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What are National Highway Sector Schemes

National Highways Sector Schemes are bespoke integrated management schemes within an ISO 9001 framework. They have been developed in partnership with all sides of the highways industry to interpret the international quality management standard as it applies to a particular activity or industry within the United Kingdom. 

National Highway Sector Scheme 13 relates to The Supply and Application of Surface Treatments to Road Surfaces. The RSTA chairs and manages the Sector Scheme 13 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

UKAS-NHSS 13-ISO 9001 2020-Issue-4

The RSTA also provides the secretariat for Sector Scheme 23 – Small Scale Pavement Repairs.


Sector Schemes are designed to:

  • Provide an industry benchmark
  • Ensure that all processes are planned
  • Provide a basis for continuous improvement
  • Focus on quality as an objective
  • Reduce overall costs for the client and supplier
  • Provide and maintain a properly trained and competent workforce
  • Involve all sides of industry in scheme ownership within a partnership framework
  • Ensure that Certification Bodies use auditors with technical knowledge and experience of the sector concerned
  • Promote confidence in quality management systems by provision of a robust, transparent system.

The various Schemes are managed by separate technical advisory committees. Each Sector Scheme technical advisory committee interprets BS EN ISO 9001 in relation to the requirements of their particular activity. A consensus is reached on the minimum levels of workmanship, services, products, testing and the training and competency of operatives needed to meet specification requirements. Auditor qualifications and requirements in respect of Environmental Management Systems and other management systems are also established. The details are contained in the individual Sector Scheme Documents.

The technical advisory committees are made up of representatives from across the sector, from clients, contractors, suppliers, trade associations, training organisations and certification bodies.

The individual technical advisory committees are overseen by the Highways Sector Scheme Liaison Group. This forum provides a focus for discussion in the effectiveness of the Sector Schemes and co-ordinates developments so that they can be uniformly taken forward by each of the technical advisory committees.

The National Highways Sector Schemes are included in the procurement process through reference in the Specification for Highway Works (SHW). For Highways Agency contracts their use is a mandatory requirement of SHW.

The National Highways Sector Scheme Documents are published by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) on behalf of the technical advisory committees. They can be downloaded from their web site

A list of registered organisations is maintained by the Secretary of the Sector Scheme technical advisory committee.

Lantra Awards maintains the schedule of suppliers for the National Highways Sector Schemes on behalf of the Highways Sector Scheme Liaison Group. (See Contacts & Useful Links).

The following member companies have notified RSTA they are registered with Sector Scheme 13:

Surface Dressing

Slurry – Microsurfacing

Spray Injection Patching

Retexturing – Fine Milling

Geosynthetics & Steel Meshes