plate. Do not try installing seat belts yourself, unless you have a LVV Certifier who can provide you with specifications first.

    There is no charge for this free advice, but could I ask that you make a small donation to my ‘Give-a Little’ campaign? This is to cover legal costs for defending myself from Defamation charges made by Mr Johnson of the LVVTA.
    If you did want to, just click though to the Give-a Little page.

    Hope this helps

  • Sateki

    Hi john I’m looking to purchase a bench seat to install in my Mitsubihi L300 but problem is its got no seat belt. Is it legal to install in the middle of the van or at the rear end with the middle left empty.

  • johnbrett

    Hi Sateki- if you add a seat it will need Low Volume Vehicle Certification. Seatbelts depend on the year of the vehicle, but most people fit them anyway. The Certification can cover seats and seat-belts at the same time.

    I have stopped doing Certification, so you will need to find a certifier near you. I suggest you ask NZTA



  • Michelle Smith

    Hi,I would like to fit a floor under seats, could I install the packers myself and bolt seats back in?

  • johnbrett

    Hi Michelle

    Sorry to be so long replying
    I cannot see any problem if you fit steel packers between the floor and the seat, when you fit a floor. You can see detailed requirements for packers in the LVV Standard 185-00 for seats on this page


  • Michelle Smith

    Hi John, thank you, are seats still able to be mounted with their backs to the side windows?

  • johnbrett

    Hi Michelle- only in camper vans- and not a good idea- can only have one seating position per side, lap belts only, and head swing radius so you don’t smash your head on anything, especially someone elses head.


  • Sala

    Hi John,

    How much will it cost to install 3 rows of seats into a Toyota Hiace with carpet for the floor?

  • johnbrett

    Hi Sala

    Sorry, we are not able to offer seat installing service



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