5.3 Our role as Technical Approval Authority

5.3.1 Scope

East Lothian Council as Roads Authority is responsible as Technical Approval Authority (TAA) for the approval of structures on its own roads or affecting its roads. This applies whether the Designer is the Council’s own, a firm of consulting engineers, an individual or any other organisation. We are also responsible as TAA, where a developer is to hand over a structure for adoption on completion.

These procedures are to be applied to the design, checking and construction of all new structures (whether to be adopted or not), partial renewals and maintenance works affecting the integrity or load carrying capacity of existing structures on the local road network. They are intended to ensure that structures are safe and serviceable, economic to build and maintain, and sustainable with minimal impact on the environment.

5.3.2 Definitions

Structures include

  • bridges, tunnels, subways, culverts, of clear span greater than 0.9m
  • retaining walls, reinforced earth structures and soil strengthening with more than 1.5m retained height
  • sign-gantries, portal/cantilever signs, highway signs on posts more than 4m high
  • environmental barriers and temporary structures provided for public use
  • high masts more than 20m in height for lighting/cameras
  • cellar roofs and basements which support the road.

The above list is not intended to be exhaustive and in cases of doubt, we will advise on the necessity and requirements for Technical Approval.

5.3.3 Process and forms

Technical Approval can consist of several stages including outline agreement to form of structure within overall scheme concept, development of the Approval in Principle document and certification. It is a continuing process and can involve many discussions between the Designer and the TAA. In order to avoid delays, it is advised that preliminary discussions take place early in the process. Any special criteria and departures from standards should be identified as soon as possible.

The Technical Approval Schedule (TAS) is the schedule of standards and technical documents, relating to road structures, to be used in the design, as confirmed by the Designer. The documents must comprise relevant current British Standards and Codes of Practice, appropriate current technical memoranda from the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB), and other relevant documents and publications including the Manual of Contract Documents for Highway Works (MCHW).

Model Forms and other pro-forma are contained in DMRB standard CG 300 Technical Approval of Highway Structures.

Standard TAS Schedules are listed in DMRB standard CG 300 TAS.

The procedures described and model pro-forma are intended to be contract-neutral and may be amended as necessary to suit specific contract requirements, for example design-and-construct contracts.

5.3.4 Our role as the Technical Approval Authority (TAA)

As TAA, East Lothian Council is required to

  • Examine all proposals at the preliminary design stage and, when satisfied, to endorse the Approval in Principle Form. We will agree the application of selected documents to particular structures and, exceptionally, give directives on principles to be followed in the Approval in Principle document.
  • Determine, and agree the category of structures and hence the need for Approval in Principle.
  • Be available for consultation by the Designer or Checker and to give advice on interpretations of Codes and Standards.
  • Consider at any stage any proposals for additional criteria or for departures from the documents listed in the Technical Approval Schedule, national codes or standards.
  • Resolve any points of difference which occur between the Designer and Checker.
  • Receive from the Designer, certificates of compliance with the Approval in Principle (i.e. Design Certificates and Check Certificates), which will also record:-
    • Departures from, and aspects not covered by, Codes and Standards.
    • Directives issued by the TAA

We will not check the calculations nor their translation into design other than to such limited extent as may be required to consider aspects of economic suitability.

Additionally, we have a policy role in the context of applying special parameters such as:-

  • Any extra criteria suggested for a particular problem and/or any proposed departures from the documents listed in the Technical Approval Schedule, National Codes and Standards, or DMRB.
  • Resolving points of difference between the Designer and the Checker or the interpretation of items in a Code, DMRB or Standard, on which a directive is required.

It is our responsibility to ensure that these decisions are recorded in the Approval in Principle document and on Design Certificates as appropriate. Rulings given for a particular scheme are not to be applied to another scheme without our agreement.

Exceptionally, where the TAA and the Designer cannot resolve a difference, the Roads Authority will issue a directive on a particular subject.

The agreement of the Approval in Principle or acceptance of the Design and Check Certificates does not relieve the Designer or Checker of the responsibility for the validity and arithmetic correctness of the calculations nor their translations into design details, drawings and specification clauses.

Note: These webpages are for reference by developers of housing and employment sites in East Lothian. They provide guidance on transport infrastructure against which Planning Applications will be assessed and evaluated, and set out East Lothian Council's procedures regarding the construction and adoption of new roads in accordance with current legislation. These pages supersede all previous versions of our Standards for Development Roads document. 

Revisions 01/07/2023 Document release