Fabricating Container Homes In The Philippines Over Shipping Container Conversions.

People are always pushing the recycling of shipping containers as the main concern in the container home building circuit but over here in the Philippines they are rather battered and over priced in general.

You can find prices fluctuate depending on the time of year and even old containers seem to survive here decades after they should have been scrapped, bruised battered and the rust is cut out and new plates welded in but its a market people don’t realise exists that see’s the old containers surviving. International shipping standards keep the containers at a high quality standard but we live in the Philippines with over 7,000 islands how much goods move island to island?

This is why we see inflated prices on old containers that go back as far as the 70s and 80s is the fact they are used between islands and not internationally. If you see the state of them they would never leave the docks on an international vessel. But its this that creates our problem as a good container is always in demand as even the oldest roughest container never seems to see an end of life but simply patched up and shipped off.

Which got me back to a system I used in the UK before which is basically a frame setup and you simply slot the wall sections in. Being open already means that you can then adapt sections from adding staircases,windows and doors to complete sides being left open as unlike shipping containers these are built for the job of container homes. In essence its moving away from shipping containers into modular home construction.

image

Makes a bit more sense when you see the photo above as these can be manufactured on site or in a factory depending where the final location will be adding to that they are still stackable and get used more than people realise already in places like the UK. Temporary clinics,doctors surgeries, classrooms are all commonly using a similar system and I am looking at this as being the serious way forward with construction in the Philippines due to the costs of buying second hand units. No issues of toxic floors or damaged side panels but simply starting from the frame upwards.

But what about the walls? This is where the tricky bit comes in but is also how its practical. Getting the stuff here may not be as easy as I would like but basically I am looking for foam panels that can either be injected with foam or preformed foam panels that we can glue cladding sheets to externally. Light weight and extremely easy to construct with as well as strong and fire retardant.

Shipping Containers Into Pop Out Spaces By WhiteCrate

BBC, Shipping container display

Shipping containers are starting to become the norm not only for house construction but also for reusing as offices and other buildings. WhiteCrate has taken on the realisation that you can also make them an extremely portable sales unit and have developed a company round the concept. From an exhibition and event perspective these are also fantastic as you can simply fold up and drop when needed saving a lot of expensive costs in labour.

Shipping container cafeshipping container movie theatre

Keeping on the green route of recycling the company tries to get all its fitting out materials from local sources to help reduce unnecessary transportation and excessive waste. Having a broad selection of designs also allows people to get an idea if its suits their business and needs.

shipping container libraryshipping container vegetable store

shipping container Norton exhibition stand

The Importance Of A First Aid Kit

foot cut on glass

Its something we talk about a lot here at home about “getting one” but this week its been a case of we needed one! The cut was right down to the bone and without compression on the wound blood poured out of it. A simple mistake as someone had left some glass blades outside my office door which I tripped over leaving the room and swiftly found a deep cut and needing 4 stitches to put it all back together again.

The important thing here though is we are near the hospital and we did have stuff readily available, many shipping container home developments though are off-grid and in locations if working alone you may struggle to get back from. Adapting a first aid kit as well as getting in the habit of contacting people every hour if lone working is important for your own safety especially when doing construction work on your shipping container home. Commercially many of the lone working rules actually forbid the ability to do some of the stuff we do as private individuals if you were doing it for a company. So as you can see its pretty serious stuff and well worth preparing yourself for any emergencies.

CONTAINER HABITACIONALES SPEEDTAINER

Container Habitacionales offers up showing how container construction can be a swift construction method as well as “clean finish” allowing quick mobilisation of purpose built prefabricated container buildings straight to location. At the same time pre-wired and plumbed also means they are quick to hook up and get working on site fully functional. More of an industrial and construction type of buildings inline with site offices etc. rather than a home. But even so a practical solution.

Box Park – United Kingdom “Pop up Mall”

BOX PARK 08/2011 from Roger Wade on Vimeo.

The concept and idea is simple interconnecting 40 shipping containers to form up small shop units and literally have a “pop up mall”. Advantage in the concept is utilization of land that won’t be developed for at least 5 years allowing quick temporary and functional usage at a low cost. Putting waste land to work and at the same time creating jobs and an increased retail environment for the local community.

boxpark - shipping container mall

Why Shipping Container Buildings Make Sense

 I was sent an article regarding shipping container homes and buildings saying how toxic and impractical they are with a lot of information but with no facts backing any of it up. Toxic paints in what way? Pesticides in wooden floors what hazards do they pose after they are installed already? In reality its what I call Green Propaganda. Its irrelative as nothing is factual and just opinions a lot of hot air without actually delving into such things as have you spent any time with shipping container home owners? have you talked to them about real costs in the construction? have you even bothered to find out if there was anything dangerous or toxic relating to the containers they used?

Answer to all these questions will be without a doubt no! they haven’t bothered to look and ask, also there is no scope to anything outside of their window. For example the basis may be that they are living in America and can only think of America. What about Africa, Asia or other locations that have a huge slum population that modular shipping container buildings can offer a real solution?

shipping container school Manila

Why can it offer a real solution? because its cost affective in many ways, talk of many of the countries first issue you come across is CORRUPTION. Shipping container projects can be prefabricated and dropped onto site reducing the risk of money disappearing from the projects. Secondly its cheaper especially if labour is scarce which in the Philippines getting good trades people is often difficult. So having building block structures that remove the risk of things like poor mixed concrete where its common place for the mix to be reduced so money can be stolen gives a school as is shown here that will not collapse in the way we seen schools collapse in China during earthquakes. Its not just practical its a secondary safety net.

The argument that also came up is shipping containers are too small to live in. Really??

Better rush down and tell these guys they should be rioting instead of happy for the housing the received. Here in Talisay, Philippines because they are smaller than a shipping container, but then again they don’t have plasma TV’s, need a bedroom for every child, large kitchen etc. etc. because they used to one room living. The advantages of this type of housing is its cheap and fast but also reinstates self pride and self respect. Yes I know they aren’t shipping containers and its currently something I am looking into as I want to do a price comparison on construction. The point was the physical size of houses people are prepared to live in.

Community Housing Project Talisay,Cebu,Philippines – Gawad Kalinga charityNow as a foreign national I can understand space being an issue yet the article didn’t cover cutting out wall sections and welding units together. Neither did it look at any other real solution to combining units together. One solution could be to attach an empty unit (similar to this below) which is a basic shell. Its dimensions are the same as a sealed unit and allows for containers to be attached in whatever direction you want. Depending where you are its likely to be cheaper than a contained unit as a contained unit here in the Philippines has a “scrap value of the steel”.image 

Now what if I am a westerner wanting to build a shipping container in the West??

Labour costs in the UK are around 35 – 40% of a house construction, shipping container homes can be done mainly by the owner and friends bringing that cost down by at least half if not more.

Land needed is reduced as shipping container homes are generally smaller in dimensions meaning they need less land which means they cost less to construct because you buy less land.

Running costs are lower because your using a smaller land area and if insulated correctly its likely to be more energy efficent I have had a victorian and edwardian house in the UK and they are cold in the winter even with the heating burning money away due to the high ceilings and type of brickwork.

Modular costing is the main reason it makes sense to me. Because if you buy a house in the UK you pay up front and stuck with a mortgage for 25 years. But if you buy land in one phase then your containers as you can afford to add things in a modular costing form how much cheaper is it?

Well I will give an estimate based on Worcester England as its where I live generally when I am in the UK. More expensive to live than many other regions but will work for a comparison I will take what is available which left 2 properties one is in a council estate and the other is a 1 bedroom home :-

1 bedroom terraced house for sale

Cost £100,000

Mortgage period 25 years

Monthly cost £614

£614 x 12 x 25 years = £184,200 (COST OF LOAN £84,200)

 

 

 

 

Shipping container home version :-

Land for Sale in Evesham (why Evesham because we want to move out of the City to a more rural location)

Guide Price: £20,000

Size: 2.5 acres (This is a big piece of land for the money)

Land Type: Small Holding

Planning Permission: No Planning Permission (not yet although allocation of temporary structures will be)

First concern is the £20,000 which is a huge chunk of change, I can either wait 2 years and save the money to buy the land cash (if its still available by then) or look to get a loan. Either is an option although if taking a loan on would involve a lot of hunting around for price comparisons and being able to pay it off early without penalty.

Even so if we estimated a cost of £35,000 to complete the purchase after all the interest was added in a worst case scenario we now have land to start our project on. The issues would be trying to negotiate the land usage with a “temporary structure” as shipping container homes often fall into this category and if needed look at pushing forward on other developments. I would be keen on a site as large as this to look at raising cattle for food as well as vegetables and fruit trees. Isn’t this more viable, sustainable and a better option than the house at £100,000? Wouldn’t it also be cheaper to construct, cheaper in loan payments, and cheaper to maintain? Isn’t it also a better location away from the city to give children a better environment to grow up in?

I struggle to find the logic in the fact assumptions that shipping container housing isn’t viable. May not be everyone’s cup of tea and I know many people sceptical of the idea at the same time they have never lived in or been to a working shipping container home which leaves their imagination thinking of a rusty old container.

Could go a little further than that with the holiday home concept where you will find literally thousands of caravans in the UK or in the US “trailer parks” full of temporary homes or weekend retreats depending who lives there. Many are smaller than shipping containers yet people pay a small fortune to live in them during peak holiday seasons near the coast.

Large conventional styled shipping container home 12 x 40ft containers.

Another fine example of taking what seems to be a stack of containers into a luxury home. As you can see in the photo there is no fancy shapes or designs in the structure but actually doing what containers do and stacking them. A few of the container sides have been removed to open up the rooms.large shipping container home 12x40ft container home

As the roof is added the home starts to take shape an added bonus to the shipping container structure is that the extra strength in recycling the containers actually makes the roof structure strong enough to add a green roof.large shipping container home 12x40ft container home

In the third photo you can really see the home start to look like a luxury house at this stage its a case of adding insulation cover and/or over cladding www.sgblocks.com who design these homes say that for energy efficency adding the appropriate coatings you can see a reflection rate of around 95% on exterior radiation as well as a strong resistance to lose interior heat/cooling. On top of that a great infiltration barrier against water.

large shipping container home 12x40ft container home

One thing for sure with the world recession in play many people have woken up to the practical uses of using shipping containers as homes.