Work with plastic and composite components in an automotive environment

Business Sectors (Suites): Vehicle Paint Refinishing
Developed by: IMI
Approved on: 30 Mar 2023


​This standard is about preparing a range of plastic components to accept foundation materials and top coats.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

P1 identify the correct preparation *method as per the vehicle manufacturer’s specification
P2 use the appropriate personal protective equipment when carrying out all surface *preparation activities*
P3 protect the vehicle and its contents effectively when carrying out all surface preparation activities*
P4 select, check and use the correct tools and equipment for the type of surface preparation activities *you are carrying out 
P5 ensure that the tools and equipment you require are in a safe working condition 
P6 identify the plastic components accurately and check compatibility for refinishing prior to undertaking any preparation work 
P7 ensure the finished surface is suitable to accept the next process during *preparation activities
P8 follow the work instructions given for the job correctly 
P9 clean and protect all surfaces adjacent to those being prepared using the specified method 
P10 promptly and accurately report any unrecorded damage to surfaces and ancillary fittings to the relevant person(s) 
P11 remove and store safely any components likely to be affected by the preparation process (where appropriate) referring to manufacturer’s methods
P12 keep your work area clean and tidy throughout all preparation *activities *
P13 prepare all the panel surfaces required following health and safety requirements and using:

P13.1 suitable materials for the type of surface
P13.2 the approved method and technique
P13.3 the approved tools and equipment
P14 Ensure all prepared areas are free from contamination and ready for the application of foundation and top coat materials
P15 dispose of waste materials to conform with legal, environmental and workplace requirements
P16 leave tools, equipment  and work environment in a clean and serviceable condition, as appropriate
P17 complete all vehicle preparation activities within the agreed timescale and to an agreed quality control process
P18 promptly report any anticipated delays in completion to the relevant person(s) 

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

K1 the health, safety and legal requirements relating to the preparation of plastic surfaces for foundation and top coats 
K2 the implications of static when working with plastic components 
K3 your workplace procedures for:

K3.1 the referral of problems
K3.2 the reporting of delays to the completion of work
K3.3 the completion of work records
K3.4 the use of personal protection
K4 the work that needs to be done and the standard required 
K5 the importance of promptly reporting anticipated delays to the relevant person(s) 
K6 the requirements for protecting the vehicle and contents from damage before, during and after the foundation and top coat preparation process 
K7 the importance of selecting, using and maintaining the appropriate personal and vehicle protective equipment when preparing plastic surfaces for foundation and top coats 
K8 the relationship between time, cost and productivity 
K9 how to select, adjust and use the correct tools and equipment within the plastic preparation process 
K10 how to recognise damage to surfaces and ancillary fittings 
K11 how to test and recognise plastics and assess suitability for repair 
K12 how to rectify substrate defects 
K13 how the substrate affects the preparation *process 
K14 how to source, use and understand the vehicle manufacturer's  methods and limitations 
K15 how to prepare new and repaired *plastics using the correct techniques 
K16 how to carry out repair procedures to avoid material wastage and vehicle contamination for each stage of the preparation process 
K17 how to prepare and protect panels and parts adjacent to the area being painted 
K18 the factors governing the choice of panel preparation methods for substrate materials 
K19 the types and grades of available abrasives and the factors governing their use for different plastics 
K20 the importance of following manufacturers' methods and using their approved techniques of working (including use of materials and equipment) 
K21 the consequences of failing to follow manufacturers' methods and processes 
K22 the importance of working to agreed timescales and keeping others informed 
K23 how to work safely avoiding damage to vehicles, personal injury and injury to colleagues 
K24 how to dispose of waste materials in compliance with any environmental requirements/legislation and workplace procedures 
K25 the importance of disposing of waste safely and the consequences of not doing so to the business, others and the environment 
K26 the implications of not following an agreed quality control process


1. **Plastic** includes:

1.1. plastic components
1.2. composite components

2. Preparation activities include:

2.1. abrasives
2.2. feathering out
2.3. flatting 
2.4. using guide coats
2.5. de-greasing
2.6. conditioning
2.7. adhesion promoter
2.8. masking for foundation and top coats
2.9. tack off techniques

Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2026





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Automotive Paint Technician, Engineering, Senior Automotive Paint Technician, Vehicle Trades

SOC Code



Plastic; composite; components; static; motor; automotive; vehicle; environment