I have already heard of some people struggling to get hold of shipping containers due to demand at the same time I do believe its more of a regional problem as freight containers end up more in ports than obscure areas of a country. Fact is the governments may be telling us its all a glitch, a recession, something that will just go away but in reality we have been importing way more than the economies of Western countries can afford to pay for. On top of this when I look round I see most of the stuff is things we don’t even need. So is it a bad thing if all this stuff travelling half way round the world reduces and you don’t get this years replica shirt of your favourite sports personality? I don’t think so as simply consumerism is a beast that has almost brought the West to its knees about time freight being imported was re-evaluated and even tighter embargo’s being put into place to help reduce debt.
Freight into homes is still not a problem even with the rise of people picking up on the shipping container living simply because there are millions of containers sat in ports all over the place. A reduce in freight tied with the recession means that shipping containers are just as likely to stay in ports if not more as quantities of goods reduce. I am sure even if container living when mass production in recycling containers we still wouldn’t get through the excess stock over a 10 year period. So those thinking its a fad and that shipping container prices may get out of control due to demand, I would just say its not going to happen. If anything rethinks of shipping containers is going to happen and redesigns such as foldable containers are going to be more and more on the market if the container business stayed the way it is. On the other hand with huge drops in exchange rates in the last few years its more likely we are going to see more containers on return journeys and a balance of trade starting to develop, Time will tell.
The U.S. since the recession began has had a wake up call to the fact property is over valued but also the fact that getting on the ladder often is not only expensive but like a ball and chain that can financially ruin you if the markets suddenly changed.
16 year old Austin Hay in Sonoma, U.S. has been building a 130 square foot mobile home that he plans to take with him to college and wherever he needs to go from there.
Total cost around $2,500 but more importantly Austin has already got his head screwed on to housing market and being more of a responsible teenager than many adults have been prior to the housing crisis. Starting on a budget home means you can develop as your budget allows without taking on huge debts and its interesting to see that its the younger generations starting to take the lead.
The interest in shipping container homes is increasing rapidly and no doubt its a mix of those looking for environmental homes as well as those suffering with the recession taking standard homes out of the financial reach of many. InterModal Design from Hive have come up with 6 shipping container cabin designs. Understanding the limitations of shipping container homes Intermodal Design studied Japanese home design as well as yacht interiors. This is mainly down to the fact that minimalist and functional are pretty much applied to both types of homes where much of the furniture is multi use and often will disappear into a wall or an opening to maximise space when not in use. On top of this Intermodal Design are looking to utilize green technologies such as LED lighting and low water consumption fixtures. Going off grid is also an available option within the design teams ability.
As I sit and see that people talk of a second recession when in fact they just mean all those billions thrown at trying to fix a problem by “spending their way” out of debt surprisingly hasn’t worked (touch of sarcasm). Then we have not only entered a long recession but also the fact it was magnified by throwing away the spare capital we had to bail out banks that quite literally couldn’t care less about anything or anyone but themselves.
But at the same time the end of Mc Mansion construction is a blessing if nothing else came out of the recession. Oversized, poor quality and simply just not needed. These homes were just a figure of how out of control the housing market became in the U.S. but just as much I remember in my parents town a public toilet is now a small 1 bedroom apartment worth £100,000 and not only was it a toilet it backs onto a cemetery two bonus features in one overpriced property. Not going all environmental here by the way as people lost a fortune on property at the same time I can’t believe people were being encouraged to get into this much debt in every direction with the “market can only go up” mentality. Which as we well know history tells us otherwise time and time again. It was simply a case of consumerism gone mad as well as speculation as people bought more homes on the back of the fact the market will go up and that they could sell multiple homes as surely there are buyers out there somewhere (we just haven’t seen them).
Consumerism always ends up like this a pile of excess hitting landfills everywhere yet I agree choice and consumerism is great its just the fact people are buying so much stuff they simply never use, don’t need and often don’t know why they bought it except for materialistic value.
Moving on to shipping container homes though it could be the only safe bet in the current economic climate. They can have a low floor area meaning cheaper land taxes, easy to construct, readily available shipping container stocks in many parts of many countries and on top of all that you can do it as you can afford it keeping away from any debt from the bank. Building your own home especially now that the banks aren’t keen to loan could be the only option and using shipping containers could be the most viable. For us we are currently looking at going back to the UK shortly and I will be looking into the issues of construction there for our first family home as we can build it on weekends, complete the first 40ft container so we have beds,toilet area, kitchen etc. while we add more units to the shipping container home. Being able to stack also means we can buy a low amount of land and utilize several levels wasting no money. All part of why shipping containers homes are so viable.
Sunset Magazine requested HyBrid Architecture to design the Sunset Idea House for 2011. The c-series represents a series of pre-designed, factory built units that can be combined or customized as desired. The house was debuted at Sunset’s annual Celebration Weekend in Menlo Park As you can see from the home its simple but functional. The added features such as the ramp also lend the idea towards elderly users as the house is mainly on one level. Add to that a practical but functional garden this home pretty much has it all in a tiny footprint. The sleeping capacity of the home is a maximum of four and the home is powered by its solar panels.
Its one of the best examples I have seen with a single container unit especially utilizing the sitting room sofa as a fold out bed. It maximises space at the same time allowing the home to seem bigger than it is. But then again when you leave your bedroom in the morning how often do you return there? Makes sense for it to become the sitting room and this is how you manage to maximise the space available for this design.
Its also good to see that the concept is starting to go mainstream although I do think the recession is also getting people to look more practically at their housing needs especially with rising fuel prices and no doubt taxes on land/homes. Hybrid Architecture has been busy developing a series of shipping container modular systems for which they coined the name Cargotecture®.
In this question i can only answer for myself and it has many reasons for me choosing the shipping container route.
Firstly economically the shipping containers here are a little expensive at P160,000 refurbished for a 40ft container compared to people struggling to sell them for around P14,000 in the UK at least before the recession. But the Philippines has its ports in balance or at least it may seem to as the prices may fluctuate but end up around the same price most of the time. At the same time I would estimate a basic concrete structure of the same size costing around P200,000 which is basic hollow block that does have a tendency to crack and also the fact its concrete it holds heat. I do hear skeptical people out there often telling me how I should compare a shipping container building at 12.00 in the afternoon but if you want the hottest time of the day its around 3pm. But my whole idea is based round the environment of the home. If its built down a slope in a way that directs it away from the sun or under the shade of trees no doubt that would be called cheating at the same time this is the problem I am looking for a home that is environmental at the same time cost affective.
Add to that the headaches i have had with builders and to be honest easiest option is to drop a container on top of another for me as i would only need to guide a crane in on the next floor and do the work myself without relying on other people to cock things up. This also means i save money considerably on lost labor as sitting there watching them as is common here in the Philippines means i am not working doing what i normally do resulting in 2 wasted salaries as no doubt i still won’t be happy with the end result because as soon as i go for a pee or to grab a sandwich they will rush to do something stupid destroying the whole job. Shipping containers can be done modular which means i can build a ground floor reception room one month and a bedroom or bathroom next because firstly containers are solid structures with nothing that can be stolen and secondly i can work it round me. Which also means if i am broke for a few months doesn’t matter as the roof is already on the building regardless of if there is a roof or not the structure is designed to withstand the elements so no risk of over expansion and contraction of concrete because there isn’t any.
Noise is also another issue that really is starting to annoy me here in the Philippines to the point i am tempted to move at the moment as for some reason the landlady has had 8 fighting cocks (birds!) pitched outside my kitchen and sitting room windows. No doubt rented to someone else but i find the constant noise beyond annoying as generally i am easy going but they are literally a couple of feet away from my windows. At the same time trying to rent out a couple of apartments to help the landlady out is now looking at seeing mine empty as well. Shipping container ever spent any time in one? not a lot of noise rattling around only get the outside elements when you start adding windows which from now on will be long but UPVC sliding doors with solar reflective film. Something I haven’t mentioned before i spent 18 months installing solar film in government buildings on a contract out of Bromsgrove many moons ago yet as Graeme said to me himself he can’t understand why people aren’t using it here as it would cut down on electric bills as well as heat. But like most things is it supposed to make sense in the third world?
Anyway on a final note the other reason being is i spent most of my life in construction and engineering which makes an industrial unit more like home than anything else as i spent up to 16 hours a day on sites for most of my life. Industrial modern is a look i like and feel at home with at the same time a keen interest on the environment has now also caught my eye so combining the two will give me the home i can call home.