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Discussion Starter #1
Just a heads up for those currently converting their vans. It's been quiet here of late but no doubt plenty still lurking and reading the build threads.

It's been known since late summer 2019 that the DVLA were suddenly refusing nearly all reclassifications to motor caravan based on external appearances not meeting their standards. Even companies who had been doing full vw pop top builds were getting knocked back.

In October they finally published their new external criteria for conversion (copied below).

No doubt this will be a blow to many of us on here since we are generally converting smaller low roof vans and most don't opt for decals. This basically means if you're doing a non h2/hightop or a stealth conversion the best you can get reclassified to is "van with windows".

The big catch is that you will have to then watch your speed as you'll be subject to the lower van speed limits.

Insurance may be a problem as some van policies can explicitly forbid use as a campervan, and yet campervan insurance requires the DVLA type change to motor caravan. Could leave some in a very grey area unless they read the fine print.

On the upside it now means you can essentially forget the DVLA requirements for things like 2 side windows, plumbed gas and water, table, bed sizes etc. So you can enjoy the freedom of building a van how it suits you.

New external requirements:

Motor caravan external permanent features
This list describes the external features which are commonly seen in motor caravans, and it is intended to provide guidance on what DVLA expects to see when considering your application:
  • 2 or more windows on at least one side of the main body (this does not include windows on the driver or passenger doors) to provide a reasonable amount of daylight into the living accommodation
  • a separate door which provides access to the living accommodation of the vehicle (this excludes the driver and passenger doors); a window on this door counts as a separate window on the main body
  • motor caravan-style graphics on both sides of the vehicle
  • an awning bar attached to either side of the vehicle
  • a high-top roof (this does not include a pop-top elevating roof)
 

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The graphics stipulation is very wooly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The whole guidance is a bit contradictory and open to interpretation. It first of all states that ALL camper van / motor home type vehicles MUST be reclassified by law, yet in effect goes on to say that most campervans, new or DIY, would be refused reclassification.

I also can't find any detail on how the different speed limits are applied, for example by traffic cops or ANPR / average speed gantries. Is it based on the body type held by the DVLA? Or is it based on the type of use?

From the grapevine it seems the DVLA have done this to enable the charging of the new tax on factory built motorhomes, but are turning a blind eye to the massive can of worms they have opened when it comes to smaller vans and conversions.
 

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So what's changed?
Like the dvla brief states,,,,
"It is to provide GUIDANCE when CONSIDERING reclassification.
Keep converting low roof Van's and as long as it meet the criteria it should get reclassified.
Put on some simple tastefull graphics to STOP it looking like a PANEL van,and it should be ok.
 

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Screenshot_20200108-124221_Drive.jpg so,if you tick the first 2 or 3 of the required combination of external features commonly expected to be found,
The van should pass
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So what's changed?
Like the dvla brief states,,,,
"It is to provide GUIDANCE when CONSIDERING reclassification.
Keep converting low roof Van's and as long as it meet the criteria it should get reclassified.
Put on some simple tastefull graphics to STOP it looking like a PANEL van,and it should be ok.
Sadly this is not the case. Companies doing VWs with the pop top, vents and water fillers on the body, awning rails, the lot, are now coming back as "van with windows".

Brand new factory built VW Californias are now registered as "mpv"
 

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Well it's perfectly simple.
If new van conversions are coming back as van with windows,
Then the converter hasn't fulfilled the dvla requirements.
Older Van's are still able to be converted and reclassified as motor caravan,providing the guidelines are followed.
The page from the dvla is the newest latest one
 

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It is indeed guidance which means it isn’t the law. However DVLA are judge jury and executioner.
There is no list of requirements as such. There is only guidance and personally, for what it’s worth, I would prefer an actual definitive list of requirements because then it isn’t open to interpretation.
It does say the features which they expect to see but doesn’t say that it’s a menu system whereby it must have, for example, 4 out of 5.
If you look at the form (and we may be reading too much into the wording thereof) says that “evidence that your vehicle has a “combination” of the following permanent et cetera”.
It doesn’t say how many and it doesn’t say what the combination is. It’s interesting that it specifically says that elevating roof and pop tops are not included. Why anyone would want to put a pop top or elevating roof on their builders van to go laying bricks, then only the DVLA can presumably imagine.
It does say “motor caravan style graphics”. No definition of what that is do we just put some wording such as, “WankaCampa” and it fulfils the criteria?
I think it still comes down to the individual opinion of the individual person at DVLA who was cutting grass last week. Or who should have been. Or- who probably was.
 

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Yes your last post is bang on,
However ,for the purpose of the law ,and criteria for granting change of description ,
Is the following statement ,which is not open to interpretation .
"What does the vehicle LOOK like when parked stationary in traffic?"
If it LOOKS like a "van with windows"
Then that's what it is going to be,regardless of the 20000 interior conversion.
It has to (with suitable external graphics),,, give the appearance of something other than a stealth van with windows.
It has to look like a camper,simple.
However ,I agree,it could well depend on what side of the bed they got out of in the morning too.
But , the whole re grading is really about NEW REG campers now being classed as cars ,rather than vans for V.E.D. purposes
For the man in the street
It is fundamentally "as you were"
converting a second hand standard height panel van into a motor caravan
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It is not so much the body type classification that is causing pushback (I have no problem having just a van with windows) but the resulting confusion around speed limits and insurance as there is no clear documentation on how these should be applied.

I don't think it's right that I could be driving a vehicle and not be able to work out legal limits because the wording is so woolly.

I also don't think it's right that a change in visual record of vehicles can make a whole raft of them uninsurable or under insured.

People are trying to do the right thing, it's not about shortcuts or dodging the law.

Furthermore it won't help police identify vehicles any better than before considering there are likely thousands of vans already going about under the motor caravan type that look nothing like campers.

To aid introduction of new tax perhaps it would have been cleaner to introduce a new body type for vehicles affected by it rather than jerry rig the existing system to fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If it was that simple there would be no issue. DVLA themselves say the body type has no bearing on speed limits, as you say it is only for visual identification.
 

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It's also the case that on selling, notifying change of address and changing to/from a personalised registration V5s are coming back as van with window to the new or existing owner.
The only real difference is dropping 10mph on non motorways 70/60 and 60/50. Vans on my by-pass are getting speeding tickets for over 60mph, me, even on the empty motorways in Spain I stick to 60ish.
Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I wonder how they are re-evaluating vans when updating v5, as they would need to keep the photos on scanned file and do a reassessment for every v5 update.. doing extra work for nothing doesn't sound like the DVLA we know :D

I find the speed limit thing a big deal. Travelling from Scotland to Dover involves lots of random switching between motorway, dual carriage way and single track and on an 8 hour drive it turns your head to mush trying to remember what speeds you shouldn't be doing!

Also 3 hours up the A9 past the average speed gantries is a massive drag at 50 with cars (and campervans!) up your arse all day.

Glad I got the type change done when I did! I suppose I'll be keeping this van forever :D
 

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And there is mee lookin for a vivaro van to convert into a festival sleeper/party wagon. Nice one for this info i shall read it all later ✌
 

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I know what you mean, sold My T5 in April and now I find my self going over the limit sometimes and think two lane 50, dual carriageway 60, the rest as normal. I want cruise with a limiter(never used the one I had for limiting), seen a diy for |£225, will probably go for that as it's perfect in europes motorways where our limits don't apply.
 
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