By Daniel Hunter

New research published by Direct Line for Business reveals that Britain’s builders, plumbers, electricians and other tradespeople are living out of their vans - using them as mobile offices, bedrooms and entertainment centres.

31 per cent of tradespeople who use a van for work also use their van as a mobile office to manage their business
11 per cent of builders, plumbers, electricians and other tradespeople have slept in their van.

While not wanting to be accused of being asleep on the job, Britain’s tradespeople are using their vans as mobile homes with 11 per cent sleeping in their vehicle.

Almost a third (31 per cent) of tradespeople use their van as a mobile office to manage their business. Vans are also used as mobile dining rooms, with just under a half (45 per cent) of tradespeople eating their meals in their vehicle.

It seems some tradespeople are making their vans a danger to their health, as more than one in ten (14 per cent) builders, plumbers and electricians smoke in their vans. Smoking in an enclosed work place poses additional health risks, as research from the British Lung Foundation found the levels of toxins in a vehicle can be up to 23 times higher than in a smoky bar.

Melissa Hunt, Business Manager at Direct Line for Business, commented: “With tradespeople working long hours on the job, it is no wonder they often end up eating, managing paperwork and even sleeping in their vehicles. However, customising their van with the latest gadgets and installing entertainment centres may not only be a distraction and compromise their safety but it is unlikely to be covered if stolen.”

Top ten alternative van uses:
1. As a tea break room (50 per cent)
2. To listen to music (45 per cent)
3. As a dining room (45 per cent)
4. An office (31per cent)
5. A reading room (30 per cent)
6. For smoking (14 per cent)
7. For sleeping (11 per cent)
8. For playing computer games on a mobile phone (nine per cent)
9. For sex (five per cent)
10. For playing computer games on a handheld console (five per cent)

Almost one in ten (nine per cent) of tradespeople play computer games in their vehicle on mobile phones to keep them entertained, with some (two per cent) going even further and installing consoles such as X-boxes and PS3s in their van. As many as one in twenty (four per cent) have TVs in their vehicles.

Melissa Hunt continued: “Thieves are no longer targeting the vans of builders and plumbers to steal tools; they are also after expensive laptops, tablets and smart phones. With so much high end technology being stored in tradespeople’s vans it is important owners have sufficient insurance cover to protect their belongings.”