Heavy Vehicles Converted Into Motor Homes

Heavy Vehicles Converted Into Motor Homes for Personal Use

If you convert a heavy vehicle into a motor home for personal use, you must comply with several requirements to be authorized to put the vehicle back into operation.

Modifying or hand-crafting a vehicle

Before converting a heavy vehicle into a motor home, you must know the procedure to follow:

Characteristics of a heavy vehicle converted into a motor home

Maximum length

The maximum length is generally determined on the basis of the rear overhang, namely:

  • 12.5 metres for all motor vehicles with a rear overhang of 4 metres or less
  • 14 metres for all buses with a rear overhang of 4 metres or less
  • 11 metres for all other cases

If you plan to hitch a trailer to the vehicle, its total length is also limited. See the Vehicle Load and Size Limits Regulation.

The rear overhang is measured from the centre of the axle or axle group to the rear end of the vehicle (including the bumper and load).

Cargo space

If the motor home has cargo space, it must not exceed 30% of the length of the vehicle or 3.65 metres.

Driver's compartment

The driver's compartment must be part of the living space. In addition, it must be readily accessible in an upright position from the inside of the vehicle. 

Fifth wheel

A fifth wheel, or a place to attach one, is not accepted on a hand-crafted motor home.

Mandatory equipment

Basic components

  • A kitchen that includes a stove, refrigerator, counter, sink and table
  • Sleeping quarters that include a hide-a-bed or bed
  • A complete bathroom that includes a shower and a toilet with a permanent hook-up to a drainage system
  • An electrical system that is independent of the vehicle's motor
  • A propane gas system with a certificate of installation compliance
  • A potable water tank
  • A sewage tank
  • A water heater
  • A heating system that is independent of the vehicle's motor
  • A minimum of two seats with seat belts
  • A number of seats and seat belts greater than or equal to the number of places to sleep (maximum 9)

Seats for passengers

A heavy vehicle that is converted into a motor home must be designed to seat no more than 9 occupants, including the driver. Every seat must be equipped with a seat belt:

  • If the original vehicle was equipped with seats that did not have seat belts (a school bus, for example), those seats must be taken out of the vehicle
  • Seats and seat belts must be new, designed for this type of vehicle and installed by a certified installer according to the manufacturer's specifications 
  • A 3-point seat belt is required for all seats

Only equipment designed specifically for installation in a recreational vehicle is accepted. To know more about what equipment may be installed, other than mandatory equipment, please refer to what is offered by the large manufacturers of recreational vehicles. Any unusual or unconventional equipment will be refused. 

Seat belts

Installing seat belts on seats that were not designed for this type of device is prohibited.

We may request information on the purchase, origin and installation of the vehicle's seats and seat belts.


We strongly recommend installing carbon monoxide, smoke and propane detectors in a motor home. 

Before travelling in your motor home for personal use

If we conclude that the vehicle meets road safety standards, we will issue you:

  • a valid mechanical inspection certificate
  • a certificate of inspection that confirms:  
    • the presence of mandatory equipment
    • the compliance of the equipment and modifications

The certificate of inspection must be kept on board the vehicle at all times.

Vehicle registration

Once the conversion has been approved by the SAAQ, the vehicle may be registered just like any other motor home.

Required documents

When you change the vehicle's licence plate, you must show:

  • the valid mechanical inspection certificate
  • the certificate of inspection 

The licence plate category must be changed before the heavy vehicle converted into a motor home can be operated legally. 

Class 5 driver's licence

A Class 5 driver's licence is required to drive a motor home.

As long as the heavy vehicle has not been recognized as a motor home

You must hold the appropriate class of licence to drive the vehicle.

Last update: July 21, 2021