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Van Racking Ideas From Bott SmartVan

Rob Wells
By: Rob Wells
Updated: 5th November 2021

bott Smartvan Boiler Guide's Product of the Month

Need van racking ideas? Get More Out Of Your Van with bott Smartvan

Plumbing and Heating Engineers have long been using plywood to create storage places and increase load capacity within their vans, correctly recognising the value of not only keeping expensive tools safe in transit but also how time efficient it is to be able to see stock levels of small parts and lay your hands on what you need when you need it.
Bott Smartvan takes van racking to a truly professional level. Utilising over 30 years of van conversion expertise, bott Smartvan have designed a fully customisable, van model specific, space efficient, lightweight steel van racking range for the self-fit market.

Who are bott?

Bott are a UK provider of workspace and in-vehicle storage solutions first established in 1980. Their fleet vehicle conversion centre creates bespoke vehicle conversions including van racking, electrics, decals and much more. Made in Britain using German-inspired engineering, manufactured and packed on-site at our plant in Cornwall, the Smartvan range distils this knowledge into a modular self-fit, no drill, lightweight steel racking solution for micro fleets and sole traders.
The racking is fully crash tested to EU ECE / R17 standards to ensure the highest possible safety and comes with a 3 year manufacturer warranty.

Make and model specific design

Commercial vehicle specific designs for small, medium and large vans match to your van's existing manufacturer fixing points perfectly, allowing the racking to be safely and securely fitted with no drilling required. The clever design utilises otherwise wasted space to give you maximum storage for your tools and materials without compromising on your load space. Unlike traditional box-shaped ply racking, bott Smartvan racking is based on slimline frames fitted on either side of the van, sitting in the wall space over the wheel arch to keep most of the central loading area free.

Made for the trade

Using our experience of the modules that plumbing and heating engineers have brought, and cross-matching that to the tools, kit and parts that we know you use, we designed two levels of van racking design packages specifically for plumbing and heating professionals. Choice is a good thing, but it can be overwhelming and we wanted to offer a recommended solution for our biggest trade customer base, plumbers. We have set the packs at two price points; Standard which start from £741 and Premium which start from £922.

Fully customisable van racking solutions

If you do still want to design your own setup, the modular system enables customers to go online and design their own solution using our innovative configuration tool –
Choosing from simple trough shelving, power tool case holders, perfo panels with hooks, portable cases, or a mixture of all of them, it is easy to put together a solution to suit you. Shelves and other accessories are height-adjustable, interchangeable, and can be positioned at different depths to follow the contours of your van and make use of space normally wasted with traditional van racking.

You can even switch shelves around within the racking as your tools or work practices change over time.

Prices for racking modules start from just £229 and standard delivery is from 3 to 5 days for the UK mainland.
You can find us at as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube (@bottsmartvan)

Boiler Guide Q&A

As amazing as the Smartvan racking system looks we’re not on the tools on a daily basis so we asked our network of trusted heating engineers what they’d ask bott before kitting out their vans.

Q1. It looks heavy compared with using ply – won’t you ruin my MPG?

A. Bott Smartvan racking is manufactured at our plant in Cornwall from lightweight pressed steel. It is significantly lighter than plywood. If you replaced like for like with plywood racking, it would reduce your overall weight and improve your MPG.

Messy Plywood van racking vs tidy bott Smartvanbott

Q2. What makes your racking smart?

A. Haha, good question! Our racking is smart to look at but its beauty is more than skin deep. Our clever designs allow us to provide off the shelf options which are tailored to each specific van model and which are fully secured into the van without needing to drill any holes, we use the existing manufacturer fixing points. Plus, the smart design allows you to switch parts around at will to keep up with your changing work styles and tools, it's been described as Meccano for adults...or big kids!

Q3. How much is it compared to plywood shelving, I drive a VW T5.

A. I guess if you're talking about fully racking out one side of a T5, you'd be looking at around £300 for a ply set up and about £700 for the equivalent storage with Bott Smartvan. Do remember though that our system comes with a 3-year manufacturer warranty, is fully crash tested and you won't have to drill into your lovely Transporter to fix it in.

Q4. Do you provide a fitting service?

A. Bott Smartvan is a self-fit solution that bolts into existing manufacturer fixing points. It is designed to be fitted by a layperson, and we provide full fitting instructions as well as video content on our website and YouTube.
If you would like a fitted service the vehicle conversion team at bott are happy to help.

Q5. How long does it take to fit the plumber packages?

A. We say it takes between 1-2 hours per module. On the Standard Plumber's package, it would take roughly 3-5 hours in a small or medium van. With the Premium Plumber's package, it would take 4-6 hours in a small van and in a medium van, it would take about 7-9 hours. If you watch the videos first on our YouTube channel, you can probably shave a chunk off this time.

Smartvan Premium Plumber's Package
Q6. How long will it van conversion take?

A. This depends upon the set up you choose. We estimate it takes between 1 and 2 hours per module. Feedback from customers is that the first module takes the longest, once you've done that, and you know what you're doing, the rest of the modules are a lot quicker.

Q7. What system would you recommend for a heating engineer with a ford transit?

A. For the Ford Transit Custom, Courier and Connect we have put together two recommended packages for Plumbers offering Standard and Premium options at different price points.
If you have a large Transit van I would suggest module 2065 which includes bottboxes for small parts storage like copper endfeed fittings, washers etc, varioSlide drawers and varioSafes (which are removable, stackable boxes with lidded handles) where you can store hoses and larger fittings and valves. I would probably also go for module 1062 which has more bottboxes (you can never have too many) as well as varioSort service cases in angled holders and universal angled power tool case holders to as well. In a large Transit just 2 modules offer a huge amount of storage, however, you can fully kit out a large van the same as a small or medium one if you need to.

Q8. Thoughts on indoor LED lighting?

A. We sell the GloForce Eye Lights. They are rechargeable 1000 Lumen LED floodlights and they are totally portable. They use a rubberised magnetic foot to secure them to any metal surface, like the van roof or sides or bott Smartvan racking. If you want to take it into a job with you just pull it off the wall or racking and put it back when you're done. We love them!

Glowforce Eye Lights

Q9. What makes your products different or better?

A. I think what makes us different is what we bring together in one place online. We enable the purchase of a no drill, van specific solution which is designed by van racking specialists (bott) and customised by the people who know your work best, you. Our slimline design also differentiates us from other traditional racking solutions. We have worked hard to try to use space up the sides of the van whilst retaining as much flexible load space as possible.

The other thing I really like about our system is, unlike traditional ply or other professional solutions, ours enables ongoing flexibility. We know that the tools you use change over time, the type of work you do or the way you like to work also changes, and our racking can be easily moved around or have new features added in at the twist of an allen key.

Q10. Where’s best to store sandpaper in a van?

A. I would say this depends on how often you use it. If you use it a lot I would store it in one of our trough shelves near the door using our shelf dividers to create a perfectly sized space. If you don't use it very often I would store it in the same way but in the module just behind the driver's seat. You could have a bottbox in the shelf as well where you store offcuts or part used pieces. Our bulkhead modules of great storage options with easy access to often used parts and kit.

Q11. Tool theft is a big problem from vans, can Smartvan offer any more security?

A. We sell both Van Vaults and Amorguard Trekdrors. Both are Secured by Design certificated and can be fitted beneath our deck kit for an efficient and integrated security solution. We are always on the lookout for ways to help prevent or deter tool theft as we know it is a big concern for our customers. #novanber

Armorgard and Vanvault draws

Q12. Is the racking reusable if I change vans to a different model?

A. The answer is partly. If you swap to a different make and/or model van you will need to buy replacement frames & brackets which match the new vehicle's fixing points, we sell these on our accessory shop. You can then unbolt all the shelves, drawers, service case holders, power tool case holders etc and move them into your new van as these are all standard widths so will fit frames across vehicles. You can also move all your accessories over as well.

We know that our racking has a strong resale value so the alternative would be to sell the old van with the racking in it and put the extra money towards some shiny new kit!

Q13. One thing I struggle with big time is storing dust sheets – do you have a solution?

A. We definitely do, our Euro Boxes are perfect for this. You can store these neatly away under our deck kit if you include that in your racking solution, or you can use our load securing straps to keep them secure in transit if not.


Interested in van shelving from Smartvan? Visit the SmartVan website: SmartVan


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Rob Wells

About the author

Rob Wells

Rob is another of our resident home heating experts. He manages our external partnerships, making sure you get the most up to date information.

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