Frequently Asked Questions

Undertaking testing

Testing required under TOPAS specifications must be undertaken by a test house that is accredited to undertake the stated test under ISO/IEC 17025. TOPAS will not accept testing from non-accredited test houses for products to be registered. This is a standard requirement under CE/CA marking and TOPAS apply this same high standard for products not requiring CE/CA marking.

Updating a product to latest specification

When updating your product to the latest specification it is vital that you check that any exceptions you previously had still apply and, where they do, that you reference these clearly in your application to update. It is very likely that the clauses that were exceptions have been changed and appendices updated. To ensure your product meets the requirements of the latest specification you must provide all the relevant information for the application to be processed which will evidence that you have indeed checked that the product still complies.

Can I register a prototype?

March 2022 – Applicants are strongly advised not to register anything other than the production build standard of a product. Whilst a lot of valuable information can be gathered from prototypes and beta versions, any testing that is undertaken on these may be partly or fully invalidated by changes made before the production standard is arrived at.

Technical Assessors are required to ensure that all the content of the Technical File relates to the same product name or names, same build standard, and same version number throughout the entire file. It is therefore vital that your product is at a stable final product build standard before undertaking testing and Registration.

CE/CA Marking – Feb 2021 – All specifications referencing CE marking will be presumed to include CA marking when applicable.  Specifications will be amended to this requirement during their review process.

Cyber-security –  Dec 2020 – Manufacturers and users are advised to be aware of the Network and Information Systems Directive in respect of cyber-security.

Radio Agency Test –  August 2020 –  Appendix Z on earlier specifications refers to Radio Agency testing.  This testing has been superseded by RED (Radio Emissions Directive) and the UK Radio Emissions Regulations 2017 and this should be understood as the current testing requirement.  All specifications will be amended to this requirement during their review process.

Update of DMRB – August 2020 For all references in TOPAS specifications to TA/84 Code of Practice for Traffic Control and Information Systems for All Purpose Roads – please refer to The following HE documents : TA101; TS 101; TM 101 and TD 101.

What is the difference between TOPAS “compliant” and “registered”?

Frameworks ask for TOPAS Registered products.  If a product does not appear on the register, or cannot be validated by TOPAS on request, it is not registered. 

A “compliant” product is a statement by a manufacturer stating that they believe the product would be compliant ‘if’ it were to be put through the TOPAS process – this means, that it has not been put through the TOPAS processes.

A TOPAS Registered product means that the product has been through the processes of independent technical assessment and accepted by the TOPAS Body to be registered as compliant to the requirements of the specification(s) which it states.  Where there is more than one specification, the product may appear on the register several times, under each specification.  As a procurer you are advised to check the register under the required specifications, since there may be different caveats included for different specifications.  

What types of use of equipment does TOPAS Product registration cover? 

Registration affirms compliance with the TOPAS specifications for road traffic control at signalised junctions and pedestrian crossings but does not make any recommendations about the use of equipment in other situations and in these cases the user should satisfy themselves in conjunction with their supplier of the suitability of equipment.

Where a specification refers to a statutory requirement is there guidance on this?

TOPAS recognises that BS/EN, Elexon and other requirements can be changed.  Whilst TOPAS makes every effort to keep these up-to-date in our specifications, the onus is on the manufacturer to ensure that they comply with the latest regulations specified under any BS/EN or other statutory requirement, regardless of whether they are listed in TOPAS specifications.  You are advised to refer to the TSGRD 2016 and other statutory resources for further guidance on these matters.

Compliance to statutory regulations manufacture and use of VMS

Requirements for variable message signs are prescribed in the Traffic Signs Rgulations And General Directions 2016. 

Schedule 16 states that a discontinuous variable message sign must meet the relevant performance classes from BS EN 12966:2014 National Annex as set out in part 7.  This refers to clases ‘B1 or B3’ as being the permitted classes for beam width and includes all types of mobile and permanent VMS for highways use.

Manfacturers have a responsiblity to ensure their products offered for sale meet the relevant legislation.

VMS may only be used to display traffic signs as defined in the Road Traffic Regulation Act.  All messages must be displayed on a single sign aspect.  It is unlawful to display messages that require the use of multiple displays (“paging”) or scrolling text.

TSRGD Schedule 17 includes the permitted alphabet for VMS in part 5 – shown as all CAPS, similarly in Schedule 16.  This means that they must be displayed as such.  

Regulation 5  states that letters and numerals be in the proportions shown in the relevant schedule.  In addition letter height is governed by the required x-height for the speed of the road.

VMS (which includes vehicle activated VMS) not confirming to TSRGD or displaying messages not defined in the Road Traffic Regulation Act may be deemed to be unlawful.  It is for local authorities and other users to ensure any VMS they place on their roads comply with all legislation.

Placing an unlawful VMS on a public road may expose the local authority to litigation in the event of an incident.

Who can register products with TOPAS? 

TOPAS will consider applications for product registration by third parties other than the manufacturer, provided that the applicant has the permission of the original equipment manufacturer/design authority to submit such an application, or a degree of ownership of the design to fulfil the manufacturer’s role, and is also able to supply the necessary technical file and documentation for such registration. 

Can I use the TOPAS logo once my product is registered?

Manufacturers who have registered a product with TOPAS may request a “TOPAS registered product” logo from 

What do I receive upon Registration?

Once Registration is completed you will receive a Certificate of Registration.  This document will serve as your proof of satisfactory compliance with the specfication and version and you will need this document to show to your customers as part of the procurement process.  

How does a technical assessor get approved by TOPAS?

A body may apply to TOPAS to be an approved Technical Assessor.  Such body will need to show that they have sufficient and demonstrable experience, knowledge and expertise in electronics, optical and traffic technologies within the traffic control sector.

Technical Assessors will need to be fully independent of any applicant with whom it works, and be able to provide independent test or audit facilities.  Any body may apply to become TOPAS approved for this purpose and there is no charge for this.    

TOPAS welcomes bodies who have UKAS accreditation but will consider those with substantial experience and expertise.  We are hopeful that manufacturers’ current external assessors will look to provide this service in addition to those already required by manufacturers.  

Technical Assessors do not enter into a contract with TOPAS, all agreements are carried out independently between applicants and Assessors throughout the TOPAS process to registration. Please direct any enquiries to  

Trial Approvals and Developing new specifications 

Anyone developing new equipment within the traffic control sector should refer to TOPAS 0600 and TOPAS 0601A for guidance and information.  Where a manufacturer believes their new or innovative product  does not appear to fit an existing TOPAS specification, they may wish to contact TOPAS  for further guidance.  In the event that the Board considers the product will not be covered,  the manufacturer is invited to subject a new specification draft in accordance with TOPAS 0601A for this purpose. 

What is an independent Technical Assessor? 

An independent third party body competent to assess the Technical File to ensure that it provides adquate evidence that the product has been designed and tested to meet a relevant TOPAS procurement specification.  This may be a European Notified Body as defined in Clause 2.6 of TOPAS 0600 or another body recognised by TOPAS as competent to undertake the assessment.  

When should manufacturers consider registration process?

TOPAS has been established to coordinate the management and development of technical specifications for traffic control equipment, and to offer a straightforward means of customers verifying manufacturers’ compliance with the associated product testing through a registrations system.  Whilst TOPAS registration is not mandatory  it is recommended, with increasing numbers of purchasing specfications from Local Authorities and other organisations requiring tihs.  

The TOPAS website provides the most up-to-date register for the purchasing authorities to use in the procurement of products.

Can I rely on TOPAS registration to guarantee equipment performance as I did with Type Approval?

TOPAS registration is only intended to provide assurance that manufacturers products have undergone sufficient internal testing against the relevant equipment specifications, with third party independent verification of test certificates (by nominated bodies/UK Approved bodies). TOPAS registration is based on manufacturers self-certification in the same way as Type Approval, but potentially provides a more robust assurance as, unlike Type Approval, TOPAS registration requires independent verification of internal testing. 

It is important to remember that neither TOPAS registration or Type Approval guarantee that equipment is defect free, and purchasers should undertake such factory and site testing as they consider necessary to ensure products work as required for the specific installation. Purchasers should also ensure products are used only for their intended function.

Can I complain to TOPAS Ltd if a TOPAS registered product doesn’t work?

TOPAS Ltd has been established with the aim of continuing the benefit of national agreement of equipment specifications, supported by an Registration system, so that purchasers can buy equipment with confidence that it complies with the relevant technical specification. TOPAS registration may be withdrawn if testing is considered unreliable, but purchasers should deal with the individual manufacturer over complaints that a product supplied by that manufacturer does not work. Where a product is intended to be used in an innovative way, purchasers are advised to check with the manufacturer before purchasing equipment that it will operate in the intended way, particularly where there may be installation interface requirements.

Do I have to use TOPAS registered products on UK public roads?

No. TOPAS does not cover all equipment installed on public roads, but only equipment manufactured to a limited number of technical specifications relating to traffic control and associated equipment [see list of specifications for details].

Additionally, TOPAS registration by manufacturers is voluntary and a manufacturer may offer a product to a particular technical specification within the TOPAS range without registering that product. Purchasers considering purchasing such equipment are advised to assure themselves that sufficient testing has been undertaken.

The removal of the need for Type Approval by the Secretary of State means that purchasers have more freedom over the equipment they install provided that it conforms with the Traffic Sign Regulations and General Directions. Purchasers considering using such equipment are advised to satisfy themselves that it is fit for the purpose and that it will not adversely affect the operation of connected equipment.

How will product registrations be affected when TOPAS specifications are up-issued?

When a specification is up-issued, existing product registrations remain in place registered under the assigned specification version.  Purchasers will generally require products to be registered to the latest specification and therefore Manufacturers are advised to consider re-registration to the latest versions of specifications under the processes determined under TOPAS 0600. There is generally no fee for this re-registration where the product remains compliant to the up-issued Specification.

Can I register Arrow Signs with TOPAS?

TOPAS currently does not cover registrations for Light Arrow Signs under BS EN 12352 but would advise local authorities/suppliers/manufacturers that should they wish to use arrow signs on networks other than HE then they must have DfT authority to do so.     

Is TOPAS the only requirement for my product?

Manufacturers MUST ensure their product conforms with all requirements necessary, not just those required by TOPAS.

Do I need to be registered with ISO 9001?

Manufacturers need to demonstrate that products put forward for TOPAS registration have been designed and tested within an effective quality management system.  Offering evidence of a certified ISO 9001 is one way of achieving this.  For non-UK manufacturers, certification from a national certification body is also accepted.  Where an organisation has an effective QMS but which is not formally certified, this will also be accepted by TOPAS, provided evidence of its existence and effectiveness is provided to the Technical Assessor as part of the Registration process, in lieu of formal certification.  Any registration request without evidence of QMS would need to be reviewed by the Board. Neither TOPAS or its agents are identified as ISO 9001 Auditors and registration of a product under an effective QMS does not negate or allow substitution for the requirement of ISO 9001 or equivalent when requested by a procurer.