Its no accident that countries like Japan and China are already living in small scale homes the fact is the big cities land prices have grown rapidly while many salaries remained stagnant. The fact is we are looking at a world population that is globally growing at an extremely rapid rate which is putting stress and demands on everything around the planet.
Shipping container homes as a box may seem an unworkable living space to many right now but after living in the Philippines I see many people who would be more than happy to live inside a shipping container compared to what they have and this is one of the things we are slowly losing “choice”. Fact is prices are still well above what a sustainable market can afford for housing in the West and its not always about being crammed in like sardines its also about the fact cost of living has increased dramatically in the U.S. while its seeing its unemployment rising rapidly as well. Even with land mass your still talking a lot of money for a small parcel of land meaning that shipping container homes could be the future of the wise investor well aware that many people still want the myth of the “American dream” while them themselves decide to go minimalistic renting out their home or using investment capital to gain income themselves instead of buying a larger home that rapidly becomes a money pit and a drain on finances.
You do have to wonder why so many places have strict building codes against such developments but then again its pretty obvious why you introduce so many requirements for everything these days right down to international procedures and even having a process in place gets a gold star once audited. Its all about giving away control to the bigger players in the game who can afford to waste money on all this wasteful legislation a typical example is the new light bulbs that come with a fitment that isn’t standard and extremely expensive in comparison to standard light bulbs. Does it save energy? maybe but when you can buy a cheap bulb for less than £1 in the UK and these bulbs are costing nearly £20 as well as needing specialist disposal where is the environment benefiting as well as our cash flow being wasted? Its all about taking opportunity away and introducing the corporate single way of life riddling us with debt and a fake belief in that its normal to always be owing money to others when in the past debt was seen as a bad thing. I remember looking back at the 50s and 60s in the UK credit was difficult to come by and often people only used it as a last resort often by pawn shops. It was a shameful thing to be in debt while today the reverse has happened.
Its for this reason as well as many others I can see shipping container homes being the way forward as the way to beat the banks and debt are to find ways to make container living more conventional and acceptable. Small box living is a cheap and cost affective way of reversing fortune from debt to being in credit by being able to slam university debt or other costs previously incurred as the square footage of a small home is a tiny footprint that is also stackable to maximise square footage in the smallest of floor areas. Giving the rise to multiple homes in the same land slot.
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.