Container Homes Would You Live In One?

I’m a bit bias in this because I am used to hotel working as a contractor, being able to fit everything into a bag or a suitcase is normal and with container homes its also getting into the same realms. But then I start looking at projects around the home as my type of work changed from hands on to a laptop and meetings. In reality the woodworking and other tools I collected are pretty much just gathering dust in the garage of my parents. Over £10,000 of equipment that aren’t even seeing regular maintenance never mind usage.

For the home they will never be needed again but it gets me to the DIY issues that crop up where people head down to the hardware store at the weekends to get all the bits and pieces to do a simple job. Talking to them they will say they can’t afford a professional yet what they have been buying says otherwise. The tools will often only be used once and the job never completed to a professional manner. If it is that normally means its taken longer than it should, in reality people exchange weekends for repairs. The best example I seen was the head of a university I was at when his kettle broke. He had started to repair it when he suddenly just threw it in the bin and got one ordered for next day delivery with our usual supplier of other goods. Why? Because his hourly rate was £50 per hour and its going to take him an hour to fix the kettle by the time he stripped it down, fixed it and put it back together again. Whilst buying a brand new kettle was less than £20 and at least it should work for another year or more.

This gets back to the argument of giving up weekends as time with friends and family are precious. We work hard all week why should we be taking up our time under the sink or repairing something else? A professional can come in and get the job done in half the time and although not going to be cheap it ma work out to save a lot of time in the long run and if done properly money as well.

Doesn’t mean don’t have a woodworking shed or some other hobby it just means if you are going to go to the hassles and cost of buying machinery and tools make sure your really going to use them. Otherwise its a waste of money,time and space. All in all its how most people live these days with a lot of stuff around them they hardly use. Even if not considering a shipping container home I bet there is plenty of things you could de-clutter your house with and benefit from it.

The world changed from being social to being more in a bubble, I don’t call Facebook or Twitter being social its text across the airwaves its not sitting in a library with real people or going to a local pub with friends. Its isolation in the modern age where people banter about the little things in life generally that most people aren’t interested in. Real social engagement seems to be unfashionable for many yet for humans it is normal. Shipping container villages have probably got more going for them in a community sense than most streets these days. If we look at caravans and trailer communities the bonds between people are a lot better than most neighbourhoods. One of these aspects is that limited space makes people spend time outside with others. Sitting on the porch talking to neighbours, community group meetings, children playing together many of these things have been removed from general society. Not all to do with what people live in but how things are built and how people interact.

Shipping Container Homes Wrong Idea?

I keep hearing people saying how bad the idea is for shipping container homes due to cost of moving the units as well as the space but is it really?

In reality a shipping container home can be built modular and with a small skill base, no architect, no builders, no big expenses so why is it wrong?

When you have bugs who do you call? Get the yellow pages!

When you want chicken for dinner do you go to the farmer next door or the supermarket?

These are reasons why shipping container homes are shunned upon because it breaks the consumerism barrier where your told you have to do something instead of thinking about how can I do it.

A shipping container home gives not only opportunity and a home but freedom and although you make have a bit of a pitched battle going on to get it sited its worth it.

When I look at costs of construction and mortgages its very quick to see that you can save 1/3rd if not more on cost because you reducing labour as well as being able to do it in affordable stages.

I have an added advantage of fighting the corner of the shipping container home movement in that I do have an internet troll with nothing better to do than be negative. Odd thing about shipping container homes is I have yet to meet anyone who built one that said it was a bad or wrong idea. Why? because normally they are debt free because they did most of the work themselves.

Disaster Relief Shipping Container Home City Concepts

When I came across these yesterday I thought wow some great ideas going on here but they had “Haiti” plastered all over them. No offence but the disaster relief as well as low cost housing solutions shouldn’t be limited to Haiti. These places would work not only for poor but business sector workers in developing nations where city prices are expensive. Quite simply they are fantastic images and I can see how these shipping container homes could quickly become a shipping container city.

shipping container apartments

shipping container apartments shipping container apartments

But more importantly they aren’t ugly! They are however very viable for many uses although staircases need altering for safety reasons on the images but the concept in general is fantastic.

Disaster Relief Shipping Container Home City Concepts

When I came across these yesterday I thought wow some great ideas going on here but they had “Haiti” plastered all over them. No offence but the disaster relief as well as low cost housing solutions shouldn’t be limited to Haiti. These places would work not only for poor but business sector workers in developing nations where city prices are expensive. Quite simply they are fantastic images and I can see how these shipping container homes could quickly become a shipping container city.

shipping container apartments

shipping container apartments shipping container apartments

But more importantly they aren’t ugly! They are however very viable for many uses although staircases need altering for safety reasons on the images but the concept in general is fantastic.

Intermodal Design Shipping Container Homes

Intermodal Design although putting emphasis on disaster relief for container homes as you can see here in their “stages” of construction it also makes sense for low budget housing. For me it also makes the difference between government handouts and people taking responsibility for themselves as evolving their home from what would be just a live in shipping container to an evolved home where you can’t tell its a container is what can change the perspective of many on how container living works.

Building villages in these types of units allows the whole community to develop together, it also bonds the community together as they are more likely to get involved in each others projects to complete the homes into their finished state. Which in reality is what any architect in housing development wants more than anything or should be social development and community building.

Intermodal Design -IMDU0322 shipping container home Intermodal Design -IMDU0322 shipping container home Intermodal Design -IMDU0322 shipping container home Intermodal Design -IMDU0322 shipping container home

Shipping Container Homes In China

Shipping container home china - The sign reads "Cargo Shipping Container House for Rent/Purchase" (The Epoch Times Archives)

When I started looking at shipping container homes I had already spent a few years working with modular construction of hotels as well as timber frame housing. It was easy to see how a concept of one could fit the other at a lower cost.

On the other hand though many people are very against the idea without even listening to the argument. Bit like a friend of mine who had no money week to week, flash car and upmarket home but an empty pocket. In reality the shipping container home can do a role reversal because you start with money not debt due to cheaper costs of living as the one thing we can’t do without is a roof over our heads.

In China its having the same problem as Shenzhen where a lot of the manufacturing is done in the country has seen house prices climb to unrealistic levels for most people to purchase. In steps the shipping container home which may even before be seen as a “joke property” its now seeing a development as a low cost housing solution across east and west of Shenzhen City. The main reason for choosing one is obviously cost where they can be rented for 6 yuan (US$0.88) per day, which adds up to only 180 yuan (US$26) a month, and 2,160 yuan (US$316) a year.

The owners of the shipping container homes often don’t have rights of land ownership that leave them a fear of being towed away in the middle of the night. the houses are often seen in woods,under bridges, near construction sites or highways in Shenzhen. A price to pay if you want to be in the City but with the average price of housing being 20,000 yuan per square meter (approximately US$272 per square foot) there is more likely to be an increase in container living rather than reduction in the area.

A report by the Economics Daily said that a Mr Wang purchased a container for 10,000 yuan (US$1,465) and rents the land it sits upon. He had originally dreamed of owning a home when he first moved to the city but quickly found the cost of living increasing a lot faster than his salary increases. Because property rentals were also too expensive to rent he took residence up inside an abandoned container that he found in a construction site.

The one good thing out of this is that Container home manufacturers are finding a growing market which will no doubt also improve the quality of the homes. They are now able to successfully compete in the housing market due to the huge demand for low-cost housing. A real estate specialist remarked the interest in “cargo shipping-container houses is the best indication of China’s high price of housing.”

To get an idea of the severity of the housing problem the land has seen prices rise around 40% between December and January. The area has not been affected by China’s stiff measures to control pricing.

Shipping Container Homes Make Sense

I was never 100% on shipping container homes as a solution to the housing problem until I started looking at the skill level and availability of capital people have.

Where does the negativity come from that puts people off? Maybe its the fact even poor people on TV land have huge houses which makes people think they aren’t doing so well themselves and should look to do better.

Maybe its that they aren’t brick built, yet timber frame is a lot more flimsy. In fact I look at everything about a shipping container home and wonder why not?

For a start its a basic model that most people can adapt a home from. Which starts getting into the realms of conspiracy theories of why people are trying to put others off the construction. Remember when you worked on your car and repaired it yourself? Today its got to be plugged into a computer that identifies the problem reducing your ability to fix the vehicle even though you own it yet the garage extracts money from you that you may not have had to pay before. I think this is the issue in the housing industry with codes and legislation to try and make it impossible to do things yourself and in the end relying on contractors who in turn rely on their suppliers giving them information for the latest products, that the goes back to the manufacturers who in turn go back to shareholders. Is it a conspiracy theory to stop people doing their own thing? I really don’t know these days and as a surveyor I come across many a legislation that makes no sense yet is followed because its taken as gospel even if nobody thinks there is a valid reason.

ISO’s for example some are relevant some are not. Did you know that some are just about a process being in place and copied over and over again rather than actually putting a value on if the process is correct? Well companies have to pay for these and the more companies have to pay the less the people on the street can decide what they want in their own life. A big rubber stamp will come down with the biggest excuse of all “safety reasons”. Based on what?

Now the shipping container units themselves are already ISO approved as container units and have specific weights that they adhere to. They are built to a much higher specification than many homes ever will be and at the same time the mopping up of excess shipping containers for homes is still slow moving. I know myself that specific areas are never keen on such developments as it bases things as “in keeping with the area”. There is very little thought into the fact as social housing these buildings can offer up a very cheap alternative to the normal buildings. But even that falls into a funny area in the UK as houses were taken from council ownership into housing association the reason being that council housing is bound by law to provide a home where housing association is more inline with a rental agent being able to evict and choose its residents. Many people believe this came about due to the coal mining strikes in the UK as the social housing at the time may have meant back payment in rents had to be paid but at a negotiable rate to suit the miners and the courts. This isn’t how private enterprise likes things to work. Create social housing with a threat of eviction you remove the ability to strike and this is why people believe housing associations exist.

What’s this got to do with shipping container homes? as I showed on my previous post you can be debt free within no time as well as be the owner of land and the shipping container home. This makes many people self sufficent which also means that governments may see this as a threat because your not bound by debt or portfolio development. Which for me pretty much says everything about a shipping container home being viable. If it makes governments feel uncomfortable as your land area is smaller, so less tax and your more likely to utilize the land to the max as well as more likely to be smart investing with the spare capital you have it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for government but it does make sense for an individual or family.

Shipping Container Car Showrooms

These car showrooms are a practical example of how a shipping container module can be used. I have also worked with a company in the UK previously that use the outer steel frames you see here that form an open sided shell that slot walls drop into. This is probably based on the same technology but still using the shipping container size and weights for transportation. A small 7.5 ton truck with attached crane can move these and deliver one at a time. Making it not only cost affective for construction but also transportation.

Shipping Container Car Showroom Shipping Container Car Showroom

 Shipping Container Car Showroom Shipping Container Car Showroom

Is A Shipping Container Home Good For All Countries?

I find a lot of the information on shipping container homes rather generic and do wonder how many of them actually have or do create container homes themselves. Lets face it there is millions of people out there looking to make themselves the next big thing on the internet but is it possible? Recycling other peoples data only goes so far. I collated the information on here across the web simply as a source of ideas for shipping container homes its not the be all and end all and its not all the solutions in one place (give me enough time it might be though!). But the one thing I can say is that shipping container homes are probably the most adaptable home on the planet to its environment. I have seen shipping container homes in deserts, ice cold arctic conditions, tropical climates (that’s me) and pretty much everything else in between.

Cost affective, easy to source, easy to work with are all good reasons for shipping container home construction. But also add to this the fact it can be made thousands of miles away prefabricated at low cost and then shipped in its own box its also financially viable even for custom built homes. But it doesn’t stop there as cargotecture and green construction are a couple of the main reasons people went with shipping containers as buildings in the first place as its something available and often disused or excess to requirements. Recycling has been a key driving force to the shipping container home moment. For me its a bit more complex as my main reasoning is anti-corruption, I live in one of the most corrupt countries on the planet and pre-fabrication at a factory with fixed pricing will help stop some of the corruption (not all as I have no magic wand) but disappearing funds as much as 70% vanishing from projects is a bit more difficult when the box is sign,sealed delivered on a fixed price. I have no doubt local politicians won’t go for it but doesn’t mean that many of the NGO’s and charities operating here won’t as it balances the books easier especially if involved with the social low cost housing market, as well as disaster relief with water purification plants and generators to get communities functioning again as quick as possible. The shipping container is not only good for all countries but possibly the only real functional building that can do what its asked again and again, this is why the shipping container movement grows year on year.

Shipping container homes in Mexico

Vita Espacios Vita EspaciosVita EspaciosVita Espacios

Vita Espacios is taking shipping container homes very seriously and utilizing shipping containers in many forms to suit peoples needs at very low cost.

Our solutions include:
• Homes
• Schools and Classrooms
• Doctor’s Offices and Clinics
• Shelters and Refuges
• Small Businesses
• Intelligence and Police Centers
• Army and Communication Centers
• Attention Centers
• Dressing Rooms and Restrooms
• Eating Areas
• Offices

Previously working with a modular company in the UK it became very apparent how adaptable using containers were. We built everything from morgues and hospitals to washrooms depending on the needs and specifications of the clients. Some wanted cheap and cheerful while the Ministry Of Defence had very strict guidelines and quality controls to adhere to. The important thing here though with the developments in Mexico is that they are looking at the cost as a priority. The shipping containers themselves by design are structurally sound if utilized correctly which does mean you have a great unit to adapt to all sorts of projects.

Consorcio Vita Espacios
Insurgentes Sur 1677-202
Guadalupe Inn, 01020
México, D.F.
t. 5662-6005 5662-7130
info@vitaespacios.com
www.vitaespacios.com