Shipping Container Condo Development – City Centre Lofts

Shipping containers are often seen as “not” the way to go in housing development but City Centre Lofts have seen the potential to move into not only single dwellings but for city living and I can’t blame them. The truth of the matter is they have done their homework on the cost of structures comparing other materials and can see a 25% saving on the building method using shipping containers for condo development. As well as keeping to its green values they are looking at 50% use of recycled materials as well as other green enhancements to the properties.

City dwellings are always restricted to cost which translates into land use having stackable shipping containers converted into condo homes offers up a real solution to city dwelling especially as the world population continues to increase.

Shipping Container Home Using 5 Shipping Containers

I love this house! The design offers up spacious areas for a shipping container home. But also a lot of thought has gone into how to use each section. The “box” type wardrobe for example maximises space while still functional and the kitchen reduction of worktop width on one side gives the feeling of a larger room yet still completely usable.

Debbie Glassberg a Kansas City designer made this her home created out of 5 shipping containers. I hear the argument stepping forward about this not being environmental and just a novelty but is it?

The price tag on the construction was no doubt heavily reduced because of having the original frame construction of the shipping containers already intact. Completion time was also no doubt heavily reduced as was labour costs. Its the battle between living completely Green and common sense, the fact is she didn’t want a 20ft single container home she wanted an American sized home but the containers offer a cheap and practical solution to the problem.

Shipping container for smoking

Although this shipping container isn’t a home I thought its design was a bit interesting in the use of trellis work to hide the metal side at the same time still allowing air to grow through no doubt once the plants develop it will give the building a bit of shade similar in the way I was talking before about building trellis slightly away from the sides of containers to allow airflow as well along the gap formed between trellis and container side. But also looking at the container more closely it becomes pretty obvious a simple restaurant or canteen can be formed without too much work with the ability to add extension roof canopies off the shipping container to extend the seating area etc. Which many people may assume isn’t ideal at the same time like here in the Philippines most people are concerned about the quality of the food and a bit of shade over most other things. So for a budget restaurant could easily see it working here.Shipping container for smoking

Finding Shipping Container Home Plans

Finding Shipping Container House Plans

shipping container home plan

When considering building a shipping container home you should initially start to look for existing shipping container home plans online as many of the issues of construction would have already been covered but also due to the unique modular construction method you can find many designs to suit your needs and space.

Reasons why you should consider building your home from shipping containers are :-

  • As a structural building block they are readily available anywhere in the world and it doesn’t take much searching around on the internet for “shipping container for sale” to start seeing results on the costs involved with buying shipping containers to make it more viable.
  • Inexpensive and readily available its not hard to come across second hand units commonly called within the trade ISBU (intermodal steel building unit) and prices vary from $1000 upwards although in some locations I have seen them much cheaper (including the UK) but costs will vary due to the size,age and condition of th eshipping container as well as the additional cost of delivery. The added value also of using shipping containers is that your gaining a large working spce of 320sqft per 40ft container which in reality means you have a lockable workspace while construction is ongoing.
  • Shipping containers also reduce construction costs on average somewhere around 20% and 50% depending on location.
  • Construction time is also heavily reduced as the initial blocks can be placed in a day and from start to finish within a couple of months as much of the pre-cutting can be done before they reach site. E.g the doors,windows,first fix electrics, painting and insulation can be added to the unit before it even arrives speeding up the whole construction process.
  • Its environmental to reuse a shipping container as a home as it leaves a smaller carbon footprint than melting down and reforming into another steel object.
  • Keeping the sizes and supply within standard ISO shipping containers also means you can design and construct a house easily by connecting and interconnecting the shipping containers.

There are a few disadvantages to using shipping containers for building a home :-

  • Always buy with Corten steel or even aluminium as older containers may be suffering from rust issues that may take more work to repair than its worth. But most suppliers will tell you if its grade A – D which gives you an idea of condition before you even visit to view.
  • Space issues can be a problem when putting containers into position or pre-working/delivery as well as needing machinery for unloading and positioning.
  • The shipping container home design plans should also be in suiting with the existing neighbourhood which is why its worth canvassing your neighbours in advance to get some feedback about the project in case of any objections.

There are many sites on the web now offer shipping container house plans, I would go for something utilizing standard dimensions using the ISO standards and then modify and adjust to your housing needs. E.g adding a porch and landscaping. Also make sure the designs are practical and workable, many I have come across on the internet go to the extreme on design yet your looking for something useable not to win awards for the architect.

shipping Container Home Plans And Construction Companies can be easily found here at this link where shipping container home companies are being added into a directory.

20ft Open Top Shipping Container Dimensions

20ft open top shipping container The 20ft Open Top Shipping Container is ideal for a module of building a shipping container home specifically a staircase to the upper floors as it will reduce cutting away time of excess steel. When ordering a shipping container please make sure you have a good haulier that can accommodate your needs and always get a quoted price in advance of ordering your shipping container.







Maximum Gross Weight: 67,200 lbs.
Tare Weight: 5,070 lbs.
Payload: 62,129 lbs.
Capacity: 1,164 cu. ft.

Internal Dimensions

Length: 19′ 2"
Length (between top headers): 18′ 5"
Length (between corner gussets): 17′ 7"
Width: 7′ 6"
Width (between top rails): 7′ 3"
Height: 7′ 6"
Height (under top rail): 7′ 3"

External Dimensions

Length: 19′ 10"
Width: 8′
Height: 8′ 6"

Door Opening

Width: 7′ 6"
Height: 7′ 4"

Worldwide Container Shipping – The Modern Commerce Industry

overseas shipping

Worldwide container shipping was a newer development than people realise as it truly began as an industry after WW2 when America’s shipping industry was in dismay. Germany had successfully managed to close down sea lanes and cargo handling prices had gone through the roof at the seaports due to being labour intensive, A solution needed to be found and fast.

Malcom McLean bought Pan-Atlantic 1955 and was looking to merge trucking with shipping and knew to get it to work standardising shipping methods to not only accommodate the ships but trucks were going to be the solution. This is when the idea started to develop for the shipping containers and Mclean brought in engineer Keith Tantlinger to create the first containers. They would need to be not only weatherproof but also theft proof and capable of transferring between land and sea. On land its either onto trucks or railroad trains, the initial problems were more about getting organisations on board that could make the new international standard difficult to operate but it quickly became a huge success.

It was in 1956 Tantlinger altered a refurbished T-2 tanker with 58 x 30ft shipping containers which took 7 minutes to load a container in the Port of Newark. This set the president for others to follow and by 1958 Pan Atlantic was running freight between Puerto Rico into mainland ports. Between Hawaii and California a similar operation had sprung up by Matson Navigation.

It was in 1965 the demand and use of shipping containers overseas seen Port Elizabeth in New Jersey dealing with routes into Europe. It was the containerisation that seen Port Elizabeth rapidly over take New York Authority in International shipping trade for many years.

As the process spread of automating the containerised system it eventually moved into longshoremen’s labour contracts in the mid-60s at ports on both coasts this gave a huge injection to international commerce and the standardisation in 1961 and 1970 were the final steps in creating the stepping stones for the industry we see today.

The first trans-Atlantic container service started in 1966 with company Moore-McCormack Lines who transported mixed freight to Scandinavia, and within the same year also sea – land operations began with Newark, Baltimore and Rotterdam.

More changes came during the Vietnam war period which increased West coast shipping which began regular services in 1965 with military cargo. A year later seen Japan embrace the shipping container automation and a lucrative and highly competitive business between Japan and the U.S. opened up.

The consumerism market that opened up though may be as much a curse as the blessing it became as we are now seeing Western countries importing more than they are exporting which has created the rise of China against all other markets.

20ft Shipping Container– Basic Unit Of Shipping Containing Measurement.

20ft shipping container - basic unit of shipping container measurementThe 20ft Shipping Container is no longer the main size used for international shipping but its still utilized as one of the standard ISO sizes. When talking about Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) its often how the standard sizes are discussed in the shipping industry. The size may vary in length but will still be recognised as 1 TEU the only constant being the 8ft width as height can go from 4’ 3” to a high cube of 9’6” and even the volume space would not make a difference to the terminology of it still being 1 TEU. Once it gets over 40ft in length however it suddenly becomes 2 TEU in size part of the imperial measurement system. Odd thing is with a container being of 40ft or more it becomes rated as a Fourty Equivalent Units (FEU). May seem a bit odd but it came down to War and a standard “estimated” size had to be implemented because there were too many variables on things being moved by the military that one size fits all simply didn’t work but getting a system as close to was needed and its why the FEU and TEU exist today.

Gross mass maximum rating on a 20ft shipping container is 24,000kg and a 40ft container is 30,480kg regardless of height.]

Payload Maximum weights are 21,600kg for 20ft and 26,500 for the 40ft.

The 20ft shipping container was the standard unit size used by Matson and other shipping companies as it was  convenient size for goods shipped between the West coast of the United States and Hawaii. More importantly they sat inside the converted World War II C-3 cargo ships Matson used for many years. It was however in 1957 that Matson then decided to start using containers at 25ft as this maximised his transportation potential for his purposes. His freighters could then transport the units six high inside the cargo holds and on the top deck of the freighters. For trucking purposes a 20ft shipping container was too short as loading two of them onto a bed often would break road weight limitations meaning the trucks could only haul one 20ft at a time. The optimal size for a single bed truck is 24 – 27ft in length.

In todays world we see shipping containers of up to 48 and 53 feet in length which are popular for international shipping as loading time for 20ft takes just as long as a larger shipping container but obviously takes twice as long to load a ship, time is money and why many 20ft shipping containers are being abandoned for the larger units as its not economically viable to use in comparison to the larger containers or in fact the improved road structures we see today that allow easier freight transportation.

20ft shipping containers are still available and are even still being manufactured, yet its the bigger shipping containers that are mainly used due to the reasons above.

20ft Tank Shipping Container Dimensions

20ft Tank Shipping Container

20ft Tank Shipping Container units may not be useful for the shipping container home scenario directly but could be utilized for example as a water supply due to being able to fit straight on top of the other shipping container units. This is why the dimensions of 20ft Tank Shipping Container units have been added to the blog.

Always double check measurements due to some units being adapted for customers needs.





Payload: 6,764 lbs.
Capacity: 904 cu. ft.

Internal Dimensions

Length: 20′
Width: 8′
Height: 8′ 6"

20ft Flat Rack Shipping Container Dimensions

20ft Flat rack Shipping Container20ft Flat Rack Shipping Container Dimensions not the best idea for a shipping container home although no doubt there is someone out there that has utilized them somewhere maybe a stage perhaps or a roof garden? Either way there is still opportunities to use 20ft Flat Rack Shipping Containers which is why they have been added with the dimensions below :-






Maximum Gross Weight: 74,950 lbs.
Tare Weight: 6,040 lbs.
Payload: 68,819 lbs.
Concentrated Load Over Center 2 Meter Span: 44,094 lbs.

Internal Dimensions

Length (between end panels): 19′ 6"
Length (between corner posts): 18′ 2"
Width (over bottom side rail): 7′ 2"
Width (between corner posts): 7′ 3"
Height (side rail to top casting): 7′ 2"

External Dimensions

Length: 19′ 10"
Width: 8′
Height: 8′ 6"

How to build a shipping container office showing all processes involved.

Shipping Container Office

This video runs you through how to convert a shipping container into an office. Watching it you will see a lot of the solutions are very obvious as well as cheap on materials. The important thing to remember its also the fact people don’t think its this easy to do which puts people off. In the near future we will be looking to develop selling these type of units where you can either have one built or literally “buy” and take it with you. This week I am finally going to have enough time to run through a lot of designs I have worked out and start posting them online.