Catering Van Conversion

…expensive if you don’t get the right advice

Recently we were asked to assess a newly fitted out vehicle. It was a ribbed French van and it looked fantastic when we saw it on the garage yard where it was having the final touches added. The plan was that the van would be used to provide event catering facilities for agricultural fairs / shows and the like. The business plan and future bookings were sounding great.

We weren’t currently being asked to give a Gas Safety Certificate but to do a pre-assessment – this is a service (charged) which we offer.

mobile catering van

This is not the van discussed in the article!

The van looked good inside and out and from distance this looked to be an easy win for everyone.

Unfortunately, up close things weren’t so good. BIG PROBLEM – the fitting out had been performed by a very professional outfit but they were accredited for LPG powered vehicles and not for Commercial Catering. So, all the pipework and fittings were to the wrong specifications.

  • Wade fittings had been used – a no-no for LPG commercial catering in a mobile setting
  • Pipe size used didn’t limit the drop in pressure to 2mbar – so had, in effect, created the potential for a major problem (they had used 8mm pipes when 15mm or 22mm are standard for commercial catering applications using LPG)
  • Insufficient space had been allowed around appliances and fittings – the wonderful looking veneer finish being a combustible material, had been butted up to a heat source!
  • The huge automotive LPG tank fitted at the back of the unit was in a wooden box accessible from the inside of the van

As you can imagine the owner was somewhat distressed to hear the list of issues we presented and our conclusion – a very nice looking van totally unsuitable and unsafe and un-certifiable for the purpose for which it had been bought and fitted out.