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Vans for Self-Build Projects – How Useful Are They?

Vans are the workhorses of the construction industry and can be extremely useful vehicles for self-builders.

Whether it is the efficient delivery of tools and supplies to a build site, transportation of contractors from one location to another, or leading away waste, a versatile and commercial-grade work van is crucial to attaining maximum productivity.

The engineering, technology, and design that makes certain van types suitable for construction use make them equally compatible with self-build projects There is a wide variety to choose from: compact delivery vans, long-distance load conveyors, and people carriers. The ideal solution depends on the self-builder’s location, a couple of questions you should consider are, will the van have to travel long distances? and what type and volume of materials need to be conveyed?

Once you have a rough idea of what attributes you need, take a look at our overview below listing popular van types that can accommodate the needs of a self-build project, along with their distinguishing features.

Ford Transit Custom: This mid-sized van has considerable load space, making it a popular passenger car. Practical touches include a steel bulkhead with a load-through ability and a 2.2 litre TDCi engine that can go up to 155bhp.

Mercedes Sprinter: A large and versatile vehicle, the Mercedes Sprinter is available in nine different body models, and power ranges from 95 to 190bhp. There are also four different body lengths and three roof heights, offering solutions for self-builders of all projects types. A smooth rise makes the Sprinter popular for high-mileage travel.

Ford Ranger: Available in single cab, super- and double-cab forms, the Ford Ranger is a rugged van with a towing capacity of 3.5-tonnes. Basic models offer few bells and whistles, but their carrying capacity compensates for design simplicity. Fuel consumption is relatively poor, so Ford Rangers are a better choice for locally accessible self-build projects.

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Isuzu D-Max: This impressive truck offers low running costs and a towing capacity of 3.5-tonnes. Single and double cab configurations are available, and the load capacity is just over 1,000kg, so it is exempt from VAT if the owner is registered. Its comparatively smaller dimensions make the D-Max easy to manoeuvre on crowded city streets, making it suitable for urban build projects.

Volkswagen Crafter: The VW Crafter comes in three sizes, and is similar to the Mercedes Sprinter in body and chassis shape. The interior is constructed from durable materials that will not be easily damaged by loads of wood, tools, or concrete.

Nissan Navara: Hefty and attractive, the Nissan Navara is widely regarded as one of the most versatile and durable double-cab 4 x 4 pickups out there. Its off-road travel is especially stable, which ensures compatibility with build projects located at a distance from public roads. There is also a lot of space in the load bed, supporting maximum conveying ability.

Many of these vans can perform double-duty as family vehicles once all build work has been completed. More mainstream buyers have been choosing trucks over cars in recent years, so even 4 x 4 pickups are more spacious and comfortable to ride in. Any truck purchased specifically for the self-build can remain an asset for a long time to come.

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