Building a Container Home in Florida: A Step By Step Guide

  • By: Promise
  • Time to read: 7 min.
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Building a container home in Florida involves:

  • Buying a land where the shipping container home will be built
  • Meeting a shipping container home builder in Florida for the construction work
  • Drawing a building plan
  • Purchasing the shipping containers that will be used for the building
  • Preparing and flattening the land for inspection
  • Applying for a permit to build a shipping container home in Florida
  • Constructing the foundation and moving the containers to the foundation
  • Building the floors, windows, and doors, and other things required in a house
  • Furnishing the house with furniture such as TV, Couch, etc
  • Moving into the shipping container home

A Step By Step Guide on Building a Container home in Florida

Here is the step by step guide on building a shipping container home in Florida:

Step one: Buy a Land Where the Shipping Containers will be built

The first step to building a shipping container in Florida is buying land. You need to purchase land where you want to build the shipping container home and have it ready for the building process. If you already have land, then get the land ready for work.

Step two: Meet a Shipping Container Builder in Florida

The next step is to locate any trusted shipping container home builder in Florida and give them the building contract. If you don’t know any builders, you can read an article containing the list of shipping container home builders in Florida here. The article contains the major trusted shipping container homes builders in Florida. Just follow the instructions in the article and pick one company you think can give you the dream home you desire.

However, picking a good shipping container home builder is very important. This is because you cannot build a container from scratch to completion all by yourself. You will be needing the help of an expert who is in charge of constructing such a building.

Like we always say, don’t give company’s that build normal brick or blockhouses contracts to build your shipping container home for you except you are certain that such companies build container homes too. It has to be a company that focuses on building container homes alone.

Sometimes, shipping container home builders can take up the stress for you. The majority of shipping container home builders in Florida also have architectures that work with them which makes it easier for you to draw a plan of a kind of house for a permit.

Most of them also sell and deliver shipping containers as well. Making it very easy. Therefore, meeting these builders is like taking away half of the stress for you. They can even help with getting a building permit for you.

Step three: Draw a Building Plan

This is the third stage of building a shipping container home in Florida. Once you are certain that the land where the container will be built is secured, the next is to meet an architect to draw a container home building plan for you.

It is pertinent to note that the building plan is very important as long as buildings are concerned. The plan will be used in the construction as well as getting the necessary permits needed to build the home.

However, if you don’t know any architecture to meet for the plan, you can consult the container home builder that will be doing the work for you and have them refer you to an architect. It’s even better to meet them so they can refer you to an architect that can give you a plan that will not make the Building Department not grant you a building permit.

If you want to do the permit by yourself. Ensure that the architect making the plans for you acknowledges the building codes and zoning laws so he can draw a plan that will not affect you negatively when applying for a building permit.

Step four: Purchase the Shipping Containers 

The next step is to purchase shipping containers that are needed for the work to be completed. The type of shipping container home you wish to build determines how many shipping containers to be used. If you just want a small shipping container home, it may not need too many containers.

As reiterated earlier, if you have already met with any shipping container home builders in Florida, there is a chance that they will have a container they sell. And the good news is that most of them can sell the container for you and also deliver it to the site where it will be used for the building.

However, if you don’t want to use any builder company and wish to purchase the container by yourself, or if you know where you can buy the container cheaper, ensure to describe the kind of house you wish to build out the container so they can know how many to give you.

Moreover, from the building plan alone, you should be able to know the number of shipping containers that will be needed for the work. If you are not sure or want to be sure, you can inquire from the builders that will do the job for you and have them tell you how many you need to buy.

Step five: Prepare and Flatten the Land

Since the first step is getting the land ready. Now, it’s time to prepare the land and have it ready for the building and for site inspection. Remember that sometimes, getting a permit may require the Building Department to do a physical inspection on the site before granting the permit. Therefore, you need to get the land ready.

By getting the land ready, you need to flatten the land. You can do this by adding sand. Please note that not all sand types are suitable for this process. Ensure to use sand that is suitable to avoid doing a double job. Flatten the land and have it ready for foundation.

Step six: Apply for Permit

Since Florida is one of the states that allows shipping container homes, permits must be obtained before commencing the work. Permits here include both building, electrical, and plumbing permit. But you need to first apply for the building permit. There are processes you have to follow to get a permit to build a shipping container home in Florida. Follow the process and get them.

Some cities in Florida may not need you to get a permit to build a shipping container home. But you must call the building department to inquire or meet any container home builder in the municipality where you wish to build the container home and inquire from them.

For more information about how to get a building permit, you can read an article where we explained the process of getting a permit to build a shipping container home in Florida. Note that the permit can take several months before it can be finalized.

Step seven: Start Constructing the Foundation

Once the permit is granted and everything is in place. The next step is to start constructing the foundation. Yes, you heard me right. Shipping container homes require laying a foundation. You cannot just bring the container, deliver it to the site and start cutting windows and doors, and roofs. You need to lay a strong foundation that can carry the house.

This is where the container home builder comes in. From this stage, they are the ones that can start doing the work for you while you pay them. You only need to pay the labor cost of the container home builders. But if you still wish to do it yourself, then following the house plan that was permitted, you can construct a foundation.

You can dig slabs to support the containers (this is totally optional. You can do the type of foundation you want). Ensure to define the perimeter of the slab. Purchase rebar and start reinforcement for the concrete. Try and specify the size of the rebar and the layout following the building plans (drawing) to wire it all together.

After the foundation is constructed, pour the concrete. Make sure that everything is in order before adding the concrete. This is to avoid doing a double job that will cost you more money.

It’s better to meet a container home builder and have them do this foundation for you. This is to ensure you are building a container home that is solid in case there is an earthquake or a tornado. After you are done with the foundation, leave it for days to cure for the next process.

Step eight: Move the Containers to the Foundation

After the container has cured, the next step is to start moving the containers to the foundation. You can hire a 40-Ton Crane to do the moving for you. The mount to hire this crane may differ from one municipality to the other.

Step nine: Start Building the Container Home

This is where you start building the house such as making construction for the plumbing and connecting them. Doing the floor. You can even insulate the floor of the house. Cut and create the windows and doors, etc.

Step ten: Furnish the House and Move-in

After you are done constructing the house, such as the floors, windows, doors, and adding everything needed in the house. By this time, the container home must be ready for both human and animal (pets) inhabitation. Now, you can furnish the house and move in.

Final Thoughts

While building a shipping container home in Florida, ensure that you don’t miss the important steps especially getting the permit and following the building codes and zoning laws in Florida. We recommend you meet a shipping container home builder close to the area where you wish to build the home to do the job for you. Read about the legality of shipping container homes in Florida to get more information about that.

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