Shipping Container Schools For Haiti–How To Cut Door And Window Openings

An interesting video showing how to utilize shipping containers for classrooms and homes in Haiti. The other important thing here is the strong structure of the shipping container units which if it had been used more prior to the disasters in Haiti no doubt more lives would have been saved. Many lives and houses have been lost due to poor construction and going down the shipping container route does mean for a lot of the safety of the home or school in hurricanes or earthquakes your reliance on a poor builder isn’t needed. The building itself as a shipping container had far excelled anything that the local building codes would find acceptable and a building that will be able to ride out the storm.

Hope more of these types of structures are being utilized in Haiti to help things get back to normal.

Shipping Container Pop Up Mall In New Zealand

Shipping Container Pop Up Mall In New Zealand

City Mall in Christchurch, New Zealand has come up with a quick construction project after New Zealand’s earthquakes earlier this year. This pretty much put the central area of the city off limits except for demolition work. The shipping containers have been converted into two clusters of 25 shops with 2 cafe’s hoping to get the city centre back to life and the centre of the community. Maybe a thing we are going to see more and more with the reduced costs of construction of shipping container buildings as well as the earthquake resistant designs.

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.

Build Green – Construct With Shipping Containers

construction with shipping containers ContainerLiving.net came about to share information about shipping container homes but as I researched more and more it became very obvious shipping container homes are just a small part of the opportunity in constructing with shipping containers.

I have a strong interest in developing nations as well as destroying poverty, one of the biggest problems I have come across over time is misuse of funds on projects that simply shouldn’t have been built in the first place. Shipping containers for schools for example make a perfect solution for many countries especially in places like Haiti that seen many of its buildings collapse when the earthquakes hit. Shipping containers are robust and may even offer a protective pod solution in such an emergency, but more importantly is not going to cause the damage and deaths that other building types did.

The building green issue is always an arguable one as people sit there with a calculator talking distances for delivery and loading/unloading but the other way I look at it is your looking at a hardy module that is going to last with low maintenance and low construction costs. Education is the key to many of the worlds problems as I have found personally living in the poverty ridden country of the Philippines. Talking to people you find very obscure understandings of how things work and causes and solutions of diseases. In reality what kept many of these people alive in the past has disappeared with modernisation and corporate manipulation. Replacing herbal remedies used for centuries with “vitamins in a capsule” or selling baby milk over breast feeding. When it comes to building green its more about shaping minds than the bricks and mortar aspect.

We have seen a cargotecture revolution in the last few years initially with high house pricing that seen people looking for cheap alternatives and now with the recessions same solution is filling the gap with other housing issues. At the same time we need to start thinking of what to do with all these surplus containers for other uses as simply many are going to just sit there and rot otherwise or even worse melted down with a high carbon footprint.

When thinking about green construction and building with shipping containers its worth noting the unique building blocks ability to adapt to many uses and easily be adapted for almost any situation. They are stackable, you can hack big holes out the side for doors and windows as well as use environmentally friendly green insulation, roofing and flooring. Making contact with universities or in the U.S. the American institute of architects and request professionals who offer “green building techniques” you may even get a lot of advice for free or at least be able to get hold of professionals that know what they are doing as well as possibly cutting edge technologies.