Converting your Luton van into a cosy home on wheels can be an exciting project to spice up your adventurous van life. But before jumping right into it, are there legal and regulatory requirements in Luton van construction? Getting this knowledge is crucial as it will ensure that your newly converted van meets all safety standards while avoiding any legal hiccups.
We’ll review the key regulatory requirements surrounding Luton van conversions in the UK.
Is Luton Van Construction Legal?
Yes, you can modify your Luton van into whatever you need to use it for. However, whether doing a campervan conversion or for a mobile business, you shouldn’t tamper with the van’s cab, framework, or engine. Every other form of modification is allowed provided it doesn’t pose a risk of danger to the passengers or other road users.
There are no regulations specifically for Luton van conversions. Instead, the DVLA has general regulations for all types of conversions with a list of vehicles covered. Luckily, Luton van makes the list, which means you’re free to do your construction as long as it adheres to the legal regulatory requirements.
Once done with your conversion, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) expects the new vehicle to meet certain requirements both internally and externally.
Understanding the Regulations for Luton Van Conversion
In the past few years, the UK has recorded a growth in the number of campervan conversions. This led the DVLA to modify the regulations surrounding campervan registration in October 2019. If you’re planning to convert your Luton van, then be sure that meet those requirements. The first step is understanding the new category of your Luton van after the conversion. The conversion could become a motorhome, campervan, panel van with accommodation, or something different.
A Luton van conversion turns it into a recreational vehicle. It therefore must meet certain requirements regarding carrying passengers. These requirements are listed under Regulation 100 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use). Regulations of 1986 state that how a vehicle is used for recreation shouldn’t pose a danger to the passengers or other road users.
Regarding the capacity of the passengers allowed, Regulation 100 doesn’t specify the limit. However, vehicle manufacturers often specify this requirement. That means your Luton van construction should be that it doesn’t exceed the passenger capacity as advised by the manufacturer. Failure to do that, you may find yourself in breach of these regulations.
DVLA Requirements on Campervan Conversion
The DVLA changed the requirements for registering a campervan as a motor caravan in October 2019. Among the requirements, a camper conversion should have a Luton van, light van, box van, insulated van, panel van, minibus, livestock carrier, or multipurpose vehicle as the base vehicle. That means your V5 certificate must indicate that your vehicle is one of these types.
Other than that, the vehicle for the conversion must have these requirements:
- Storage – You need a storage facility of any sort, such as a locker, cabinet, or cupboard. The facility should be part of the living space and permanently secured to the sidewall or the floor. The only exception is if the storage is under the sleeping berth, cooker, or seat.
- Cooking facilities – Your Luton van conversion must have a cooking facility. You could go for a single-ring stove, microwave, or any other suitable cooking facility. It should be fixed permanently to the sidewall or the floor of the vehicle. Where the gas supply is on board the vehicle, the reservoir should be safely secured in a storage solution attached to the vehicle’s framework. If your gas supply is remotely sourced, the supply pipe should be secured permanently to the vehicle.
- Door – Additional door for accessing the camper van’s living quarters. It should be different from the passenger and driver doors.
- Awning bar – This should be attached to the sides of the vehicle for canopy attachment.
- Fixed seats and table – The new conversion should have at least a table and a seat to make the van life more practical. Each should be mounted separately and permanently secured but you can also opt for a detachable tabletop. The seats must be secured to the sidewall or the floor but be easily accessible.
- Sleeping accommodation – Just like the table and seats, the bed must also be secured permanently to the floor’s base framework or the sidewall. The only exception to this is if your berth/bed is over the cab.
- Windows – At least two windows, one on each side of the vehicle’s body. This excludes driver windows. This requirement is to let light into the living space.
- Roof – The conversion must have a high-top roof.
- Caravan-style graphics – DVLA hasn’t specified what these decals on each side of the vehicle are for, but it’s just a requirement.
In addition, any equipment that you bring onboard must be restrained or secured to prevent possible dangers to the passengers. There shouldn’t be a danger of falling objects either. That requires that every facility, including storage cabinets, seats, bed, table, and appliances must be fixed to the vehicle.
Once the conversion is complete, ensure that you’ve taken photos of every important detail as DVLA may need evidence to approve your V5C change application.
Registering your Luton Van Conversion with the DVLA
While there are legal and regulatory requirements in Luton van construction, there’s no law demanding that you register the conversion. You can start using your new conversion right away without registering it as a campervan. However, it must have proper insurance coverage. So, that begs the question of why you should register your new campervan with the DVLA.
Most owners register their vehicles because it opens opportunities to make savings on travel costs and insurance.
Less expensive insurance
Re-registering your Luton van conversion as a “motor caravan” allows you to get more affordable insurance coverage. This is because campervans are rarely on the road compared to other vehicles and are more likely to make fewer claims. They also cover less mileage and are most free from the risks associated with commercial vehicles.
Extensive vehicle content insurance
After converting your Luton van into a campervan, it will carry more valuable items such as appliances and laptops. Unlike an ordinary Luton van used for delivery, your conversion will attract better vehicle content insurance.
Reduced toll and ferry costs
Motor campervans tend to attract a lower fee at ferries and toll stations. So, if you want to lower your travel costs, registering your conversion as a campervan will help you cut such expenses.
Higher speed limit
Campervans weighing 3,050kg or less without load, are allowed to cruise up to 70 miles an hour on dual carriageways. On the other hand, panel and Luton vans are restricted to 60mph. Any campervan that weighs more than 3,050kg is restricted to the 60mph speed limit.
Best Luton Vans for Campervan Conversion
Now that you’re conversant with the legal and regulatory requirements in Luton van construction, what are the best options for a base vehicle? While there are plenty of Luton vans worth considering as a base vehicle, your choice should be reliable, versatile, and functional.
First off, choosing a Luton van as your base vehicle means that you’re building something long-term and very serious about the project. That’s because with every addition to the vehicle comes additional weight, which might hinder the performance of the van. That being said, you need a sturdy Luton van with extra stealth to handle the weight.
Here are some of the most popular Luton vans that make excellent base vehicles for conversion:
Renault Master Luton
Want a Luton van with the highest payload? The Renault Master offers a stunning 1,238kg payload. In addition to that, its 22 cubic metre load volume can accommodate a sleeping area, seats, table, and storage space. After doing all this, you’ll have enough space left to bring on board other luxuries for a cosier home on wheels.
Ford Transit Luton
An excellent alternative Luton van for your campervan conversion is the Ford Transit Luton. Although it offers a slightly lower payload compared to Renault Master, this van is versatile and spacious enough to accommodate your requirements. The 1,016kg payload allows you to carry the essential facilities and its powerful EcoBoost engine will keep the weight moving swiftly.
Volkswagen Crafter Luton
Want a lightweight Luton van with a powerful payload? The VW Crafter Luton is an excellent conversion choice due to its durability and modern design. It’s built from lightweight GRP and aluminium to maximise its payload. It also packs numerous features that aid in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements during the conversion process. The 1,000kg payload allows you to pack just enough for a simple adventure like a fishing trip.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Luton
While some people may not consider the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Luton, it makes a fairly good base van for conversion. That’s because they’re a bit more expensive to acquire and come with more maintenance demands. Also, they’re not the best when it comes to longevity and hence require a little more attention than other vans. Granted, this Luton van isn’t bad either, especially when new. Its engineering is marvellous and can serve any conversion need so long as they’re well taken care of.
If you’re new to Luton van construction and aren’t sure which van makes the best base vehicle, let an expert help you. Talk to expert consultants about choosing an ideal van that meets your budget and campervan needs and preferences.
Luton vans make an excellent choice for conversion if you’re thinking about building yourself a campervan. Their biggest pro is that you can transfer the box onto another base vehicle should the initial vehicle break down or die of old age. Before commencing the conversion, it’s worth understanding the legal and regulatory requirements in Luton van construction.
Check the legal regulatory requirements highlighted in this article to understand what’s required for a successful Luton van conversion. After finalising the construction, be sure to register the van with the DVLA as a campervan to get better insurance coverage and other benefits.