Bridge engineering self supervision (BESS)

Information for companies and drivers

Bridge engineering self supervision (BESS) is a training and registration system for companies and drivers of heavy vehicles that operate under an overweight permit. BESS registration is a requirement for obtaining overweight permits that include restrictions on crossing bridges.

When is BESS registration needed?

Heavy indivisible loads often need to be transported for the greater economic good of the country. When issuing overweight permits for such loads, the key consideration for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is the safe load capacity of bridges on the route.

Increased axle group and gross masses are generally allowed over unrestricted bridges under an overweight permit based on greater certainty of load mass accuracy compared with general access vehicles.

Allowable vehicle masses may be further increased under a permit but with the following restrictions:

  • limiting speed to reduce the dynamic load effects on a bridge
  • removing other traffic to reduce total load effects, and/or
  • locating the vehicle in the best position (usually in the centre) to optimise load distribution over the bridge.

If an overweight permit specifies such restrictions, then the company and the driver operating the vehicle must be BESS-registered.

Alternatively, a BESS-registered supervisor may accompany the driver to control the crossings over any restricted bridges and to ensure the restrictions on the permit are complied with.

Applying for BESS registration

Companies and drivers wanting to become BESS-registered must apply to Waka Kotahi by completing the relevant form.

BESS driver application form [PDF, 79 KB]
BESS company application form [PDF, 71 KB]

Send the completed application form to:

BESS administrator
Phone: 0800 683 774
Address: Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency,
Private Bag 11777,
Palmerston North 4442

BESS registration requirements for companies

To be eligible for BESS registration, companies must:

  1. be valid legal entities
  2. hold a transport service licence (TSL), if applicable, and
  3. have a good record of compliance with driving rules and transport legislation.

If we have concerns about a company’s traffic offence history or compliance record, we may approve BESS registration on a six-month trial basis or decline the application.

BESS registration requirements for drivers

To be eligible for BESS registration as a driver, you must have a current driver licence class 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 when you apply.

You must also meet the Waka Kotahi criteria for a good driving record, that is:

Demerit points

If you are eligible for training, you must sit and pass the NZQA unit standard 23436.

NZQA unit standard 23436(external link)

BESS driver registration process

When you apply for BESS registration, we review your driving history over the last two years. If you are eligible for BESS training, we will refer you to the nearest assessor. You then have six months to complete the training. If you do not pass the BESS training within six months, you need to submit a new application.

When you have successfully completed your BESS training, Waka Kotahi will either issue your full BESS ID card or grant you provisional registration for six months, depending on how many demerit points you have.

If your application is declined, you can apply again in six months.

BESS application process

Renewing BESS driver registration

BESS driver registration is valid for five years. Before your registration expires, you must complete a renewal course with a Waka Kotahi approved assessor to renew your BESS registration. Companies can book a renewal course on behalf of their drivers.

We recommend that you book at least eight weeks before the expiry date on the BESS ID card.

When you come to the renewal course, you need to bring:

  • your driver licence, and
  • your current full BESS ID card.

BESS renewal process

BESS renewal process

For assessor contact details to book your renewal course, see the list of approved assessors.

List of approved assessors

What happens if I breach BESS or permit conditions?

If you are found to have breached permit or BESS conditions, we may disqualify you and the company you work for and remove your names from the BESS register.

If it was a minor breach and a first offence, we may put you and the company on probation for a period and reinstate your BESS licences if there are no repeat offences.

Appealing against a BESS decision

If you disagree with a decision about your BESS registration, you can submit an appeal to Waka Kotahi and request a review of the decision. We will review your submission as well as all the information considered for the initial decision and advise you by letter of our final decision. 

Send your appeal submission or review request to the BESS administrator.

BESS administrator

List of approved BESS assessors

Waka Kotahi-approved BESS assessors and their contact details are listed below:

Regions covered Name Email Phone
Brian Parker 021 989 395
Nadine Bell 021 127 1945
Marc Ryan 027 670 7707
Bay of Plenty
Allan Collins 027 715 8980
Bill deRenzy 027 478 8594
Bay of Plenty
Gene Letford 027 571 0371
Hawke's Bay
To be confirmed    

Hawke’s Bay

Tina Ware 027 443 2065
Hawke’s Bay
Stuart McConchie 021 392 762
West Coast
Top of the South Island
Gary Pearce 027 459 4058
South Island
Jason Campbell 027 242 6502
Pat Power 027 208 4215
Janine Millar-Power 027 208 4156
South Island
Daryl Stephen 021 299 3630
Otago Danny Stephen 027 227 6716

How to become a BESS assessor

Waka Kotahi and NZHHA BESS assessor endorsement

New Zealand Heavy Haulage logoWaka Kotahi and the New Zealand Heavy Haulage Association (NZHHA) jointly endorse applicants for assessors for Bridge Engineering Self Supervision Licences, so that MITO can accept their industry experience as being acceptable and extend the assessor’s status to include Unit Standard 23436.

The training material and assessment document was developed by Waka Kotahi and NZHHA and assessors must use this material to test candidates for their BESS licence.

Assessors gain the endorsement of Waka Kotahi and NZHHA so validate that they have had suitable on-road experience of BESS to be able to address any questions from candidates that arise during the training and assessment process.


  1. That new assessors have the required industry experience to assess candidates for BESS
  2. That new assessors have the appropriate standing within the industry, and the appropriate compliance history to gain the respect of industry operators and Waka Kotahi.

Assessor criteria and evidence requirements


Minimum evidence

Applicant must hold Unit Standard 23436

Provide NZQA assessment record

Applicant must hold current BESS licence issued by Waka Kotahi

Copy of current BESS licence and drivers licence

Applicant must have a minimum of 5 years’ experience of carrying out BESS

BESS licence date when first gained

Written evidence from employers, clients about driving work including BESS undertaken for them – length of time, number of loads

Applicant not a Waka Kotahi employee/sub-contractor

Documentation of current employer

Applicant has good driving/infringement history

Traffic infringement history is acceptable

Applicant must have endorsement from NZHHA

Letter from CEO of NZHHA

Applicant must have endorsement from Waka Kotahi

Letter from Waka Kotahi

Endorsement process

  1. Assessor applicant provides evidence to NZHHA
  2. NZHHA carried out assessment of the applicant’s evidence to ensure that evidence is sufficient and meets the criteria.
  3. NZHHA provides report to Waka Kotahi documenting the Applicant’s attainment (or otherwise) against the criteria.
  4. If evidence and applicant is deemed as suitable then NZHHA and Waka Kotahi sign an endorsement letter that can be provided by the Applicant to MITO.
  5. It is expected that the application will be considered within 2 weeks of all the information being provided.

If you have any questions, please contact the BESS administrator(external link)

Frequently asked questions about BESS

I’m a manager/director of a heavy transport company. Is there a way I can monitor my drivers?

BESS-registered drivers can be monitored through Transport Organisation Register Online (TORO).

TORO information

What should I do if a bridge is damaged?

If you notice any damage when you cross a bridge or culvert, you should notify the Network Manager at the regional Waka Kotahi office as soon as possible but in any event no later than 24 hours after the crossing.

If it is an emergency, then you must immediately notify the police.

If you have any questions, please contact the BESS administrator(external link).