9 August: Over 90% of orders sent within 2 business hours. Posting Australia wide.
CaravansPlus Accessories Shop
CaravansPlus.com.au

Self Build Guide - 3. Qualifications, Licences, and Legal Requirements.

Article by Peter Smith - Caravans Plus

This is part of a series of articles on building or rebuilding a caravan. You can find the whole series here: Ever Wanted To Build or Rebuild a Caravan?


The surprising thing here is that anyone can build a caravan, legally, without any qualifications. Sounds strange but it's true.

What you will need to do though is follow some rules, or you will never get it registered, and you will never get effective insurance.

The insurance bit is important to know up front. The insurance company will accept your premium no questions, but if there is a claim - that's when they check your project ticks all the regulations.


What are the Regulations?

Strangely you do not need an engineer certificate for the chassis or the completed caravan. This doesn't mean you can just slap something together and get it registered.

There are trailer building guidelines (a caravan is considered a trailer) that you can download free from the internet from the state or national body. These specify maximum dimensions, overhangs, position of external lights etc.

https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/vehicle_regulation/bulletin/vsb1/vsb_01_b.aspx

These rules are checked when you get your caravan registered for the first time.

During the registration process you will be issued a VIN number. This will also record the ATM, GVM and Tare weight. You will need to add this plate in a secure location with non-removable fasteners.


Gas Compliance

In addition, for your first registration you will need a 'Gas Compliance Plate' attached to the front of the caravan. On the A-frame or in the front boot. This is issued by a registered gas fitter, and confirms that the gas installation conforms to the national rules.

This is officially a large set of rules, with amendments on amendments and is best left to a gas fitter. However we have already created an article that puts in plain English and covers 99% of relevant circumstances for caravan builders. This is very useful in the design stage, as you don't want to plan on something only to have it disallowed later.

Guide To Gas Installations In Caravans & RVs

Guide To Gas Installations In Caravans & RVs

This guide covers issues you need to be aware of when designing your caravan layout with a gas installation. Who can do gas installation? What size c...
Read

While each gas fitter may be less or more flexible, on any caravans I've built over the years, I have followed the process below:

  • Contacted a gas fitter and shown my plans, before starting the build.
  • I've installed the pipe work as per our guide and left exposed all junctions
  • Requested an inspection prior to any enclosure.
  • At completion, had the full inspection and pressure test.

    I have worked like an apprentice would have. This may not be possible with all gas fitters, and they may insist on doing all the work.

    In either case, we are able to supply all components at a very competitive price, and we carry the range in stock, at all times.


    Electrical Compliance

    For registration they do NOT require certification.

    However this does not take away your responsibility to have the 240v installation carried out be a licensed electrician. There is actually a surprisingly small amount of 240v in a caravan.

  • The power comes into the caravan via an outside socket.
  • The power goes to a circuit breaker
  • The power then goes to power points in one circuit.
  • It will have one additional hardwire to the Air Conditioner (if fitted)
  • The rest of the power within a caravan is 12v, or plugged into a powerpoint.

    We do have a guide that covers traditional 240v installations, however it is only partially relevant for new installations. New installations have only 12v lights

    Traditional Electrical Installation Guide

    Traditional Electrical Installation Guide

    Building a new Caravan or replacing electrical components? This guide offers an overview for Electrical Installations in Caravans & RVs and explains t...
    Read

    We even have a plug and connect 240volt power solution that makes even less work for an electrician.

    Electrical Installation Using CMS Components

    Electrical Installation Using CMS Components

    CMS Electracom have developed a soft-wiring system for Caravan and RVs that allow you plug-and-play your 240V electrical setup without the need for a ...
    Read

    Breakaway Systems

    A breakaway system is installed on all caravans weighing more than 2000kg, and effectively applies the brakes if the caravan should become disconnected from the tow vehicle.

    While this is covered in the Trailer Design rules, it is pointed out separately here to bring to your attention that States differ in their requirements.

    Previously (2007 -2016) it was mandatory in NSW to have a remote monitor for the Breakaway System. Now the remote monitor is only a recommendation by Transport NSW.

    Important Facts About Brakes & Breakaway Kits

    Important Facts About Brakes & Breakaway Kits

    Do you need a breakaway kit? Knowing your vans limits and legal requirements is not only important so you have an enjoyable holiday, but a safe one. F...
    Read

    Was this helpful?

    4.67/5
    (6 votes)
  • 2 Comments

    • comment-avatar

      John

      Would be good to update the article - NSW no longer requires a breakaway battery monitor in tow vehicle.

    • comment-avatar

      Steve - CaravansPlus

      Hi John. Thanks, you are correct. I have updated the article now.

    Add a Comment. Share your knowledge.

    Other Guides

    Ever Wanted To Build or Rebuild a Caravan?

    Ever Wanted To Build or Rebuild a Caravan?

    Self Build Guide -  5. Floor, Wall, and Roof Construction.

    Self Build Guide - 5. Floor, Wall, and Roof Construction.

    Self Build Guide -  4. Chassis and Suspension.

    Self Build Guide - 4. Chassis and Suspension.

    Self Build Guide -  6. Cupboards, Table & Benchs, Beds, Shower Cubicle

    Self Build Guide - 6. Cupboards, Table & Benchs, Beds, Shower Cubicle

    Self Build Guide - 1. Layout & Overview.

    Self Build Guide - 1. Layout & Overview.

    Self Build Guide -  8. Insulate, Cladding, Corners and Design Ideas

    Self Build Guide - 8. Insulate, Cladding, Corners and Design Ideas

    Self Build Guide - 10. Sourcing Components.

    Self Build Guide - 10. Sourcing Components.

    Self Build Guide - 2. Workspace and Tools

    Self Build Guide - 2. Workspace and Tools

    To Build or Not to Build? Should you Just Buy One?

    To Build or Not to Build? Should you Just Buy One?

    See All Articles Share on Facebook