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 John's authority was revoked in December 2012.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

  • 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?

  • johnbrett

    What area are you in? There are businesses such as Jacksons and Van Extras who do this work, and there are small businesses who might give it a go. You will need seatbelts- I would try a seatbelting place.

  • Andrew Petty

    Hi John,

    I’ve just bought a 2000 toyota Hiace registered as a three seater, but have the toyota folding up bench seat on the factory mounts. After reading article 4.2a of the pdf above (185-00(01)), do I need a LVV cert for this? I presume I’ll need one to fit seatbelts, but do I also need to correct the registration to a 6 seater?



  • John Brett

    Hi Andrew- Take it to a TSD agent such as VTNZ, VINZ, or AA, and do a “Change of details” form. They will get their inspector to look and decide mif it needs LVV for the seat. If it does, we can do it. If you want to add seatbelts, (and why wouldn’t you) it would cost NO EXTRA for the LVV Certification. If you are in Auckland I recommend Seatbelt Specialists in Glenfield, on 09 4440099. They will do the belts, and arrange the LVV Certification, on the one bill.
    Hope this helps John

  • Richard

    Hi there, I’ve just purchased an older coach 1982 to convert into a mobile home for my rapidly expanding family. The company I purchased the bus from pulled out all the seats and changed its usage to a heavy van (she’s 11.9 tons empty). They didn’t fit a seat belt for the drivers seat but it seemed to have gone through a c.o.f. fine without a belt.

    I’m toying with putting some original coach seats back for passengers to provide at least 4 extra seats but maybe even 8 (so 9 seats including driver) and then fitting the rest of the bus out as a motor home. I am wondering if I need seat belts at all if I leave it as a heavy van.

    If I change its use to motorhome, I believe I have to provide 1 x lap belt for every berth, but does this still apply in a heavy vehicle ?? or am I better to leave it as a heavy van, or is there no real advantage either way.

    If I need to fit belts, am I better to buy some seats that have the belts incorporated and mount these into the bus. I guess this way I only need to worry about the seat anchorage complying.

    I’m a fair engineer, so is there somewhere I can get some basic info on how to make these mounts compliant ??

    Lastly what sort of cost am I likely to run into for a compliance certificate and will I need one ??



  • Doug Bell

    Hi John

    I am doing up a VW 211 Van (Kombi) 1979 Brazilian.

    The van originally had no windows in the rear compartment and a previous owner had installed windows a back seat with belts and turned it into a camper.

    I want to fit two new seats that I have made (I have a fitting and welding advanced trade and NZCE Mechanical) the seats are all steel and also have a ply base that the foam sits on. One is a three seater 1300mm wide forward facing, it folds flat and the flat seat and the engine compartment floor makes a nice bed (this seat is sometimes referred to as a rock and roll seat).

    Question One
    When you replied to Jamie’s question 30 June 2010 it sounded as if a van that is decked out as a camper does not require certification on the seats and that it can legally be use to take passengers. Did I interpret that correctly?

    I do want the seat to be compliant. But because I need the bed to be continuous when folded flat I need to have it almost hard up against the wall that forms the engine compartment. In this position the rear wheel arches get in the way of the rear mounts.

    Question Two
    The front of the seat will be conventionally mounted. Can the rear mounts be attached to the angled engine compartment wall? If you think this maybe too weak and bend can I use a transverse beam and attach the seat to that?

    Question Three
    Can I mount lap belts to that engine compartment wall or a transverse beam? I think this will be good as the belts will be working in a straight line of pull.

    I also want to fit a rear facing two seater 1000mm wide it will be mounted directly behind the driver and the middle front seat. The van has a full width dividing wall between the front and rear compartments. Like the old split window Kombis. From what you have written previously you sound familiar with this style wall.

    Question Four
    Do I need to strengthen this wall to take the extra loading of the rear facing seat?


  • Helen

    Hi there John,

    we are looking at purchasing a hiace van for our big family but all have no seats in them. Approx how much all up are we looking at, in putting seats and seatbelts in one? and getting it all certified? Just so I know if we can afford to go down this road?

  • Sunny

    Who does seat fitting in Wellington? I’ve got a factory rear hiace seat for my van, but my van never came with seats in the rear so it has no mounting points

  • johnbrett

    Sorry, I’m in Auckland, and can’t help you

  • Brian Tuffey

    Hello. I wish to have a single seat installed in the rear of a Hyundai Iload. Do you have a contact in Auckland. I am in Whenuapai. Thanks Brian

  • johnbrett

    Hi- I am no longer taking on LVV Certification of seats and seatbelts, because of the problems in the LVV System. Sorry I can’t help you. Regards


  • Rubina Tautari

    Hi, we have a ten seater van, is it legal to put children in the back seats in their carseats. Do the seat belts have to be properly fitted to the floor.

  • johnbrett

    Some 10 seater vans Made before 2002) are not required to have seatbelts in the rear. So people in the rear can’t be made to wear non-existant seatbelts. If there are seatbelts, they have to be worn. Any seatbelt installation will have to be properly certified, either by the vehicle manufacturer, or under a LVV Plate- this ensures they are properly installed. If carseats are used they are retained by seatbelts, and if an additional restraint is required, an accessory strap and anchorage can be installed as per the car-seat manufacturers instructions.
    So- if there are no seatbelts in the rear, you can legally leave your children to roll around, and be injured or kiled in an accident (if you want). Hope this helps

  • Julie Hopkins

    Hi, I cannot find a van that I like with the seats that I like and are wanting to source someone who can help me. I wish to buy a van and have the seats fitted afterwards. All seats need to have lap diagonal seat belts. Can you help me?

  • johnbrett

    This has all become to hard now. I suggest that you phone the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association for the name of any installer who can still do this, and LVV Certifier still willing to Certify this.

  • DelonTrinidade

    hi there how much would it cost to instal just one rear bench seat that would fit 3 people with seat belts? i have a 2004 toyota hiace 3 seater currently which was previously used as a courier van but now want to convert it to a family van. just wondering how much it would all cost for getting a seat and belts and would i need a cert?

  • johnbrett

    Hi- we cannot quote for this work, sorry. LVV Certifiers are not allowed to carry out work which they then approve.

  • brian

    Hi John, this is an odd one for you, do LVV certs apply to heavy vehicles or is this under another set of legislation? As i would like to add a third seat to a sleeper cab (and changing the seating capacity from 2 to 3) and am wondering if a LVV would be the person to speak to re structural support and seat belting?

  • johnbrett

    Heavy vehicles come under different rules. You need a HV Certifier. I can recommend Brian Reed on 021 557 547. Give Brian my regards. Hope this helps, John

  • Scott

    Hi there, I have a 2006 hiace which has a factory rear seat in the back but no seatbelts. I am pretty sure it already has anchorages as there are 2 things that the fold up seat locks into in the floor and the other side of these is free. Will these anchorages be sufficient and if so will I still need certification if I don’t have to modify the van just fit seat belts? Any help would be much appreciated thanks.

  • johnbrett

    This vehicle is required by law to have lap and diagonal belts for the rear seat. It would have had them fitted when sold new, or at compliance if imported used. I recommend taking it to a Seatbelt installer who will be familiar with the model (there are lots of variations even in Hiaces!). They should be able to fit belts to the factory mountings.
    If there are no factory mountings, then the seat has been retro-fitted, and the seat and the new seat-belt installation including new anchorages will need LVV Certification.
    Hope this helps John

  • terrence

    Hey. I’m about to purchase an 87 bongo. it has 2 rows of seats in the back. both rows hav seat belts. i want to remove the back row. how do i do this leagly as i don’t intend on putting them back in? do i have to remove n weld over seat belts ??!?? Wasn’t sure as q n a above not quite the same.

  • johnbrett

    Hi Terrence- actually you don’t need to do anything! Just unbolt the seats and seat-belts. You can do a ‘Change of details’ form to reduce the number of seats, but you don’t havce to.
    Talk to VTNZ, AA, VINZ. Hope this helps, John.

  • terrence

    Thanks johnbrett, much appreciation 🙂

  • kazza

    Hi John, any idea who in Hamilton can put seats in a Toyota Hiace? thanks.

  • johnbrett

    Sorry no idea who could install them, or even certify them- sorry Regards John

  • Callie

    Hi, I have recently brought a 1985 g20 van. All captain seats have belts but none on the back seat which converts to a bed. I have been trying to understand the legal stand. Would I need to get belts installed? And is this possible?

  • johnbrett

    Hi Callie- No the rear seats of this vehicle do not have to have seat-belts. It is possible to have belts fitted if you choose, but if you did they would have to be LVV Certified. Hope this helps, regards- John

  • Ida

    I have a ten seater Toyota hiace with nine seatbelt. I want to move the three seater bench seat to the front and install a third seatbelt. I only want a five seater this legal if done at a garage? Current configuration in the back is 2, 2+1 and 3

  • johnbrett

    Hi Ida- The important thing is that the seats and seat belts work properly in a frontal impact. For this reason, a LVV Certification is required if anything is added. Seats and seat-belts can be removed without certification. There is no requirement on who does the work. Hope this helps- John

  • James

    The bench seat on my ute can physically fit 4 people comfortably. Would it be certifiable to get an extra seatbelt installed?

  • johnbrett

    In principle, yes it could, however the LVV Certifier would have to check whether their was actually sufficient space. Adults space requirement is 410 mm , child requirement is 310mm measured at seat level.

  • Daniel

    Hi, can children be put in a special car seat in the rear side-facing fold down seats in the back of a 300 series land-rover discovery (1994)? Also can a single seat (that will hold a carseat) be mounted in the rear of a 3.2 tdi 1997 nissan terrano with the R50 frame? Thanks.

  • johnbrett

    Hi Daniel- Side facing seats will not work with a child car seat. They are designed to work either rear-facing or front facing. Side-facing seats are not even very safe for adults! Yes, you COULD fit a car seat in the back of a Terrano- but it would need seat-belts, and have to be Certified. Hope this helps, John

  • Ben

    Hi, im Looking at fitting 1 row of stressed seats in a 2013 HiAce but i want then to be removable and to be able to change their position or spin them, what sort of channel fastening systems meet the certification requirements?

  • johnbrett

    There are a number of issues here-
    1 Do the seats have upper seatbelt anchorages?
    2 Do the seats meet the loading requirements for light vehicle seat-belts?
    3 If the seats are to be used in a rear-facing position, do they meet the loading requirments for rear-facing seats.
    4 Mountings- There is no ‘one plan fits all’ solution.
    a The LVV Standard 185-00 shows an ‘over-floor mounting bar system’ which I personally think is not strong enough in many circumstances.
    b The alternative is a custom-designed mounting system (which I could do), but then the question is would the LVVTA approve it?
    5 LVV Certifier- there is a shortage of LVV Certifiers, and you may have difficulty finding one who will take this job on.
    Sorry I can’t be more helpfull


  • Scott

    Hi, my 1995 hiace currently has one fold away bench seat in the back that doesnt have any belts, when through a cop stop the other night and everything was all good, i am now wanting to put in another 3 seater in the back, just wondering will i need a cert to do this and if not will it need seatbelts

  • johnbrett

    The rear seat doesn’t need seat belts, it is legal as is. A WOF agent would know this, lucky that the Police knew too! If you add another seat, both it and the original seat will need seatbelts. The new seats and seat belts will have to be LVV Certified.

  • islo

    so what exactly do you do? you are an LVV website yet you direct most ?’s to some other LVV

  • johnbrett

    I offer a consultancy service, and arrange LVV Certs when vehicles are ready.

  • Pauline

    We are converting a 97 transit van into a camper. The existing double seat in the front is appalling and dangerous as the seat belt barely does up and has no slack. We are looking to put in an Estima centre row swivel captains chair in its place.Presumably modification would be a frame attached to the existing floor bolt threads, with new thread/nut incorporated and aligned to the bolt position of the new seat. I believe these seats are commonly sought for the purpose of conversion. The seat would only be in the forward position while driving. The swivel/slide would come into its own at night time when it can be swiveled against dash and the bed fitted into the cab space thus accommodating a 6ft 4 occupant.
    Are there any fitters/ compliers in the Manawatu/Horowhenua/Rangitikei area that do this, as I suspect my own welding would not be seen as sufficient for certification.Thx.

  • johnbrett

    This type of modification has become too difficult for most Certifiers to consider. I suggest that you phone the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association to enquire if they believe this could be Certified, and if they know of a Certifier in your area who might take the job on.



  • Tim

    Hi guy’s

    i’m looking to buy a 2011 Ford Transit Jumbo LWB and which to install a rock and roll style seat/bed just behind the cab. I could purchase an after market seat/bed but would be unsure about how to seat belt it? Also is their anyone in New Zealand that would make and install this type of seat/bed? I’m looking to buy it in Auckland but will be driving it down to Christchurch. So anywhere in-between would work. I’ve searched long and hard online but come up with not a whole lot. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • johnbrett

    Hi Tim
    If the bed/ seat is considered part of the furniture of a motor-home, there is no rule concerning it’s fitment, and no requirement to install seat-belts If however the sleeping accommodation of the vehicle exceeds the number of seats with seat-belts, then additional Certified seats and seat-belt installations need to be installed.

    There is now a shortage of Certifiers able to certify this type of installation, and so very few companies doing this type of installation.
    If you must have Certified seats and seatbelts, I suggest that you phone NZTA or the LVVTA to see if they can arrange something for you.



  • Tim

    Hi John,
    thanks for the reply. There will be 6 bed’s so i’ll need 6 seat belted seats. With 3 already stock up front i’ll need to add 3 in the back, hence the folding seat/bed. The Tranist’s regularly come with a second row of seat’s where the belts attach to the seat’s frame., so i’d assume it surely must be possible? or would it just be a lot easier to buy a van with seat’s already installed in the back?


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