Cutting out openings allowed large windows to be installed as well as putting the shipping container into a T formation. The fact that the insulation already existed in the container as well as the interior of the container being “food grade” meant that it didn’t need as much work as a basic container and those paranoid about toxic paints its unlikely to have any ill affects due to its previous type of use.
The architects may have had doubts about the viability of shipping containers for this use previously but as you can see in the video themselves they are more than happy with the result.
Shipping container homes have existed in other forms besides the yuppies wanting to do something positive and the fanatical greens. Its a practical home for hunters and fishermen due to the price and characteristics of having a shipping container as a home. Location is always an issue but the thing with the container when being sited it can transport most of the materials with it inside for whatever purpose its required. This home is made from two 40ft shipping containers and designed for its off grid location with a composting toilet solar photovoltaic power supply, a solar water heater as well as a biomass heater. From the outside it doesn’t look too exciting but inside its gone down the route of a traditional hunting lodge. I would advise dropping by The Chive for more photos and information as they have various parts of the construction going on so you can see the project being developed over a time frame.
The construction of the shipping container home involved stud partitioning using 2×4 batons that was then insulated and panelled over with wood. Double glazed windows were also used on three sides of the home.
The home offers two nice bedrooms and a bathroom with a composting toilet. The back of the container home is also partly buried to help with insulation helping to create an ambient temperature. A wood burner stove takes care of those cold winter nights.
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.
There are many locations throughout the world that house building from shipping containers is not only viable but financially beneficial. The main reasoning behind this is primarily for those looking to do house building themselves. The shipping container as a building block is not only robust but is built above housing code expectations for a building. They may initially seem a small building block until you start cutting and adapting them something that those with even limited skill and knowledge around the construction site would be able to manage. In reality a competent DIY person could just as easily complete house building from shipping containers as a local building contractor.
Initially the project will seem daunting but that is another advantage you have with the shipping container as its already a completed unit. Your cutting away rather than trying to work out how do I build a second floor? how do I build a roof structure? In reality your actually going to be removing sections for doorways and the awkward bits such as insulation you can even get specialists in to help you.
The concept of house building with shipping containers has grown hugely throughout the current fuel and housing crisis. Some talk about it being green but I am not green in the way where I wake up and ride a bicycle to go to work and lets face it the green movement hasn’t grown that fast since 2008! In reality people are looking to save money on construction, others are looking to be able to build a sustainable home that is also minimalistic which also means reduced bills for electric,water and gas. If anything the shipping container homes are part of a price conscience revolution over anything else.
But what about all the negative stuff out there about shipping container homes? Look at them and how many are opinion only? to be honest I haven’t come across anyone so far that says its a bad idea that has even visited a shipping container home never mind constructed or lived in one. Everyone I know with a shipping container home loves them and on top of the reasons above you have the added benefit of being able to build modular and as your budget allows. How many other houses can be constructed that way?
If its not catching on with some people its probably more likely they lack the vision or the desire to own one rather than even looking at the benefits. For me it has one huge benefit at least 40% cheaper than conventional construction. Don’t know what that means to you but in the UK that’s 10 years of slave mortgage payments I will never make.
When companies realised that a new market was emerging a quick fix was found and marketed in the Ceramic coating markets to insulate shipping container homes in reality it was fake. In fact the information they used to justify the Ceramic coatings being used couldn’t be replicated and on top of that you could pretty much get the same result using white paint which is a lot cheaper and easier to find. In reality the best method is SPF insulation (Spray Polyurethane Foam) which is a sticky mixture that fills the voids easily creating a solid wall of foam. I would recommend using this internally with stud partition that you panel over once insulated. Another issue people are overlooking is condensation which causes rust although its not as bad as people often make out due to the design of the ISBU which stands for “Intermodal Steel Building Unit.” It doesn’t rust easily its designed for some of the harshest environments on the planet and has not only got to deal with what the weather throws at it but also being thrown around. Its a solid piece of equipment and if treated properly is going to probably out last most people who convert over to the new modular way of living.
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.
Installing the solar tubes went in easier than expected. There was nothing covered in the manual about flat roofs or U panels but all seemed to fit really easily. At the same time hopefully going to get a bit of rain to test them this week before the insulation goes in. Either that or a garden hose to check for leaks before everything is sealed up.
Yesterday seen the installation of the ductless split unit for the shipping container apartment. We bought it from AC World. Also had another meeting with a spray foam contractor. I can’t wait for the installation as they keep telling me what a huge difference the insulation will make to the shipping container home.
As i was checking my plants recently that we are growing inside drainage pipe I came across an idea that would make a lot of sense for the side of shipping container homes. One of the reasons people get put off with the idea as a home is down to the steel external walls yet if you set up plastic pipe with plants that will hang down or even extend out around 1ft onto a trellis before growing down the trellis you could end up with a natural cooling affect that also may reduce the needs/costs of insulation. Currently I haven’t tried it as the tomato plants we are currently growing are still going up and haven’t started to hang downwards. Their location offers them up to a 6ft drop if they will grow that much as well as in full sunlight which tells me that other plants could be used for the purpose of natural cooling on a shipping container as well as using the trellis space for a cool sitting area as air should flow along inside between the trellis and container wall.
Prefabrication is one way to go in the modular housing industry but primarily it has another function for myself as I look at what has been done to get ideas on how to convert shipping containers and this prefabricated home is being constructed by Clayton Homes, based in Maryville, Tenn., is one of America’s largest manufacturers of mobile homes and prefabricated housing. They are looking at green architecture as it is a market that is opening up especially with rising costs of living many people are looking at smaller homes to either downsize or for their first homes. Although this home isn’t cheap at an estimated sale price of around $100,000 its design and concept is based round a more up market home buyer compared to the usual mobile home buyer. Giving something in between luxury home and mobile housing.
Its design offers a home that can be run on $1 per day due to energy efficent appliances as well as superior insulation and E rated windows this will no doubt be an expanding market in the forthcoming years due to rising costs of energy and large homes finding their prices collapse in the current market. The I-House is no doubt going to fit into many peoples ideas for the future as well as a very capable home.