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Home » Campers » Converting a fire van into a camper (3) | RDW design requirements and job plan

Converting a fire van into a camper (3) | RDW design requirements and job plan

When we bought our fire brigade bus Brumm, we already knew that we would convert it into a camper. Brumm is a 38 year old Diesel bus, which means that the road tax costs are very high. We have therefore also decided to register Brumm as a motorhome after the conversion. At the time of purchase, Brumm did not meet all the furnishing requirements set for this. As a result, we had to make a number of adjustments to the bus.

Also read: How to: Buy or convert a campervan

In this article we tell you, among other things, which RDW furnishing requirements a motorhome must meet and in the video above we take you through the first steps we took during our conversion project, namely stripping the bus!

Interior requirements motorhome

We have therefore chosen to have Brumm officially inspected and registered as a camper. If it is registered as a camper van, we can request the special rate from the Tax Authorities and then we pay a lot less road tax.

Before we went to see buses, we carefully researched all the requirements of the RDW and the Tax Authorities to be able to register a bus as a camper. Below you will find an overview of the requirements.

Also read:

Converting a fire van into a camper (1) | The Backpack Pick
Converting a fire van into a camper (2) | Buy a suitable bus
Converting a fire van into a camper (3) | RDW design requirements and job plan
Converting a fire van into a camper (4) | A new floor
Converting a fire van into a camper (5) | Insulating the bus
Converting a fire van into a motorhome (6) | Raising the roof
Converting a fire van into a camper (7) | Installing walls, vinyl and windows
Converting a fire van into a camper (8) | Arranging and installing furniture


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Interior requirements motorhome tax authorities

The interior space must have a minimum height of 170 cm, over a length of at least 200 cm and over a width of at least 90 cm.

Deviating height

The camper van rate can also be applied if the interior space has a height of 130 cm. The roof must then be fitted with a (folding) permanently installed closed roof construction, which allows the interior space to be increased to at least 170 cm over a length of at least 100 cm and a width of at least 90 cm. This only applies if the campervan also meets all other furnishing requirements.

The interior of the campervan must be equipped with:

  • At least 2 fixed seats.
  • A fixed table.
  • Sleeping places for at least 2 people.
  • At least 2 fixed and lockable storage facilities.
  • A fixed kitchen unit intended for indoor use.
  • A permanently built-in cooking facility intended for indoor use.

Source: https://www.belastingdienst.nl

Interior requirements motorhome RDW

  • Seats and a table must be provided in the vehicle.
  • A bed must be provided.
  • Presence of cooking facilities.
  • There must be options for storing things.
  • These facilities must be fixed in the residential ward.

Source: https://www.rdw.nl

From furnishing requirements to job plan

Because Brumm did not meet all the furnishing requirements that are set for a motorhome, we first looked at which adjustments were necessary in order to be able to meet these furnishing requirements. We then made a plan how we could achieve this. In addition, we decided which further adjustments we wanted to make to the bus, so that it was clear which steps we would have to take in the project.

Build a motorhome | A grinding tool has proved indispensable during DIY!
Build a motorhome | A grinding tool has proved indispensable during DIY!

Brumm had a height of 1.60 meters which means that we would have to raise part of the bus. This was actually the most challenging part of the plan, because raising a roof is not something you just do. In addition, Brumm only had doors at the front, near the cab, and the other entrances were shutters. As a result, the bus was very dark, and it is also not very easy to get in and out. So we decided that we wanted to fix a door in the 'living area' of Brumm and we also wanted to install more windows.

Because there was also a partition between the cabin and the cargo area, we also quickly knew that we wanted to remove it, so that we would get more daylight from the windscreens and a passage would be created between the cabin and the living area.

Start the jobs, we strip the bus!

Build a motorhome | We start with stripping the fire brigade bus. Before we could remove the intermediate screen, the batteries and wiring had to be removed.
Build a motorhome | We start with stripping the fire brigade bus. Before we could remove the intermediate screen, the batteries and wiring had to be removed.

Because we both work during the week, we can only work on the weekends. Weekend 1 was therefore all about demolition and stripping. We started with the partition. This was removed by Merijn and the father of Denise (Onno) with a grinder. It seems like an easy job, but it is a meticulous job. Under the driver's seat were a number of batteries and there was a lot of wiring. We first had to remove all of these before we could get started with the grinder. Once the partition was removed, it became clear how much extra light this gave and that is very nice. So a good decision!

Hole in the roof!

Because we were still working with the grinder, we immediately went ahead and started on the roof. That was quite exciting, sawing a hole in the roof! For the increase, we have of course taken into account the dimensions that belong to the design requirements of a motorhome that the tax authorities demand. We want to sleep at the back of the bus, so we decided to raise the front part of the room.

During the removal of the roof, an extra steel roof construction appeared, so this meant that we spent quite some time on this job. In the end it worked and we suddenly had a convertible! In a subsequent article we will discuss raising the roof and how we have tackled this exactly.

Remove roller shutters

The next project was to remove all the shutters. We had decided that we wanted to install one side door and that we wanted to keep the roller shutter on the other side and the back. We have found a creative solution for this. We are going to halve these shutters. They then retain their function and behind the hatch we create storage space. Above the hatch we make a wall in which we place a window. We will of course discuss this further when we have arrived at the installation of the windows.

Because we wanted to reuse the shutters, we had to be careful when removing the shutters. A tough job, but luckily it all worked out.

Build a motorhome | Fireworks on the bus!
Build a motorhome | Fireworks on the bus!

The first steps of our conversion project have been completed and we now at least know that Brumm can meet the furnishing requirements of a motorhome! Most of the things we describe here can also be seen in our video (at the top of this page), so check it out if you're curious! In the next few weeks we will of course also take you via wereldreizigers.nl in the next steps, so keep an eye on the website and socials!

Also read:

Converting a fire van into a camper (1) | The Backpack Pick
Converting a fire van into a camper (2) | Buy a suitable bus
Converting a fire van into a camper (3) | RDW design requirements and job plan
Converting a fire van into a camper (4) | A new floor
Converting a fire van into a camper (5) | Insulating the bus
Converting a fire van into a motorhome (6) | Raising the roof
Converting a fire van into a camper (7) | Installing walls, vinyl and windows
Converting a fire van into a camper (8) | Arranging and installing furniture

the backpacks

TheBackpackkies

We are Merijn and Denise and since October 2020 we are the proud owners of Brumm the fire brigade bus. We were actually supposed to leave on a world trip in March 2020. A long cherished dream that would finally come true. Covid 19 messed up all our plans and this dream is in the fridge for the time being.

Because we would like to be able to travel, we came up with another plan: The Backpackkies 2.0! We decided to buy an old fire truck and convert it into a camper. A very cool project in which we get help from Denise's father. He is a true expert when it comes to converting cars and the three of us spend many hours converting the bus.

We make videos and write stories about Brumm and the conversion into a camper and share as much as possible about this with you. And when Brumm is ready to explore Europe, we will of course take you on this adventure too!

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

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the backpacks

TheBackpackkies

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