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Certified Self Containment NZ Lifestyle Camping


Summary / Guidelines For


Motor Caravans , Caravans & Camper Vans

Updated July 2019 For Interpreting and Applying NZS 5465: 2001 incl. Amendment 2



This guideline has been updated by NZ lifestyle Camping Ltd to help persons completing self containment conversions and as a support tool for Self Containment Testing officers. It covers what is required under the standard and offers some suggestions. It is a guide / interpretation only but can be referenced to as a discussion document if dispute arises. Other persons and organisations may apply different interpretations.


Self Containment is the ability to meet the ablutionary and sanitary needs of the occupants of a motor caravan or caravan, for a minimum of three days, without needing any external services or discharging any dry waste or sewage. All sewage is to be disposed of at a waste dump station or suitable sewerage entry point, which is connected to a sewerage or septic tank system. Dry waste should be carried and disposed of at a suitable rubbish disposal facility. Do not use chemicals in the self-containment system that could affect the operation of the dump station and attached systems.


All Points Camping’s Participation in the Certified Self Containment Scheme


NZS 5465:2001 was developed as a way to manage the health risks to individuals and communities in relation to people travelling or living in motorhomes or caravans. It does not and can not cover every class of camper. This guideline publication has been developed and updated in conjunction with the All Points Camping Club of NZ, also known as All Points Camping NZ or All Points Camping, which supports all classes of camper in NZ from tenters through to Motorhomers. APCNZ endorses international practices for managing waste, including human and the CSC scheme is a part of that.


APCNZ and NZLC are actively working to support NZ campers, and with local government and other organisations, to ensure fair representation for all campers and fair implementation of the Freedom Camping Act and Self Containment bylaws.

NZ Lifestyle Camping Ltd (NZLC) is an issuing authority for NZS 5465:2001 recommends and supports the certification of all qualifying vehicles for self-containment as a step towards developing a safe and sustainable camping industry throughout NZ.

In managing our national network of testing officers and passing vehicles as certified for self-containment we will act fairly and impartially to ensure as many vehicles/vehicle owners are able to meet and exceed the standard requirements.


NZ as a country has a high risk of natural disaster and an increasing level of homelessness. Certified self-containment should also be recognised is an opportunity to assist families and individuals to maintain safe and hygienic living conditions for a brief period of time.


To be certified for self-containment the vehicle must be of suitable design and fit for the purpose of accommodation.





Under the Standard, the vehicle should come under the definition of being either a Motor Caravan or Caravan to be able to be certified or inspected for self-containment. To be certified for self-containment the vehicle must be of suitable design and fit for the purpose of accommodation.



CARAVAN: Defined under the Standard NZS 5465:2001 as “Any structure designed for human habitation, which is capable of being moved from one place to another, by being towed, or transported on another vehicle.” NZLC


Comment: This definition of a caravan includes a slide on type camping units and box type e.g. tiny houses and accommodation type camper trailers when those structures have been designed for human habitation. The standard is not specific as to the physical structure of the unit and may include canvas or part canvas construction.


MOTOR CARAVAN: Defined under the Standard NZS 5465:2001 as “A motor vehicle which can be used as a place of abode and has facilities for cooking, eating, sleeping and washing and is not a passenger vehicle.”


NZLC Comment: Under the Standard’s definition of a Motor Caravan the vehicle must have facilities for cooking. This could include a portable gas or electric hotplate which may be used inside our outside of the vehicle. ‘Not a passenger vehicle has no clear definition or reference to legislation or standards. In fact, the NZTA website states: “Passenger vehicles can include cars, vans, people-movers and some off-road vehicles.” By the inclusion of the word can this means these vehicles might not be a passenger vehicle under the NZTA definition.


Excluding all vehicles that carry passengers is NOT in the intent of the standard. If a vehicle has a primary design as a camping/accommodation unit whether by manufacture or modification it may be considered for certified self-containment.


The purpose of NZS 5465:2001 is not intended to exclude vehicles from being able to be certified for self-containment but to provide a system whereby vehicles can be identified as being able to contain all waste for the number of occupants for a period of 3 days.


Every motor caravan or caravan (including those such as trailer campers, slide on campers and roof top tents) can be certified for self-containment where the vehicle has been converted for camping/habitation and has met or exceeded the fresh water and waste requirements under the standard.


There is no official exclusion list of vehicle makes and models that cannot be certified for self-containment. A vehicle may have been built or converted for habitation but must be suitably set up for this purpose. A vehicle for certification may have a portable toilet and must have cooking facilities. NZLC is bound by the standard and cannot certify tents for self-containment, only the vehicle. In the case of a roof top tent or trailer camper, the toilet must be able to be used in the vehicle (with adequate head and elbow room) when required. This does not mean the toilet must be able to be used in the vehicle at all times as has been widely promoted.



Every motor caravan or caravan equipped as per the Standard may be presented for the issue of a selfcontainment certificate and a warrant of compliance, with appliances installed, that are "fit for purpose" and qualifying as motor-home or caravan.



Any disputes arising should be resolved by the parties involved in the first instance and referred to NZ Lifestyle Camping if there is no resolution. Notes should be kept of any dispute. A registered plumber, gasfitter or drainlayer has professional responsibility to resolve disputes.



Such a warrant card, if granted, shall be affixed to the inside of the left side front window, or the left side of the windscreen so as to be visible from the footpath. It shall clearly state:


• The registration number of the vehicle

• The date of issue

• The issuing authority

• The expiry date

• The maximum number of people which are to be accommodated.


No Warrants shall be valid for more than forty eight (48) months, and must be renewed immediately if any alterations to the self containment set-up are made.


Certificates / warrant cards issued in accordance with the standard will be valid for 48 months.





This blue square sticker was introduced at the beginning of 2012. It provides Council enforcement officers with a visual tool to immediately verify whether or not a vehicle may be certified self-contained. The placement of the sticker is vital for the scheme to work and must be fitted to the lower right-hand rear of the vehicle. The blue sticker is not legally required under the standard but is considered an essential part of the scheme.







Self-containment certificates and warrants are issued by a Self Containment Issuing Authority, i.e. a registered plumber, or any organisation (such as NZ lifestyle Camping and the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association Inc.)



Qualified Self-Containment Officers such as us who are members of an Issuing Authority are eligible to inspect vehicles for self-containment warrants. For a new check your vehicle will need to be checked by any two members suitably qualified as Self-Containment Officers; and for a retest, anyone Self-Containment Officer.


The exception to this under amendment No.2 allows for an initial inspection by one (1) qualified testing officer who has inspected more than 20 vehicles and inspects more than 10 in a year. (A schedule of inspections must be retained).

We are a two-man team and are able to certify new checks

To qualify as a new Self-Containment Officer under NZ lifestyle Camping, individuals must be able to demonstrate the ability to correctly interpret, explain and apply the standard, as part of a competency test, correctly maintain documentation and be able to succinctly justify decisions made.


A new testing officer may be notarised as passing the competency test as Self Containment Officer by either an experienced self-containment officer (2+ years), a registered plumber, gasfitter or drainlayer, or a person appointed to do so by All Points Camping NZ management. Where a testing officer has been trained/qualified by another organisation that training is recognised and credit is given.


NOTE: A Registered plumber can check or recheck a vehicle for self-containment by themselves, and be the issuing authority for the certificate/warrant in their own right. If NZ lifestyle Camping is to be the issuing authority for the certificate and the plumber is not a member of the club, the certificate/warrant will be issued by APCNZ as an agent for the plumber under NZ law. Plumbers are required under their registration to comply with the requirements of the standard.


The following covers the ‘basic requirements’ for self containment in motor caravans & caravans only. (For full details on Self Containment, purchase the Standard NZS 5465:2001 from Standards NZ, or contact a Self Containment Testing Officer who has a copy of the Standard).



The motor caravan shall be fitted with a fresh water tank (or multiple tanks / containers). The tank(s) shall hold at least 4 litres per day for each person that the motor caravan will be certified to accommodate for three days. (i.e. a minimum of 12 litres of water per person). The tank shall be:


1. Made of a material that is inert and opaque, and be capable of storing fresh water indefinitely, while maintaining its potability. A semi-opaque fesh water tank can be used when stored in a dark area.

2. Adequately supported and fastened to the motor caravan so that it does not cause any hazard whilst the vehicle is travelling on the road.

3. Fitted with an inlet of not less than 25 mm diameter (or 12mm diameter if pressure fed), and have a cap or seal to prevent foreign matter entering the tank.

4. If of rigid construction have an air vent of not less than 10 mm, fitted with a device to prevent the entry of any contaminant into the tank.


NZLC Comment: Potable water containers that have been manufactured for this purpose and meet the NZ and Australian standards for the storage of water and or food, can be used for water storage in a motorcaravan or caravan. These containers are considered safe and supplied for the storage of drinking water for emergency purposes and meet or exceed the stated specifications for water storage under NZS 5465:2001. These containers will be stamped with the relevant code.


Portable water containers should be washed out frequently and not kept in direct sunlight as this promotes algal growth. If water is tainted sterilising tablets and other products can be purchased to remedy this.


Fresh water reticulation shall be approved food grade dense opaque non-toxic pipe. Clear plastic pipe shall not be used. (Tip: If piping hot water or operating a pressurised system ensure the pipe / tubing is rated accordingly and securely clamped. Hoses and clamps in European caravans should be regularly checked for leakage.) A typical plumbing layout / schematic for a motor caravan is shown on the following page.



1. Clear plastic pipe admits light, which encourages the growth of algae in the pipe. This discolours the water, and has potentially harmful effects on your digestive system.

2. Where a water-heating device such as a gas califont is installed, it is suggested the hot water reticulation should be in 10 mm or std 12mm pipe suitable for hot water. This pipe is easily routed around corners and can be installed in one length from the gas califont to the outlet tap. (The gas califont exhaust shall be expelled to the outside of the vehicle) The flow of water through the 10 mm Page 7 of 18 pipe is more than adequate, as the gas califont restricts the water flow so that the gas flame will heat the water in the pipe as it passes through the flame.


With storage water heaters, an inlet pressure regulator and pressure relief valve will be necessary


Schematic of a fixed tank self-containment system  


The motor caravan or caravan shall be equipped with a sink. The sink must be attached to the vehicle. Additional sinks, hand basins and shower are optional. Every sink, hand basin or shower fitted shall be supplied with water from the freshwater tank, in such a way to ensure that there is no back siphoning.

The diameter of the waste pipe from a sink, hand basin, shower tray or other fittings shall not be less than 18 mm.


Note: The standard as written recommends that all waste pipes from sinks, hand basins and shower trays shall have a water seal of not less than 40 mm, fitted close to the outlet of the fitting and no more than 1 m from the fitting. This is in accordance with the NZ building code which does not apply to mobile caravans and motorhomes. This can apply where is unit is set up as a permanent residence.

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