Charity pressures councils over million empty homes

This is an odd thing in the UK as there is thousands of houses left empty and the worst offender is the government. Failed regeneration schemes, buying out of buildings for other reasons as well as empty caretaker and other ex use homes from past government posts are laying empty all over the place. Working inside the government housing sector before previously the issues are often more complex than they seem.

First issues are many have been left empty for years meaning for them to be utilized by government for social housing it would require considerable investment for any property due to the strict regulations. E.g. rewiring, re-plumbing,renewing the gas installation including all pipework, renewing bathrooms and kitchens over 25 years old etc. etc. these are all part of “politics”. You see what happened is people started to set housing standards that the government past on to its social housing these standards in general cannot be met for multiple reasons the main one being cash flow but also the quality of tenants isn’t great but their expectations and needs have increased.

What happens then is this situation where councils have properties they can neither renovate or rent out and although some of its down to stupidity often more than not its more to do with the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. I remember an allocated property lot we received from the Royal Air Force for the housing association I was contracted with at the time. They had specific requirements to be brought up to standard yet even the basics were behind coming from another department. E.g. Our guideline is no more than 25 years on a kitchen or bathroom yet every property we received hadn’t had any major work done for at least 35 many still had coal bunkers and exterior toilets. Although they had a new bathroom installed at some point (still well past 35 years ago) which gave them a toilet indoors you get the picture of the state of these homes.

Why is this all relevant to shipping container homes your wondering? It shows the madness of society we live in where there is so much red tape and legislation that even the government creates problems for itself which also means getting your shipping container home through planning may be an initial battle. BUT the important thing here is the more people push through the more acceptable it becomes and the more people can do it. Personally I think there are many developments the social housing sector could benefit from using shipping container homes themselves as a long-term solution if not short-term for the housing shortages in the UK.

The other way to look at it is most of these houses are old and rundown the investment into them would be extremely costly and a stalemate is currently what we are seeing. Often its easier to rip out and start again rather than renovate and the shipping containers are a cheap option to the solution.

Yes this gets away from the green solutions but there are very few options open for these homes currently not in use and over 2 million families regardless as homeless in the UK but its a thing to ponder on how would you fix the problem?

Building With Shipping Containers

Building With Shipping ContainersWe 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.