Homebuilt camper. Legal Information, Requirements and Rules for Camper Vans DVLA

Discussion in 'Mech Tech' started by Zebedee, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. Taken from the DVLA website. From the sound of it they are gonna get even more strict next year, so a panel van with a full camping interior can't be classed as a camper because it doesn't look like one.

    Legal Information, Requirements and Rules for Camper Vans DVLA

    Update: March 2011 - Many people applying to have vehicles re-registered as "Motor Caravans" with the DVLA are being refused, as their vehicle does "Not look like a motor caravan from the outside". The DVLA are then re-classifying the vehicles as "Vans with windows". Apparently this is a problem for the Police and other authorities, who cannot identify converted vehicles easily from the outside. This page will be updated when new information is confirmed.

    If you are converting a van to a campervan or motorhome then you need to consider whether you want to re-register the vehicle with your vehicle authority.

    In the UK

    In the UK you have the option of re-registering your van as a "motor caravan" with the DVLA. It is not a requirement to re-register the vehicle. You can continue to use the vehicle as a campervan, even if it is still registered as a "panel van", assuming you have adequate (i.e. campervan) insurance.

    Why Re-register as a "Motor Caravan"?

    Although you do not need to re-register a campervan conversion, here are the befeits of doing so

    Cheaper Insurance - Generally leisure vehicles such as campervans are cheaper to insure the panel vans. This is because they generally have fewer claims, do fewer miles and are not used for commercial use. Keep in mind that you can still get your self build insured as a campervan even if the vehicle is registered as a panel van. Campervan insurance is generally 10% - 50% cheaper than van insurance.

    Contents Insurance - Vehicles registered as campervans generally have better contents insurance than panel vans. This is because a campervan contains personal belongings such as mobile phone, laptops, jewellery, etc. Whereas a panel van typically contains tools and parts for commercial use.

    Might be able to travel faster - Vans with an unladen weight of under 3050kg can travel at a maximum of 60mph on a dual carriageway. But this increases to 70mph on a dual carriageway for vehicles registered as campervans. All other speed limits remain the same. Vehicles with a unladen weight over 3050kg (i.e. all 3500kg vans) have no change in speed limit when re-registering as a campervan.

    Cheaper MOT - Class VII vehicles (between 3000kg and 3500kg) registered as camper vans come under the cheaper and less restriction Class IV MOT rules. When inspecting the vehicle the MOT tester has to test the vehicle "as it is presented". So if a campervan is presented, that would normally be class VII, even if it is not re-registered as a campervan, the MOT tester should test is as class IV vehicle.

    Change of Vehicle Classification

    If you decide that you want to re-register your van as a campervan you should contact your local vehicle authority. In the UK this is the DVLA.

    Before doing this make sure you vehicle meets all of the criteria mentioned below.
    What makes a 'Motor Caravan'?

    For a vehicle to qualify as a 'Motor Caravan' in the UK in the eyes of the DVLA the following permanent fixtures must be present:

    Sleeping Accommodation

    There must be a bed with a minimum length of 6ft or 180cms
    The bed must be an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation area
    The bed must be permanent or converted from seats (the bed can fold away during the day)
    The bed fixtures must be secured directly to the vehicle floor and/or side walls, unless it is over the drivers cab compartment.

    There must be a horizontal sliding door or an outward opening rear or side door.

    Seats and Tables
    There must be a seating area for diners to sit around
    The table can be fixed or detachable
    The table must mount directly to the vehicle floor or side walls
    The table mounting must be secured as a permanent feature, either bolted screwed or welded. The table itself can be detachable.
    Seats must be secured directly to the vehicle floor and/or side walls
    The seats must be secured as a permanent fixture, either bolted, riveted, screwed or welded
    Permanently secured seating must be available for use at a table

    Water Container
    Note: DVLA do not state any requirements regarding water storage. However, most insurance companies state that the water tank should be onboard, or under the chassis. However, some insurance companies are happy with an external water container that can be moved, such as those used with a caravan.
    The vehicle must have an onboard or external (e,g, under the chassis) water container
    Note: The insurer Adrian Flux requires the water container to hold 6 gallons / 27 litres.

    The vehicle must have at least one cupboard, locker or wardrobe
    The cupboard must be an integral part of the living accommodation area
    The cupboard must be a permanent feature, either bolted, riveted, screwed or welded
    The cupboard must be secured directly to the vehicle floor and / or side walls


    The vehicle must have cooking facilities powered by fixed gas, electric hob or microwave oven
    The cooking facilities must be secured directly to the vehicle floor or side wall
    The cooking facilities must be a permanent feature, either bolted, riveted, screwed or welded
    Gas and electric hobs must have a minimum or 2 cooking rings. Microwave ovens must have a power source (don't just fit one that can't be used)
    Gas cooking facilities with remote fuel supplies must have the gas supply pipe permanently secured to the vehicle structure
    Gas cooking facilities with remote fuel supplies should have the gas bottle, fuel reservoir secured to the vehicle structure


    The vehicle must have at least one side window
    New! Since 2011 the DVLA are now asking that the vehicle look like a motor caravan from the outside. The details are yet unclear what is required. More information will appear here when available.

    How to Change a Vans Classification to Camper Van or Motorhome in the UK

    In the UK, changing the classification of a van to a campervan or motorhome is fairly straightforward. The following information is based on real experience, correct at the time of the re-classification. This serves as a good guide, but please contact the DVLA and/or VOSA to confirm the rules regarding your vehicle.

    When your conversion is complete, and your van is now (nearly) a camper van or motorhome you need to contact the DVLA and inform them.

    You should change your V5C (log book) document and return it to them. You need to change the vehicle body type to "Motor Caravan". Motor Caravan is the term used by the DVLA for campervans and motorhomes. See the DirectGov website for details on changing your V5 document.

    You should also include a covering letter, briefly covering what you have done to the vehicle. Also include photographs of your converted vehicle. Dont include too many. Between 10 and 20 are required. Do ensure that you include the vehicles number plate in a shot of the front of the vehicle, and a shot of the back ofthe vehicle. From the photos the DVLA can see if you have done a good conversion to the vehicle, or simply thrown a mattress in the back.

    Send the paperwork to:
    SA99 1BA

    If you have done a good conversion, and the DVLA are satisfied they will return a new V5 document to you, with the body type changed.

    However, if they are unsure of your conversion they will ask you to visit the local DVLA inspection office. An agent will inspect the vehicle before recommending any change of documentation.

    The DVLA do not publish strict guidelines for the above. However, The Department of Transport do publish a strict 'motor caravan' definition for vehicles that are being imported. Click here, and scroll down to 'Motor caravan'. It's likely the DVLA also use the same guidelines. However, the strict definitions here are, it seems, open to some interpretation.

    When to Change the Vehicle Classification

    You should change the classification of your vehicle from 'Panel Van' to 'Motor Caravan' when your conversion is nearly complete, once the major fittings are in place (bed, kitchen) and it looks neat and tidy. Once you think you satisfy all of the conditions mentioned above, contact the DVLA and start the re-classification process.

    You don't want any vehicle inspectors to think it is not finished, so ensure it looks finished before you apply for the change.

    Don't worry about finishing touches, you can always complete these once the vehicle is re-registered.

    Once your vehicle has been officially re-classified by the DVLA, you will need to change your insurance. Your original insurance will be for a 'Panel Van', and your vehicle is no longer one. So you need to cancel your existing policy, and get a new policy for a Camper van.
  2. rickyrooo1

    rickyrooo1 Hanging round like a bad smell

    Good post, there is also an article on this in the latest Camper and Bus mag.
  3. Wow!

    So I own a 77 Devon. This was once a panel van that they converted. I presume they would have registered it as a camper? But I spent 2 years driving round without any cupboards or cooker. Does that mean I was being a naughty boy, or does it not apply if it was already registered as a camper?


  4. Can it really be true that Adrian Flux requires me to have a 6 gallon water container? ???
  5. rickyrooo1

    rickyrooo1 Hanging round like a bad smell

  6. Perhaps a large sticker on the side of a panel van declaring that:


    Would clear up any confusion and adhere to the DVLA's new regs?
  7. My v5 just states delivery van. Neaver thought about it. Insurance companies have neaver asked if it's a van our camper. Mines not got fixed cooker to it.
  8. rickyrooo1

    rickyrooo1 Hanging round like a bad smell

  9. Cheers for the post zeb dude
  10. One of my mates got done a while back for speeding with his camper as it was still registered as a van on the V5 so was limited to 50mph on a single carriageway. I was in my westy infront and doing nearly 60 and got nothing.

    I didn't even know there was a difference in speed limits until then. :eek:

    According to the DVLA, a bay van (or camper still registered as a goods vehicle on V5) is limited to 50mph on single carriageway and 60 on dual carriageway.
    If registered as a camper or motor caravan etc on V5 then its 60 and 70 respectively.

    I think you've gotta be pretty unlucky to be done though.
  11. Birdy

    Birdy Not Child Friendly

    It's because retro is back in and those in the offices are trying to justify their wages so creating things to do. What they all want and expect are our camper vans to look like these :)

  12. Thats a Jurgens Autovilla isn't it? :)
  14. I think my log book just says van so ill have to get that changed once the camper is back on the road

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