When it comes to converting vans into efficient and functional spaces, many DIY enthusiasts and professional trades people have relied on plywood racking for storage and organization. 

However, what might seem like a cost-effective solution at first glance can pose significant risks to you and your employees. In this blog post, we’ll explore the hidden dangers of plywood racking in vans and shed light on the benefits of using crash-tested racking systems. 


Let’s dive in and discover why investing in safety is crucial for your van conversion project.

Mobile engineer van racking

The Risks of Plywood Racking:

  • Structural Weakness: Plywood, while commonly used for its versatility, is not inherently designed to withstand the dynamic forces experienced during vehicle collisions. It lacks the necessary strength to hold objects securely in place, potentially leading to shifting loads and dangerous projectiles during sudden stops or accidents.

  • Fire Hazard: Plywood is highly flammable and can significantly increase the risk of fire in your van. In case of an accident or fault, plywood racking can quickly become an accelerant, endangering both the driver and the surrounding area.

  • Lack of Crash Safety Standards: Plywood racking does not adhere to any standardized crash safety testing. Without proper testing and certification, there is no guarantee that plywood racking will adequately protect you, your workforce and your cargo in the event of a collision.

  • Insurance implications: If the insurance company determines that the plywood racking contributed to the severity of the accident or was a safety hazard, they may consider it a material alteration to the vehicle. This could undermine your employee liability insurance or at least your van insurance policy resulting in coverage being void or declined!

“Plywood, while commonly used for its versatility, is not inherently designed to withstand the dynamic forces experienced during vehicle collisions.”

Van Racking SORTA CASE Parts Storage

The Benefits of Crash-Tested Racking Systems:

  • Rigorous Safety Testing: Crash-tested racking systems undergo comprehensive testing to ensure they meet industry standards for strength, durability, and safety. These systems are engineered specifically for use in vehicles, taking into account the forces exerted during accidents, sudden stops and manoeuvres.


  • Enhanced Protection: Crash-tested racking systems are designed with safety in mind. They provide secure storage for your tools and equipment, reducing the risk of objects becoming projectiles in the event of a collision. Additionally, these systems often include features such as reinforced mounting points and integrated tie-downs to further secure your load.


  • Versatility and company image: Crash tested racking systems are available in both off the shelf and bespoke designed options, meaning they can be tailored to your working requirements. Van Racking systems also have a more professional image than plywood racking, maintaining company image especially when customer facing.


  • Peace of Mind: By investing in a crash-tested racking system, you can have confidence that your van conversion meets safety standards and will protect you, your passengers, and your cargo. Peace of mind is priceless, especially when you’re on the road.

Choosing the Right Crash-Tested Racking System:

Fabricators Van Racking - Sortimo SR5 - Mercedes sprinter
  • Do your Research: With multiple different racking suppliers on the market, it is important to consider the suitability of each brand for your vehicle requirements. Different brands have their own pros and cons for different industries
  • Customisation and Flexibility: Work out what you need to carry, how you want to carry it and what will enable you to work most efficiently. Different Van racking manufacturers will offer different integrated accessories for their product.


  • Professional Installation: For the utmost safety and reliability, consider having your crash-tested racking system installed by professionals (like us) who are experienced in van conversions. They can ensure proper fitting, secure mounting, and integration with your van’s existing structure. Not only will you get a safe and secure installation, you will also maximise your warranty period.

While plywood racking may initially seem like a practical choice for van conversions, the hidden dangers it poses cannot be ignored. Investing in a crash-tested van racking system offers numerous benefits, including enhanced safety, increased professional image, and peace of mind.

Prioritising safety in your van conversion project is paramount, and opting for a professionally tested and certified van racking system is the foundation of any conversion.

We work with the UK’s top racking manufactures and even have our own range of crash tested racking, book a free design consultation or speak to our expert sales team and we can put together some zero obligation designs for you!

Electricians van racking. - Sortimo SR5 - Transit Custom MSRT
Facilities maintenance van racking
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