Which States Allow Shipping Container Homes in the US?

  • By: Promise
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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In every generation, people come up with different inventions, innovations, and creativity. Shipping containers that were once containers for shipping products have now been converted to housing material.

They have now been used to build houses. They even have the advantage of time. But even with this new trend, not all states allow shipping container homes. So, Which states allow shipping container homes?

States that allow shipping container homes are Oregon, Texas, California, Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Louisiana, Tennessee, Carolina, etc. The International Code Council (ICC) gives more information about the standards of container homes, the acceptable building codes, and the planning permits to build a container home.

Cities like Miami, Orlando, and recently Lakeland in Florida allow shipping container homes. Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Kansas City, Nashville-Davidson, and Springfield all allow shipping containers. The zoning laws guiding the construction of these container homes differ from city to city.

Are Shipping Container Homes Legal in all States?

Shipping container homes are legal in almost all states, especially in states that have lesser strict housing regulations. But there are counties that have strict rules regarding converting shipping containers to residential spaces.

Although shipping container homes are legal in Florida, Riverside County does not allow a shipping container to be converted to a house.

Even though container homes are legal in almost all states, zoning laws differ from city to city. Permit requirements also differ and they are always updated every two years.

So you have to be familiar with the recent codes before you carry out your project. Land laws are strict in California but lenient in states like Oregon and Louisiana.

Where Are Shipping Containers Homes Legal?

Almost all the states have legalized shipping container homes though it might be stressful to construct one because of the various installments and structures that would be added and also because of the zoning laws in the city or county.

It is very easy to build shipping container homes in states like Louisiana, Texas, and Tennessee because of how lenient they are with zoning laws.

Which States Allow Shipping Container Homes?

  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • California
  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Missouri
  • Louisiana
  • North Carolina 
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee, etc, are states that allow shipping container homes in the United States.

Shipping container homes are fully controlled by the region or county you want to reside in. The first thing you have to do to be sure you are free to live in a shipping container is to check the building codes and laws in your area.

Even if your state allows it, there might be some restrictions in your city. Here is a general overview of cities that allow shipping container homes.

Cities that allow shipping container homes are:

1. Orlando, Florida

The city of Orlando adopted the Florida Building Code Seventh edition in 2020. The city doesn’t have a separate code or law on a building. The same codes governing the shipping container of the state are also applicable in the city.

To build shipping container homes, you have to send your building plan to the building department for approval. Once your plan is approved, then you will obtain a permit.

This is because some areas might not accept shipping container homes. You just have to follow the zoning laws in the city to be allowed to build the container home.

The average cost of a prefabricated container home is between $15,000 and $50,000. But this is not the static price as the price varies due to the design and size of the container as well as the cost for labor. Some container homes are up to $250,000

2. Houston, Texas

Houston is a city with lenient zoning laws. There is the freedom to build shipping container homes without restrictions. You don’t even need planning permission to build it.

When you verify the space you want to build it, you are free to build on it. But you have to follow the building codes of the area.

You are also to adhere to the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Building Code (IBC) when building.

A 20-foot shipping container home costs $12,500. The price increases the more you join the containers together. If you’ll be using three containers, it will cost you $32,000. This is different from the construction bills themselves.

3. Springfield, Missouri

Container homes in Springfield are cost-effective and help the environment which is one of the pros of using shipping containers as homes.

Container homes come with extra charges. Before you build a container home in Springfield, you need to get a permit. This is part of the extra charges aside from the delivery costs.

You have to adhere to the IRC and IBC alongside the zoning laws. Also, inspection and building fees are applicable.

The average cost of a container home in Springfield is $55,555. This does not include the labour hourly rates, material costs, and finishing costs.

4. Morgan County, Tennessee

This county does not require any building permit at all for the structure. So you can build a container home in Morgan County without a permit.

You only need permits for electricity and plumbing. You also need to follow the IBC rules concerning electricity, fire safety, etc.

The cost of the container home varies so you have to consult the home builder you want to give the project concerning this.

5. Appleton, Wisconsin

Container homes are legal in Appleton. There are even many container home builders based in this city because of how popular container homes are becoming there.

To build a container home in Appleton, you need to apply for a permit. The city follows the IRC and IBC rules, so your building shouldn’t break the rules. Also, you are to be familiar with zoning laws to know what and where to build.

Appleton is a very good place to build a container home. If you are residing there and you want to own a home, then you can give container home a try. There are home builders that’ll give you what you want.

The average cost of a container home in Appleton is between $11,000 and $98,000. This does not also include labor rates, contractor fees, inspection fees, and so on.

Final thoughts

These are just a few cities that allow shipping container homes. For you to know if your city allows container homes, check with your city building department. Be familiar with the zoning laws in the area. Please don’t jump to conclusions based on what you read on our website, rules are bound to be amended, so please contact your local building department and inquire from them.

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