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Mercedes Sprinter tipper
Conversions that affect the structure of a van – like a tipper – now need a type approval certificate

BUSINESSES wanting a new converted van need to plan well ahead.

That’s the message from industry experts more than four months after new type approval laws for van conversions came into effect.

The fallout from the new laws means that many businesses face a longer-than-expected wait to take delivery of their new converted vans.

don’t leave it to the last minute to order your new van conversion.

The testing network that now has to approve conversions is over-stretched and that is causing delays. This is on top of the extra bureaucracy that the converters must now handle, which only adds to delays.


So what are the new laws about van conversions?

Laws about van conversions changed at the end April.

Vans up to 3.5 tonnes registered after 29 April require official approval for modifications made to them. This is because they now come under the – big breath – European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval or ECWVTA regulations.

It isn’t as scary as it sounds. Original, all-encompassing, strict proposals were relaxed after lobbying by industry bodies like the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) and the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association (VBRA).

simple modifications such as ply lining and racking are exempt

As a result, simple modifications such as ply lining and racking are exempt. They are regarded as part of the vehicle payload and do not need separate approval. They fall under what is known as the Van Enhancement Scheme.

Here’s the official wording on that:

“Modifications to the vehicle which are of a semi-permanent or temporary nature (ie not welded to the vehicle structure) can generally be treated as part of the vehicle payload. In addition, certain temporary modifications on the exterior of the vehicle, such as access steps, roof racks/bars, are to be treated in the same way. Hence it is not necessary to obtain any specific approval to cover these kind of modifications.”

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