National Highways Sector Schemes (NHSS) are bespoke quality management systems for organisations working on the UK road network. They are based on the ISO 9001 standard, but do not duplicate them.

There are currently more than 20 individual schemes. They cover activities ranging from fencing, landscaping and vehicle safety restraints to road surfacing and marking, and traffic management.

If your company supplies services to Highways England under the Specification for Highways Works (SHW), you must be certified under all the relevant schemes for the work you are carrying out.

The schemes aim to make sure that work is carried out to the highest standards of professionalism, using properly trained staff. They also place a strong emphasis on health and safety.


NHSS are quality management schemes for organisations working on the UK’s road network. They are based on the ISO 9001 framework, but interpret it specifically to highways maintenance activities.

NHSS includes more than 20 individual schemes. Each scheme is developed and managed by technical advisory committees. The membership of each committee is made up of industry representatives and other interested parties, such as local authorities, trade associations and certification bodies.

Individual NHSS schemes come under four main categories:

  • road surfacing and marking
  • fencing, landscaping and vehicle safety restraints
  • traffic management
  • lighting, electronics and corrosion protection

A list of current schemes can be found on the Schedule of Suppliers website. This is updated when new schemes are added or scheme titles changed.

You can view a list NHSS documents here

Each scheme has a set of Sector Scheme Documents (SSDs). These describe the minimum standards you will need to meet before you can be certified under that scheme, including:

  • detailed training and competency requirements
  • quality plan requirements
2ADesign and/or Supply, Installation and Repair of Fences for Infrastructure Works
2B and 5BVehicle Restraint Systems
2CEnvironmental Barriers (Structural) for Infrastructure Works
3Stocking and Distribution activities for Mechanical Fasteners
3BStocking and Distribution Activities for Structural Steel Products
4Preservative Treatment and Supply of Treated Timber
6Minor Structures
7Application of Road Making Materials & Road Studs to Paved Surfaces
8The Overseeing and / or Installation and / or Maintenance of Highway Electrical Equipment and Supporting Works
9The Design, and/or Manufacture and/or Assembly and/or Provision of Permanent Road Traffic Signs
10AThe Manufacture of Metallic Legacy Vehicle Restraint Systems
10BPermanent Vehicle Restraint Systems Incorporating NHSS2B & NHSS5B
12A/12BStatic Temporary Traffic Management on Motorways and High Speed Dual Carriageways, Including On-Line Widening Schemes
12CMobile Lane Closure Traffic Management on Motorways and Other Dual Carriageways
12DInstalling, Maintaining and Removing Temporary Traffic Management on rural and urban roads
13Supply and Application of Surface Treatments to Road Surfaces
16Quality Management of the Laying of Asphalt Mixes
17/17BVehicle Recovery at Highway Construction Sites (NHSS 17) and Vehicle Recovery and Removal on Control Roads including storage (NHSS 17B)
18Natural Environment and Landscape Including Ecology for Infrastructure
19ACorrosion Protection of Ferrous Materials by Industrial Coatings
20Execution of Steelwork in Transportation Infrastructure Assets
22Management, Operation, Installation and Maintenance of Road Tunnels
23Small Scale Pavement Repairs
29ALand Drilling – Geothermal Drilling
30Installation, Maintenance and Repair of Modular Paving

Certification of suppliers is carried out by certification bodies, which in turn are accredited by the UKAS. Each body carries out certification activities for at least one individual NHSS scheme.

If your business supplies services covered by NHSS to Highways England, you must be registered under all the relevant schemes for that work.

This is a mandatory requirement under the SHW, unless the contract documents state otherwise.

If your business subcontracts the work, you do not have to be registered but any subcontractors you use must be. The SHW does not allow subcontractors to provide services under the umbrella of another registered supplier.

NHSS will be relevant to your business if it includes any of the following:

  • main contractors and subcontractors who work on the motorway or trunk road network
  • contractors or subcontractors that work on or beside roads, including those involved in landscaping work
  • manufacturers, installers and repairers of products covered by a scheme
  • highway designers and consultants

The schemes may also be relevant if your business is involved in the development of industrial, commercial, or private land or property, or carries out work on railways or inland waterways – especially if this is near a road, or adjacent to one.


Eryri Consulting Limited are a professional ISO consultancy company based in North Wales. Our team are dedicated to supporting you and your business, no matter your size. We can help your organisation get certified and registered under the NHSS, which could be included with your ISO Audit.

If you have an existing ISO 9001:2015 Certification, we can integrate the requirements of the specific NHSS into your management system.

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