Guide to certify your van step by step

If you’ve clicked here to read the post, you probably have in mind making a camper van or maybe you’ve already set off on this crazy adventure. We know that all the paperwork to certify the van can be a pain in the ass and that it’s caused more than one person to back off. We aren’t going to lie, we had a rough time. We spent hours and hours looking for information, getting in touch with different companies and friends to try to find out which was the best way to go. So to avoid you a lot of stressful moments and having the feeling of being lost, or even worse, to decide on backing off and let go of your dream to build a house on wheels, we’ve decided to create this guide.


All the process explained in this guide is based on the Spanish legislation, so depending on where you are from it may vary. We also want to clarify that this guide is basically to give useful information and completely based on our personal experience after certifying our own van. In no case, we pretend to offer a rule to follow and it being a 100% reliable and, obviously The Vaneffect won’t be responsible for the use you personally do with this information. 


Certifying your van as a ‘home vehicle’ in Spain is an expensive process, it costs around 750€ so when calculating the conversion budget, you also have to keep that in mind.

Before starting with the explanation of all the paperwork you need to do, we’d like to give you some advice to set off to a good start with your conversion and not make mistakes that may work against you when staring with the process of homologation.


· When working on your van, it’s very important that all the elements and materials that you are using are good quality ones and that they meet the current regulations. Check that the materials you are using are approvable for vans, especially with those more sensible to be checked, like windows or skylight tops. We know that the main brands that make camper products are quite expensive, but we highly doubt you’ll have any problems with their products. That does not mean that you should only install their products but, in certain cases, better not to gamble.

· Make sure that all the furniture is well anchored and that there are no susceptible to harm edges.

· All the electric, water and gas installations must be obviously done in a secure way so if you don’t see yourself capable of doing it alone, ask for the help of a professional.

· When it comes to making holes in the plate walls, do not cut the reinforcements of the frame structure.



After these few advises, let’s get to it!

According to the Royal Decree 2282/1998, for a vehicle to be considered a ‘home vehicle’ or an ‘auto-caravan’ should at least have:


· A sit that’s convertible to a bed or a permanent bed.

· A table

· A kitchen unit

· One or more wardrobe unites


So if one of those is missing, you won’t be able to homologate your van as a ‘home vehicle’, although that is basic for all conversions.


Next, we are going to explain step by step all the papers and licenses that you are going to need.

220v Electrical installation


If you decide to put a 220v electrical installation in your van, you’re going to need an electrical report card, which will have to be given by a registered installer. Its price is approximately 200€.

All the materials that you use must meet the current safety and quality legislation.


The fuse boxes must be easy to access and it needs to be properly marked, so in case of failure, it is easy to recognise where the error comes from.


We advise that while you are assembling all the electrical installation, take pictures of the labels of the different parts with the specified characteristics because you are going to need them in the future. It happened to us, we got asked for the specifications of the solar panels and we had to take apart one of them because they were in the bottom.


Gas installation


For the gas installation, you’ll need a gas report card. This one can also be given by a registered installer and its price goes from 100€ to 150€.


After getting the report card, you’ll have to reach out to a gas bottle supplier, we chose Repsol, and you’ll need an appointment with a technician so he can certify the installation is properly done. The price for that is around 25€ with a gas bottle of 12 Kg, if you get a smaller one the price will be less. Such as with any house installation, the supplier will have to perform a revision every 5 years to check that everything’s still ok, the supplier will get in touch with you a few months before you need to pass the revision. It’s very likely that you don’t get asked for this in the ITV, although there are people who have been asked for it. That report card is very important in the case that you have an accident with the gas because, without it, the insurance won’t cover anything.


In the installation, you have to keep in mind that the orange hose can’t be over 150cm long and it obviously has to be in good conditions, before the expiration date. In case the installation requires a rigid tube, this must be copper and the welding a strong one. Unlike the soft welding, the strong one can resist over 450ºC. You’ll also need to install two fixed grilles, one on the floor and the other on the top of the van, as close to the kitchen as possible.


Manufacturer’s report card


We’ve read somewhere on the Internet that you need to ask the manufacturer of the vehicle for a report card that certifies the conversion we are going to do, with a price of 200€We skipped this step because when asking in the ITV for the necessary documents for the homologation they didn’t request it and we have never met anyone who’s been asked for it.



Technical project and garage report card


These two documents are done by a company specialized in homologations. We did it in a small local company but you can also do it on the Internet.


In the technical project, you specify the new measurements and weights of the van. For example, if you’ve put solar panels or skylights, there’s a new height specification of the vehicle. In our case, we got asked by the weight on each axle of the van. If you need to do it yourself because you are doing it on the Internet, for instance, you need to go to a local scale and weight the whole van first. After that, weight it again but only placing the front wheels on the scale, so you’ll have the weight of the front axle of the van and you deduct it from the total, you’ll get the back axle’s weight.


In the garage report card, where there has to be the number of the industrial register, appears all the modified parts of your van. The price of both documents tends to be around 450€.



Last step: Go pass the ITV


Once you have all the required documents, you need to go to an ITV office to hand them in and they will give you an appointment with the engineer. In our case, the revision of the ITV was included in the 450€ that we paid to the company we worked with for the technical project.


After going through all these paperwork madness the crucial day comes. We won’t lie to you, you’ll be shit-scared when you go to the ITV that day, but there are cases of everything; people who got absolutely everything meticulously checked and other who barely got asked for anything like us.


You finally have you home on wheels 100% legalized!


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