25/08/2020
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What is a holiday home?

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By definition, a holiday home is a home where you spend your holidays. Right? Well, it’s certainly not wrong – but there’s more to know. And, importantly, why is the term holiday home used to mean something with little wheels and not made of bricks or stone? After all, a holiday home is a cottage, a villa, an apartment… If you put the words ‘holiday home’ into any search engine, that’s exactly what will pop up on your screen.

So, when did the term ‘holiday home’ come to mean static caravan? Or when did a static caravan become a holiday home? It all started in the 1980s. During that decade, static caravans were moving a long way upmarket from the primitive structures of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Static caravans were being redefined, moving away from units with manual water pumps, many of them with no toilets or showers and most of them with insulation and heating that was inefficient. The potential for the market was being realised.

At the time when manufacturers were pushing the boundaries and moving the concept of static caravans upwards in terms of facilities, closer to those you’d find at home, and injecting luxury status into many, the marketeers got busy. A giant wave of terminology swept the industry, from manufacturers to parks: static caravans would now be called holiday homes.

Years later, though, the internet arrived. And put a spanner into the holiday home terminology works. ‘Holiday homes’ is too general a term, of course. ‘Statics’ are specific. So, the word ‘static’ is here to stay – online, at least. Go onto any holiday home specialist insurance company’s website, for example, and you will find the word ‘static’ everywhere – because it’s searchable. You will find the words ‘static caravans’ on some manufacturers’ websites, too.

Lodges

A Wessex Spinney lodge, available in 45ft by 20ft or 50ft by 22ft versions  and built to residential specification (Image: Wessex)Much more recently, also in response to the evolution and advancement of the holiday home concept, another term entered the arena: ‘lodge’. Again, a word with a multitude of meanings... ski lodges, hunting lodges, beavers’ lodges…

The Cambridge Dictionary defines a lodge as: ‘A small house in the country, used especially by people on holiday.’ Collins Dictionary says: ‘A lodge is a house or hut in the country or in the mountains where people stay on holiday especially when they want to shoot or fish.’

So, in essence, a lodge is surely a holiday home…

The difference between a holiday home and a lodge

‘Static caravans’ evolved into luxury holiday homes like this one, the ABI Langdale (Image: ABI)Put simply, a lodge is a larger version of a static caravan holiday home. Lodges cost more than static caravan holiday homes; a lot more. So, lodges are something to consider if you like a lot of space and you know you are going to be spending a lot of time in your leisure abode. That makes splashing out a larger sum of money worthwhile because you’re going to get a great deal of benefit from your investment in leisure time.

Manufacturer Willerby’s explanation sums it up: “The main differences between holiday homes and lodges are size and price. If your budget allows for you to splurge, you might want to consider a holiday lodge. These offer more space, making them ideal for big families and for those wanting to spend longer periods of time in them.”

Lodges are usually 20ft wide and can be 22ft; lengths go up to around 50ft, sometimes more. Static caravan holiday homes are 10ft to 14ft wide. Figures, though, can be guilty of over-simplifying; many statics are spacious – for example, Willerby’s Avonmore holiday home is available in a range of sizes up to 14ft wide and 40ft long.

Again, Willerby’s words: “Like holiday homes, the price of lodges varies from entry-level through to complete luxury.” 

Park homes

A residential park home – this is the Addington, made by Tingdene (Image: Tingdene)Like holiday homes and lodges, the words ‘park homes’ don’t provide a precise definition. Park homes are made to be permanent homes, rather than holiday homes. So, what’s the difference? The answer is: nothing – until they arrive on a park. Park home estates are for permanent residence and holiday home parks are not licenced for residential use. Confusingly, some lodges can be just as much a park home as a holiday lodge and this is why: the vast majority of lodges are built to the same standards of insulation as park homes. So, what are those standards?

Build standards

There are two standards applied in the holiday home, lodge and park home manufacturing industry: EN 1647 and BS 3632.

Holiday homes are built to a standard known as EN 1647. Manufacturer Omar Park and Leisure Homes explains: “EN 1647 is the European standard for caravan holiday homes, which are suitable for temporary, or seasonal holiday use.”

Park homes are built to BS 3632, which means they are suitable for residential use. We turned to Omar again: “All park home manufacturers who are members of the NCC (National Caravan Council) participate in the Self Certification Scheme to ensure conformity with BS 3632. Every home is manufactured to a rigorous programme of test and inspection and the summary is then sent to the NCC for verification.”

So, put simply, a static caravan holiday home is built to the EN standard and is made for seasonal use (early spring to late autumn) and a park home is built to the BS standard and is made to be lived in all year.

Or is it that simple? Well, almost… Most lodges are built to residential standards of insulation and energy efficiency. If you are buying a static caravan holiday home built to the EN standard, you may be able to have it upgraded to residential standard during its manufacture.

Upgrading

You may be able to specify an upgrade to the BS standard when you place your order for a holiday home that come as standard with the EN spec; it’s an option offered by several manufacturers. This is a particularly attractive option if you are going to site it on a holiday park that is open all year.

Even though a holiday home is made to residential standards, that doesn’t mean that you can live there permanently, of course. That’s because holiday parks are licenced for holiday, not permanent, use, whereas residential parks are licenced for permanent occupation.

In simple terms, the upgrade involves enhanced insulation to walls, floor and the roof. The energy efficiency and thermal performance of the home is the key factor here. Pemberton Leisure Homes explains: “Better insulation results in significant improvements in energy efficiency, keeping homes warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

“Walls built to comply with BS 3632 standards have at least two to three times more insulation than those of typical EN 1647 holiday homes.”

Pemberton also says: “BS 3632 requires that an A-rated heating and water system is installed, capable of raising the temperature in rooms to certain (specified) temperatures. This criteria does not exist in the EN 1647 holiday home standard.”

An added benefit is that enhanced acoustic performance comes along with enhanced insulation, so the music you are playing is far less likely to be heard by your park neighbours.

So, in conclusion, the arena of leisure abodes on little wheels is packed with confusing and conflicting parlance. Whatever you call them, these holiday bases, in all their forms and in their vast price range, are brilliant options for couples and families who want a place of their own in their favourite location.

If you’re interested in buying a park or holiday home, or you already have one and want inspiration on how to get the most from your park home, then Park and Holiday Home Inspiration magazine is for you. Better still you can download a copy right now, just click here to get the latest copy of Park and Holiday Home Inspiration magazine.

All pictures in this feature are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission

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