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Virgin territory: Gone are the back street botch jobs. Laws on conversions are much tighter now

Since the ‘Whole Vehicle Type Approval’ laws came into effect in April 2013, the van conversion market has changed considerably.

Whole vehicle type approval

Gone are the days of the “back street bodybuilder” fitting the longest dropside unit that they could get away with on any given chassis for, say, a local scaffolding business.

Type Approval’s aim was to ensure that each conversation confirms to an acceptable standard of safety and it has certainly helped to clean up the industry – as well as added to the administration burden industry.

Today, any conversion that will increase your vehicle’s original footprint will require a Type Approval certificate before the vehicle can be registered to use on the road. The most popular vehicles that fall into this bracket are tippers, dropside/luton and box van conversions.

Off the shelf van conversions

Since the new legislation came into effect, vehicle manufacturers have expanded their off the shelf conversion range, with most manufacturers now having a relationship with a UK bodybuilder so that they can offer a standard length tipper, dropside/luton conversion.

An advantage of these vehicles is they are usually covered by the same three year warranty as the vehicle (rather than the one year warranty that you would most usually receive on an aftermarket conversion). However, most off the shelf conversions are restricted to a handful of body dimensions, so if you’re after something more specialist you may struggle to find something suitable.

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