The SIMI (Society of the Irish Motor Industry) has launched CSS (Certified Steel Standard), a new voluntary standards programme for professional bodyshop repairers in Ireland.

The standard incorporates the industry-agreed technical specification for the process of vehicle structural body repair.

CSS is the first standard of its kind in Ireland and is the outcome of two years' extensive discussion and technical consideration.

CSS details the minimum requirements for competent personnel, appropriate and well-maintained equipment, suitable repair methods and quality of repair materials.

Noel Brett, CEO of the Road Safety Authority, present at the launch said: "It is essential that all crash damaged vehicles are repaired professionally to the manufacturer's specification.

"Failure to do so may result in increased collision risk, failure of safety critical components and design features.

"Anyone having their vehicle repaired or purchasing a repaired crash damaged vehicle should seek a written assurance that the vehicle has been professionally repaired to the manufacturer's design specification using certified parts.

"I would particularly urge insurers who fund such repairs to ensure compliance for every repair that they authorise.

"SIMI are to be complimented for their initiative in introducing this new voluntary standard. I look forward to its implementation and evolution over the next few years."

All members who sign up to the standard are independently audited and accredited via TÜV SÜD GmbH, which clearly demonstrates to customers and to insurance companies that our bodyshops are committed to the highest quality and safety standards.

Alan Nolan, Director General of SIMI, said: "CSS Standard means confidence; customers deserve the best service and the best standard of repairs when they experience the trauma of a crash repair.

"The CSS programme was established to help answer some of the questions that arise for customers when they have an accident and need to have their car repaired.

"As the owner of a damaged car you have the right to choose your own repairer.

"Choosing a CSS bodyshop guarantees that the repair will be carried out correctly and completely - no short cuts, no compromises on quality.

"The standard ensures that all bodyshops have the appropriate qualifications, correct tools and specifications to carry out these repairs. Every aspect of the job is recorded and traceable. In the unlikely event that our service doesn't meet your expectations you have access to the Independent Complaints Tribunal."