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.
I often hear people saying that they wouldn’t live in a shipping container home or that Filipinos wouldn’t odd thing is every year at Sinulog I see a shipping container village develop for pilgrims which is literally just a container! Nothing pretty, no refurbishment, just a roof and a box to sit,sleep and eat.
In reality I do wonder why people assume others can’t see the concept develop down to they’re own ignorance. Its mainly Filipinos that contact me about the shipping container homes and why? because many of them work in Saudi Arabia and other areas that use shipping container homes for worker accommodation. Sort of dispels the myth about “overheating” being a metal structure when these things are stuck out in the desert and still cooled. Its all about passive cooling and adding shade but then again isn’t any home?
Point being is they are a viable solution and more so for difficult areas to find good construction teams as these can be prefabricated and dropped to site with toilets,electrics etc. all pre-fitted reducing the risk of having someone causing damage for not knowing what they do as simply you don’t need them. One professional team building homes for the Philippines instead of random guys with no qualifications in construction that are often only fit for labouring but end up costing a small fortune due to the damage they cause from sub standard work.
Top that with the fact OFWs have a fixed price from factory if involving the family there is no risk of money disappearing as the intervention by family is limited. Add to all of this that its also cost affective even with the inflated costs of shipping containers in the Philippines I do wonder why more people aren’t doing it. If you come across shipping container houses in the Philippines please send some photos! I know there are a lot here already as people are always telling me but normally notice when going passed on a bus or motorbike.
This has to be one of the best and most functional layouts I have come across for a shipping container home. Utilizing the sofa as a bed the double purpose saves a lot of wasted space but also means that your not having to separate another room as a bedroom, lets face it if your in a 20ft home its unlikely your a family of 4 and maximum is likely to be a couple. This home with its outdoor porch area pretty much fills most peoples needs in a modern funky design.
Back in the UK its good to see the 6hrs construction going in, I came from the construction trade and spent years in modular as well as exhibition carpentry. The fact a house can be located within 6 hours shows how good modular construction as well as shipping container homes can be if done on a mass production. Dropping houses in one after the other. This home had its interior finished that day and part of the following, at the same time having several teams dropping these types of modular homes you could literally be looking at a completed house every 2 days after released from factory making it a quick turnaround to live in.
This structure for a roof seems the most simple to put together and using scaffolding tubes makes the quickest method if not the cheapest (Being aluminium) at the same time adding a secondary roof creates protection from the sun to help keep the home cool and in this case its being done in sections. Cut out a steel section for the new shipping container home you will probably find it will be easy to fit to the frame on the roof saving buying a roofing sheet.
We are covering the major aspects of building with shipping containers in this section. The initial factors you should be thinking when looking at this type of project are firstly a place to buy new or used shipping containers. If your near a port worth giving them a call to ask who they recommend in the area, otherwise do a bit of searching online for the nearest places as well as stick a few Free advertisements online. Once you have located a container before agreeing to purchase the unit its worth checking the unit out to see if its received any damage or rust. The next issue will always be transportation and handling. Here in the Philippines that can be 25% of the cost of the shipping container.
The location of where you are putting the shipping container is also important to make sure its level and accessible. This is where a cost many people don’t look at comes in which is the unloading of the shipping container which may not be covered by the seller offering transportation and handling of the shipping containers as the handling may come down to getting it to site and expecting you to crane lift them, pull them with a backhoe or some other way of getting them off the truck beds. DOUBLE CHECK WITH YOUR TRANSPORT COMPANY IN ADVANCE.
Once they arrive on site you can start looking at dropping them into position and always worth noting and making sure the ground is prepared to receive them and in the order you want. E.g. no point getting the 20ft shipping container you want to stick on top of your 40ft first if you have limited space to move. Make sure you build a foundation ready in advance and that the concrete mix is consistent to the requirements of the structure. On top of that a good time to lay any pipework or electrics to allow quick feeds into the shipping containers. The foundation can be different in design generally I would go for a suspended unit as it allows air movement to help prevent corrosive effects of moisture. But also you can carry out routine maintenance when needed.
Once in place you can start to cut the steel sections for your doors and windows but also remember the scrap steel is worth something or can even be utilized as security shutters etc. Adding the windows and doors are an important factor in getting the new building functional asap and also starts to give a look of a home rather than shipping containers left on a lot. Make sure you get the dimensions right on the doors and windows though to match in with your stud partitions as well as getting the correct depth of insulation if your going to insulate the interior of the shipping container.
I know some people are using a spray foam insulation for the exterior which is why I mentioned “IF” your going to insulate the interior. There is also the need to add extra supports as well as a roof frame and maybe even decking areas. I advise doing a bit of research to get the correct basic steps as this needs to be done a specific way to reduce risk of damage to the shipping containers and avoid accidents.
I am finding more and more people are thinking on the same path as me with shipping containers yet the designs are more varied as time goes on.. why?
In reality we are all experimenting and it means that we spend a lot of time looking at other finished projects which does mean as time has gone on our own projects improve even if a single thing hasn’t been done outside our heads.
So are shipping containers good to build with? in all honesty i can’t think of a better start module especially if you get it cheap. I have worked with modular homes previously and its one thing they don’t come with is a cheap price tag. Shipping containers allow the person with the most basic of skills to evolve and construct their own home. Many of the other projects I have worked on in my lifetime it would be impossible purely because of the amount of information you need to understand from an architects perspective and engineers never mind the hands on side.
Shipping containers are great to build a home with because you can physically do most of it yourself. They are a contained box which means even if it takes you a long time it doesn’t matter you can’t throw anything at it worse than the sea’s and oceans which means you can develop your skill level as you go and on top of that they are easy to join together and construct from in basic form. If your looking for a blank canvas for a home a shipping container suits that need perfectly.
One of the big advantages people forget when looking at off grid shipping container homes is that they are ideal for weekend retreats. In our day and age where we are driven by workload and technology the great outdoors is something often observed through a window be it a car or a home. Yet we are surrounded by nature, heading up to a shipping container home that is nestled away from the day to day burdens of life open up a space that is switched off to most technology and somewhere that builds a family space. An environment for children to get in touch with nature while the parents are able to not only function as a family but also a couple.
A shipping container off grid home may be a savior of many marriages in the world of hectic lifestyles that most people seem to have these days. I remember the “run to the sun” in the UK as the weekend hit there was only one thought not overtime for the weekend but getting on route to the south coast for the weekend. Back then there was no thought of a retreat but simply crashing out in the car or using a tent depending on the weather. The main thing though is that those things got forgotten as the years went on and part of the reason the relationship I was in then dissolved as city working took over and my now ex’s interest went into owning horses and suddenly we were more like ships passing in the night than anything else.
Bit of a warning to others as well as myself that getting away for the weekend is not only healthy and enjoyable but a part of life we need to reinstate and get our work lives in balance.