Using shipping containers as homes is an innovation many countries are opening up to owing to the fact that it comes with numerous advantages.
Shipping container homes are homes made out of shipping containers. It is the construction of a house with the use of cargo/shipping containers.
Considering the nature of shipping containers and how uncomfortable it can be to be inside a shipping container especially during hot days, who would believe that such material could be used to construct homes humans can actually live in?
Technology and development made it possible. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about using shipping containers as homes including the pros and cons of using shipping containers as homes.
Can I Use Shipping Containers as Homes?
Yes, you can use shipping containers as homes as long as you are permitted by your State/City to do so. Therefore, before thinking of using shipping containers as home, you are advised to first contact your city’s local authority to be sure you can build a container home in your location.
The fact remains that using shipping containers as home involves lots of things, hence the reason for this article. If you are interested in using shipping containers to build homes, by the end of this article, you will know the procedures to follow.
How to Use Shipping Containers as Homes
Here are how to use shipping containers as homes:
1. Secure Land to Build the Container Home
Since using shipping containers as homes involve building one on land, you however need to secure land where the home will be built.
However, while securing the land, there are many things you need to do to ensure the land is suitable to build the container home.
First of all, you need to contact the local authority of the city where the land is located to verify the possibility of building a shipping container home in that location.
This is because, while states allow shipping container homes, some cities may not permit you to build one in a land meant for something else.
So, the best way to find out of by calling the local authority and inquire from them. They are in the best position to tell you.
Another way to find out if the location of the land is suitable for a shipping container home is by checking if someone has already erected a shipping container home in that same location.
If you can find one there, it could be that it’s OK by the city if you build a shipping container home there. But it’s best you contact them to be on the safe side.
2. Draw a Building Plan for the Container Home
Drawing a building plan is the next step to follow. You need a plan to build a house. The plan is also important for getting a building permit which is also necessary for building container homes.
You can meet any reputable architect to draw the plan for you. It would be perfect if the architect have ideas about shipping container homes.
Also, you are advised to meet an architect that is located in the same city or state where you wish to build the container home. By doing this, the architect is aware of the state’s/city’s building code and follows it while drawing the plans.
You need to make sure that the plan follows the building code of the state/city where the building will be constructed otherwise, you will not be able to proceed to get a permit to build the house.
3. Buy the Shipping Containers Needed to Build the House
Since it is a shipping container home, you need to buy the containers that will be needed in building the house.
However, the number of shipping containers to buy depends on the type of shipping container home you wish to build. Is it a 1, 2 or 4 bedroom house? The higher the rooms the higher the containers to be used.
From the building plan, you will be able to know how many shipping containers to buy. If it is a 3 bedroom flat, you will be needing two 40-foot shipping containers.
Moreover, the best way to find out the number of shipping containers needed for the house is by asking the architect. If he cannot give you a correct answer, you can however meet any shipping container home builder and inquire from them. You can even buy the containers from these builders.
Also, there are many things to put in mind when purchasing shipping containers to build the house. First of all, you need to make sure the containers are safe and still strong. Secondly, you need to make sure the containers were not used to carry harmful material/chemicals in the past.
While these harmful chemicals are no longer on the container, they might still be harmful to the body when exposed to them for a very long time.
Also, while using new shipping containers is a very good idea, using used shipping containers for the house is equally not a bad idea. Just make sure you buy one that was not used to carry harmful materials in the past.
4. You Need to Obtain a Planning Permit
While most states/cities may not require you to obtain a planning permit to build a shipping container home, others may. So the best way to find out if you are mandated to obtain a permit before starting work on the site is by contacting the local authority and inquiring from them.
Sometimes, you may be mandated by some city to obtain planning permission before placing a shipping container on your property. All these are what you have to find out from your local authority before the containers are delivered to the site.
5. Request the Service of a Shipping Container Home Builder
Building a shipping container home involves lots of work. It is not something you can do by yourself. You must surely need the services of a shipping container home builder.
While using a container home builder is optional, there are many advantages to get by using their services. First of all, they will take away the workload/burden from you. They can even help to obtain the necessary permits needed to build the house.
However, if you wish to use the services of a shipping container home builder, ensure the builder is located in the same city or state where you wish to build the container home. This is to make the work easier and cut some expenses for you.
Lists of Shipping Container Builders by State/Country
We have assembled the best shipping container home builders in these states/cities/countries below.
- Container home builders in the UK
- Container home builders in Georgia
- Container home builders in Ohio
- Shipping container home builders in Florida
- Container Home Builders in Perth
These are the most important thing you must do if you wish to use shipping containers to construct a home. Also, you can read the complete guide on how to build a shipping container home here. It is a detailed article where all the steps needed to follow to build a shipping container home were explained in full detail.
Pros of Using Shipping Containers as Homes
- It is Cheap: Using shipping containers as homes is cheaper than the normal traditional house we all know. This is because of the fact that bricks/blocks which cost a lot of money will not be used. Once you purchase the shipping containers needed to build the house, it will be modified to fit the kind of house you wish to build.
- It is Faster to Build: Building a shipping container home is faster than building a brick house. As reiterated earlier, once you purchase the containers, they will be modified to accommodate how many bedrooms you wish to have in the house and how you want the house to be. Doing this is quicker than the brick/blockhouse.
- Durability: While many may be afraid of using shipping containers as homes considering how durable it is, others are not. Shipping containers are quite durable and last longer than you expect.
- Design it to Your Choice: With shipping container homes, you have creative freedom. As long as the house follows the building code of your location, you can choose to design and build the house however way you want it.
- It is Easy to Carry Around: Another interesting thing about shipping container homes is that they are easy to carry around to the extent that some builders do modify the containers in their workshop before delivering them to the site where they will be placed on the foundation.
Cons of Using Shipping Containers as Homes
It is not Eco-Friendly: Using shipping containers as homes is not a bad idea but we all know how hot it can be staying inside shipping containers. Therefore, shipping container homes may not be eco-friendly which means, you will be needing the support of Air conditioning in the house to be able to comfortably live in the house. It may not be environmentally friendly as well.
There May Be Delay in Obtaining Permits: Obtaining permits to build a shipping container home can sometimes take too much time especially if you don’t know what you are doing.
It’s not about using shipping containers as homes, rather, it’s about making sure the container homes are in line with the building code of your locality. First of all, find out whether your local authority allows the building of shipping container homes and ensure to follow all the building codes including all the procedures of building a shipping container home.