Plan Your Van
A good way to start planning your conversion is to make a simple list of priorities. Things you feel you must have in your van then things you would like to have.
Do you need a single bunk or a four berth van?
Do you require a full kitchen with oven, grill, hot & cold running water in a sink with drainer, along with a separate washroom & shower? Or would you prefer a camping stove with a washing up bowl and a store-away Porta-Potti?
How will you be using your van? Will you be ‘wild camping’ or using official sites with full facilities, or both. The answer to that question could help you decide if you need to incorporate a 240v mains hook up system or whether a high amp hour 12v system might be vital to your build.
It’s worth having a look around motorhome dealers vans to get an idea of layouts and sizes. It’s also a great boost to see the £30,000 plus sale price in the window of a used camper van while walking away in the knowledge that you’ll be having a van, tailored to your needs, for a fraction of that! Motorhome magazines can be another source of inspiration but it’s unlikely that you’ll find anywhere with a greater number of examples of unique vans than on our very own website. Have a look at the pictures in the photo pages. These include photos of conversions built by members and non members of the club. There’s also a photo gallery on the SBMCC forum with many more pictures of vans undergoing conversion.
It’s also worth noting that the DVLA and many insurance companies dictate what a conversion should include for it to be called a camper van, motorhome or more correctly a ‘motor caravan’. We have reproduced the list of requirements from the DVLA at the end of this page.
You can get catalogues from various product suppliers, many of which will include accurate measurements of various appliances and these will help you plan your build.
Unless you already have the van that you are intending to convert then you are not going to get an accurate plan drawn up at this stage, but knowing approximately how much space to allow for the things you want to include in your van will certainly tell you whether a short wheelbase van will be adequate for your needs or if you will be looking at longer vans.
The real beauty of self build is that you plan and then build, exactly what you want in your van.
The SBMCC has negotiated with a number of suppliers who are willing to offer discounts for members, check the SBMCC members discounts area in the forum to see what’s available.
DVLA requirements for a van to be classified as a ‘Motor caravan’