Safety should be a top priority in a fast-moving vehicle

Van conversions….they’re all the rage. The electrical supply company near us said they’re getting more customers for van conversions than for buildings, and the building industry is pretty busy too! There are so many DIY instructional videos on YouTube as well as a slew of Facebook groups where hopeful van builders can ask questions. And we’ve noticed that many builders, both professional and DIY’ers, aren’t taking safety seriously in these fast-moving human-occupied vehicles. Below are some of the top mistakes.

Life-Safety Codes Are Not Being Followed

Very few builders are following RVIA standards - which exist to save lives - comprised of the following code books:------- 2018 edition - NFPA 1192 Standard for RVs Plumbing, Propane and Fire & Life Safety 2018 edition – ANSI/RVIA LV Standard 12 Volt Electrical System 2015 ANSI A119.5 PMRV Standard Plumbing, Propane, Fire & Life Safety, Construction 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC) 120V Electrical Systems (Art 551 RV, Art 552 PMRV) 2018 edition - ANSI/RVIA LV Standard Low Voltage Electrical Systems 2018 edition - ANSI/RVIA EGS-1 Engine Generator Sets for RV Safety Requirements 2014 ANSI/RVIA UPA-1 Uniform Plan Approval for RV’s

Each of these books is quite large and it takes years to learn them. There are many “professional” builders that are also not following these standards. In fact, they’re not even aware of they exist.

Cabinets Aren't Strong Enough

We also see many DIY’ers installing furniture and cabinets in their vans that would easily rip off the wall in a collision. In a moving vehicle, the materials used must be extra strong. Particle board doesn’t have the strength to hold screws in place in a collision. Even if cabinets are bolted through the floor and the vehicle’s structural ribs, which they should be, if hinges are screwed into particle boards, the cabinet doors can fly off at 70 miles per hour, potentially hitting someone. Even most professional builders don’t use strong enough materials to account for potential collisions. We not only use strong, dense wood for our cabinets, we use steel brackets and high sheer strength bolts to attach them to the vehicle. Upper cabinets are even more dangerous if they come dislodged, so we fabricate them out of welded aluminum, powder coated so they’re aesthetically pleasing, with wood cabinet doors so you don’t see much metal. These are, again, attached to the vehicle with high sheer strength bolts.

Seats Are Added Incorrectly

We also see lots of people installing seats in cargo vans. The body of cargo vans are not built for seats the way passenger van bodies are. Cargo van floors must be reinforced with welded steal both above and below the van to have the strength to hold seats in place during a collision. The method of attachment to that strengthened area of floor is also crucial. If this isn’t done, in a bad enough collision, the seat attachment will break and the seat flies off.

At Zen Den Tiny ‘Om, we put safety first, and build the safest RV’s sold by any manufacturer. Our owner is a licensed building architect that has a legal responsibility to protect the public’s health and safety, a responsibility other RV manufacturers don’t have. When it comes to the safety of your family, that's important.