What is the BS3632 Standard?

What is the BS3632 Standard?

Posted by Justin Allitt in Comment, July 12, 2018

The BS3632 Standard Explained

If you are thinking of purchasing a residential park home, you have probably heard of the BS3632 legislation. But what exactly is it, and what does it mean?

The legislation has an impact on your residential park home, whether you are planning to live there or use it for leisure purposes. In this article, we have broken down the key components of the legislation. So what has changed and what is the impact of BS3632?

What is the BS3632?

The BSI – British Standards Institute – is a UK body who produce a range of standards for businesses and products to ensure they are fit for purpose.

First published in 1963, the BS3632 standard for residential park homes specifically covers the quality of residential park homes and includes a list of criteria to ensure that all models are fit for their specific intention and safe for dwelling. The technical aspects of the legislation cover all requirements and code of practise that must be adhered to. These mainly concern the construction and design of the residential park home itself.

This includes elements such as water, gas and electric supplies, ventilation systems, preservation and maintenance of the residential park home, along with the measurements and size of the building itself.

 Why do these standards exist?

The BS3632 standard for residential park homes exist to ensure there is a minimum standard that all residential park homes need to measure up to, or they cannot be sold, rented or lived in. Without the existence of this legislation, there is a chance that manufacturers could use building standards that are not appropriate for residential park homes. That either the residential park homes would be too basic, worse, unsafe. Either way, the park home would not be fit for purpose.

Secondly, these standards need to exist because residential park homes are becoming a more popular living option, rather than simply being a leisure or seasonal base. In order to be a permanent residency, the standards needed to be updated to exist more in-line with conventional housing options.

What is the difference from the previous legislation?

While the 2015 version of the legislation may not have added any major updates, a number of amendments have been made to the 2005 standard.

Some examples of the upgraded features in a BS3632 model residential park home include:

  • Increased wall, flooring and roof insulation
  • Double glazed windows as a requirement
  • Central heating (including higher minimum temperatures) and improved ventilation systems
  • All A-rated appliances, including low energy (LED) lighting where applicable
  • Scientific testing of walls and construction to ensure they are soundproof
  • Larger spaces for ovens and refrigerators/freezers
  • More rigorous advice and warnings
  • The inclusion of alternative and renewable energy sources
  • TMV2 / TMV3 thermostatic control of domestic hot water supply (prevents scalding)
  • No 5% VAT construction charge

Although minor, these additions and changes have resulted in residential park homes significantly improving in quality – not just in energy, but in general appearance and soundness of structure. Genuinely superior park homes are now on the market, and more and more people are considering them as a long-lasting living situation.

Why is this important?

There are a number of reasons why this legislation is important. Not just for the implications to builders and manufacturers, but also to the people living in them, the customers. Simply put, knowing these standards means allows the end user to understand the quality that  residential park home should live up to, no matter what its purpose.

But there are more reasons than simply for maintenance. Between 2005 and 2015, technology has improved significantly and alongside it, so has energy efficiency. The amendments to the BS3632 legislation will therefore help contractors and manufacturers build not only more energy efficient residential park homes, but ones that will also cost less to run and actually be more comfortable to live in on a more lasting basis.

How will this legislation affect me?

This legislation allows you to rest assured that your holiday park home is built and fitted to the highest possible standard. All park home manufacturers who hold membership to the National Caravan Council must pass the British Standard Institute’s self-certification scheme to ensure they fulfil the updated criteria. This involves a rigorous process of test and inspection of every point on the BS 3632 checklist, which is then summarised and sent away for verification. Once it has been determined that the structure has passed, each home will be given a Manufacturers Declaration of Compliance certificate. From this point, the residential park home is considered acceptable to be lived in.

Currently, there are two standards to which caravan holiday homes have to adhere to – the BS 3632 and also the EN 1647, which is suitable strictly for seasonal, temporary use only. Therefore, if you would like to use your residential park home more frequently, it means you can legally get an upgrade on any module that doesn’t live up to  the BS 3632 conditions – this can include increased insulation, double glazing, modern central heating and more.

Infrastructure of a BS3632 standard can be a main residence – including in the winter months provided you have a license – which before would not have been possible.

It is clear therefore that the BS 3632 simply opens up a new world of residential living options. While before you may have been staying in a home that was only suitable for seasonal stays, the BS 3632 has improved quality and even the security of the structure, significantly, meaning that residential park homes can be of the same standards as more traditional housing – for substantially less money!