Having a house built or refurbished? Looking to set up alternative accommodation on your plot?
Even if the work on your home isn’t going to start until later in the year – or even not until the beginning of next year – there are plenty of good reasons to start thinking about winter in your static whilst it’s still summer, especially if you’re planning living in a static caravan in the winter.
#1 Summer delivery and siting
Siting a static on your own land is always going to be easier to do in the summer rather than the winter. Imagine those shorter days, with poor weather and wet ground, then imagine the work that needs to be done to get the plot prepared for your static – why not make it easy for yourself whilst the weather’s on your side.
Especially if you’re going to be permanently based on the building site and living in a static caravan in the winter, it’s important to create a ‘static’ plot within your plot. Look for a location where
- Access for the transport + static caravan can be facilitated.
- Where the static can be pushed in, sited and levelled without risk from the building work.
- Where utilities and drainage can be connected.
Whatever aspect of delivery and siting on your plot you consider, it will always be easier to manage this whilst the days are longer and weather conditions kinder.
#2 Access no later than Autumn
Whatever the reason for buying a static caravan to place on your land, if the land is agricultural and the access to the plot is a field rather than a road surface, then you should be looking at having the static in position before the end of the autumn, and ideally whilst summer lingers.
Transporting a static caravan is actually haulage of an abnormal load. Although we tend to think of abnormal loads in terms of the length and width, there’s also a significant weight involved. This could be in excess of 15 tonnes, depending on the vehicle and the model of static caravan.
- Our rigid lorry weighs 9 tonnes, unloaded.
- The articulated vehicle we use weighs 12 tonnes, unloaded.
- The average static caravan weighs around 5 tonnes, but can easily be more depending on the size of the static and scope of the fixtures, furnishings and appliances within it.
Bearing this in mind, it’s easy to see how leaving delivery too late onto soggy ground could make siting impossible. Even support vehicles such as a 4×4 or tractor which may be used to push a static into its final position can struggle once the ground has become wet as the seasons change, so if access to the plot for your static is significantly off road, then Byron strongly recommends getting everything into place before the end of the autumn, if not well before.
Getting your static sorted and in place before the clock change also allows you plenty of time (and daylight) before winter sets in to get your static caravan winterised. Depending on the condition of the offsite static caravan you’ve bought, this may include:
- Double glazing – installation, repairs or replacement.
- Heating – including testing of existing heating fittings such as gas fire, warm air heating, central heating or electric panel heating. This way, any new installations, repairs and replacements can be carried out before you need the heating on a daily basis.
- System checks – it’s always advisable to check all systems, including boiler and hot water, plumbing and sanitary water systems and electric or solar power system before moving into the static at any time of year. But, when you know you’re going to be living in a static caravan in the winter, it’s essential: better to find out now if the boiler’s going to need replacing than on a very cold day in the middle of winter. It can also be cheaper to get system servicing and part replacement done as part of careful planning before moving in, rather than on a call-out charge out of necessity.
#4 Damp or dry out
Sometimes a used static caravan comes at a bargain price because it may have had damp issues in the past. Getting this kind of budget static caravan into place before summer’s over means that any damp issues can be addressed and the whole static allowed to dry out and ‘air’ before use in the winter.
#5 A static snooze in the summer can save some sleepless winter nights
Even if you’re not planning to use the static caravan on your plot just yet, once its in place and the obvious tweaks and personalisations have been done, then it’s best to sleep on it. Or rather in it.
Seriously, spending a night in your caravan when you don’t really need to, and when the weather’s still fairly mild, can give you the chance to work out what’s OK and what may still need attention.
For example, on a blustery summer’s night you may discover a couple of rattling gutter fixings. Getting them sorted after a one-off sleep and in advance of night-after-blustery-night could be much better for your health, temper and pocket, than waiting.
#6 Doing your daily thing
Similar to #5, getting your static caravan sited and connected in the summer, and then spending a weekend in it can be a great way to forestall any other potential problems. It also gives you a chance to carry out some daily routines – in all weathers – to see how things work out for you.
Because of course it still rains in the summer (particularly some spectacular electric storms) and carrying out your usual routines on a temporary basis before moving in can help to highlight things you might have forgotten, or any extras that need to be in place before living in your static caravan in all weathers.
So, pick a wet weekend and carry on as normal, looking out for:
- Unexpected leaks or drips from guttering close to access doors. Getting dripped on during a weekend can be mildly annoying, but day after day in the winter can be infuriating. What’s more, splashes from leaks can affect the integrity of the static, so finding them early can be helpful.
- Identifying the best way to use the caravan in winter. For example, there may be wonderful patio doors for enjoying views from the lounge, but you don’t want to use these as the access point in the winter – particularly with muddy pets or children. See how this works for you on a weekend to see if it means finding a solution you can set up well in advance. Ideas could include:
- Putting down vinyl instead of carpet at a must-use entrance.
- Installing decking outside with outdoor storage for muddy boots.
- Adding coat hooks close to the second access door.
- Wet coat storage – if you don’t take adequate care, ventilation and damp can go be an issue when using a static caravan for long-term accommodation. So, as well as creating your drop zone for muddy critters and footwear, consider putting up coat hooks in appropriate places which can be well ventilated.
#7 Extra time on the exterior
Setting up in the summer means there’s plenty of extra time and daylight hours to take care of your static caravan’s exterior before the winter. A checklist might include ensuring:
- Guttering and downpipes are in good order.
- Steps and pathways are suitable and securely fitted – remember the ground below may become very wet from the weather and churned up with repeated use over the winter.
- Now’s the time to get decking and pathways installed.
- Check skylights and vents and repair or clear as necessary.
- Double-check the plot and levelling in respect of changing ground conditions over the winter.
- Insulate outdoor pipes early on – it’s always better to be ‘too soon’ than to be caught out by an autumnal cold snap.