Flat Pack Shipping Container By ASA Container

modular container building

Its a system that is often overlooked but is heavily used by certain industries such as the military. The fact is the whole unit can be flat packed and then as you can see in the picture the base and ceiling make up the transportation box with everything inside before being raised. Then the pillars form up on the edges before the slot walls go in. I worked on this style of construction for some time as well as the traditional “plywood” construction of modular structures such as classrooms. It was the shipping container system though that revolutionised the industry and I just wanted to show that this produced in a factory can give a very high finish and low cost installation. For me in the Philippines I know of a mountain that is for sale very cheap and could easily see these being sold down the side of it as low cost housing. Adding to the mountain top a large water gathering system as well as wind turbine and solar panels. Maybe a project for the future but when looking at shipping containers and modular housing remember that the modular frames of containers are built round the same size so mixing with shipping containers is possible for example using a framed unit in the photo without its sides welded to two 20ft containers either side with their sides cut out would give a room 24ft wide by 20ft long without too much effort.

Source: ASA Container

Shipping Container Hotel Room In Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur

Reading about this it did throw up a few issues as I look at the room and its functional. I can understand the price tag seeming expensive but what is it compared to local market rates? You see in the Philippines renting by the night is generally P1,600 for a room in my area but you can rent an entire apartment for P6,000+ per month. The issue is though most people seem to gripe that the P6,000 apartment doesn’t have hot water etc. etc. at the same time none of them do that’s why they are P6,000!

Now the issue with this shipping container courtyard room was more to do with the fact they didn’t want to stay in a shipping container reading through the lines. Bit like people saying they don’t like eating something even though they have never tasted it before. So was off to a negative start to begin with. Fact is this is probably better condition than the main rooms that were available in the main hotel as its surfaces are all wash down etc. So personally can’t see a problem with it.

I do come across these type of complaints very often amongst expats though as their expectations are often well above what is available locally. Even when locals put themselves out to help people often doing a lot of running around for free people still complain.

Its something I was discussing with another expat recently when talking about riding town to town as they often go for expensive hotels at P1,600+ a night. Me I can’t justify the cost for somewhere I am not on holiday. Motorbike riding is about roughing it and enjoying the environment around us. The Trip to Negros for example crashing out in a P200 hut (p100 each!) on the coast I prefer any day to an air con room in some resort. Not tight with the cash just that I like to experience real life not the “glossy magazine version”.

So was a bit disappointed with the author on this article as he could have been a bit more positive on the container courtyard but instead just slated it with sarcasm, you can read it here

Pop Up Shipping Container Accommodation By FLEXOTEL

Here in the Philippines there is always a shortage of budget accommodation. Everyone is aiming for the market of around P8,000+ per month rental yet the average worker is earning less than that. Looking for accommodation in the region of P800 – P1,500 a month. Maybe cheap but doesn’t mean they are a bum often they are working away from home and just need someone to rest,wash and eat. People that work in the malls etc are a typical example of people needing accommodation on the cheap. These pop up shipping containers could make an ideal solution as the 20ft you see in the video is suitable for 2 x bunk rooms in real terms P4,000 a month income if at full capacity. The technology in this may seem a bit complicated but often the issue here in the Philippines is transportation costs. If you can stack these units in 4 it would save me P15,000 just in transportation of the truck that could normally only carry one. I can see these being useful for many things including temporary accommodation for festivals where often people are willing to pay over the odds for a little bit of luxury. Great idea and well put together by Flexotel.

Juice Box Container Garden

container gardening picture of juice box container garden filled with pansies
Photo © Kerry Michaels

We live out in the Philippines and these plastic drink containers can pretty much be found all over the place disguarded and dumped. The idea of reusing them for not only container gardening as seen in the photo but also even for transportation as “watering pots”. Makes a lot of sense as well as gets rid of disregarded plastics, making them more useful and recycled. But also even if a flower vendor you could just stick these under a flower display to keep the flowers watered while awaiting customers. Great idea!

 

Plywood Furniture Good For Shipping Container Construction?

I have recently started looking into plywood furniture construction here in the Philippines and for multiple reasons. For shipping container homes it makes sense as you can construct some very multi functional furniture very easily which suits the needs of shipping container homes. But just as much so in many countries you can get things pre-cut at the store you buy it from giving you perfectly straight edges for your projects if you arrive with a cutting list.

On top of that budget wise plywood can offer some good finishes on projects and not look tacky. Here in the Philippines often furniture is overpriced and has poor laminate finishing which often breaks its seal and begins to blister and peel quickly. Plywood in many cases can replace a lot of this substandard products with something more unique,usable and custom made.

I used to look at ply sheeting as an inferior product until recent years where its mass produced nature and cost make it viable for many things and not just things like interior cladding of a shipping container. The fold down bed from the wall for example is one of those projects that can be done with plywood reducing costs of materials but also means the bed is only needed during the evening and conveniently folded away afterwards. I have prepared a space already for constructing the bed project myself as an experiment, but can already see the benefits of the double bed space if the bed is removed during the day.

Thinking out of the box and natural cooling for shipping container homes

shipping container homes natural cooling

Natural cooling is something I will be covering in more detail in the future but I wanted to open up with this concept design which doesn’t look 100% in the garage access for example but the way its built into a hill side does throw up some very good natural cooling abilities. The fact that it appears 3/4 of the modules or shipping containers are underground allows the natural surrounding earth to not only keep it cool during the day but also warm at night. I originally was looking at an underground shipping container in a similar way for cheese making back in 2007 to keep an ambient temperature here in the Philippines. Also constructing inside the hillside does give a lower impact visually on the construction of the home which is also very appealing.

Shipping container for smoking

Although this shipping container isn’t a home I thought its design was a bit interesting in the use of trellis work to hide the metal side at the same time still allowing air to grow through no doubt once the plants develop it will give the building a bit of shade similar in the way I was talking before about building trellis slightly away from the sides of containers to allow airflow as well along the gap formed between trellis and container side. But also looking at the container more closely it becomes pretty obvious a simple restaurant or canteen can be formed without too much work with the ability to add extension roof canopies off the shipping container to extend the seating area etc. Which many people may assume isn’t ideal at the same time like here in the Philippines most people are concerned about the quality of the food and a bit of shade over most other things. So for a budget restaurant could easily see it working here.Shipping container for smoking

Low cost shipping container homes for the Philippines

 They can do it in Mexico so why can’t we do it here in the Philippines?

low cost container home Mexico

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The first issue is not funding but accepting the problem is only going to get worse not better. Reorganizing and developing infrastructure as well as new housing is badly needed to clean up slum areas. There may be land disputes at which point why haven’t the owners cleared these slums and fenced them off? For other areas that are legal these types of units could make affordable homes for the masses due to their flexible nature of being stackable upwards and sideways allowing dense populations to exist without looking like the photo below :-

Tondo slum, a part of Metro Manila.

Nowhere should ever get to this stage in the first place. But the finger of blame should only be representative of things to learn from so that we can move forward and stop it from continuing to happen. There is an influx of constant people to Manila looking for work as well as the birth control issues that are giving Manila its baby boom which no doubt goes hand in hand with high disease rates and death rates. Housing is not the solution but part of it, education is the key to all of the solutions and awareness that things can change. Especially by the actions of many individuals instead of one body trying to help thousands. Take the same area and utilize it the way a container village has been built in Amsterdam :-

shipping container, village, amsterdam  shipping container, village, amsterdam

Its not a quick fix and its not the be all and end all of problems in slums but it could be a step in the right direction. Additions of things like schools within the communities to develop education for those that need it more than most to help not only with basic education but teaching the links between poverty and family size, disease and waste management as well as many other key things that can help people out of poverty. Social awareness of responsibilities of people within a community and forming a real bond within the community to keep it clean and functional. Strict controls on the numbers that can occupy units and enforce it as over capacity living gets things back to square one.

But how do you get people to take action in the first place is my current dilemma as I want to make this happen and would love to be able to start on a small scale project and work towards a large scale slum to village conversion. I have been putting together costs for the last 12 months on materials and equipment to build the first shipping container home as I need a show piece here in Cebu that people can see how viable this is and can be to utilize. I would like to place it in a prime location and be able to invite people in to the home to see the benefits and dispel the myths on shipping container homes.

Its not going to be cheap initially because of the way the Philippines has an insular protective economy to protect the rich. Basically meaning the initial equipment won’t come cheap due to import duties at the same time its value is in the fact we can use it over and over again so this investment would be an initial one and after that will only need maintenance and repairs.

It won’t be an easy step and I have already spent 12 months on this project looking at the viability of it at the same time I need to prove it works to get other people on board more importantly Charities, NGO’s and Governments to make this happen. The initial stage is in our hands to create the first modular shipping container home to show piece the possibilities. After that I am sure even people looking to build a home can see the benefits of recycling containers as homes which also helps the environment.

If you would like to donate to the project please do so at Low Cost Housing Project

Disaster relief shipping container house

This type of house is obviously designed to be cheap and quick to construct. My biggest concern would be the costs of this type of operation as I know more often than not NGOs (Non Government Organisations or Charities) will exploit the situation. E.g. why construct it here when it can be done in places like Haiti very cheaply as well as create some short-term work for people badly needing it? Why go with the fancy bath and sink when people just need basic functions such as a sink for kitchen use! The bunk beds look very cheap at the same time I think they would also work making them functional. But the rest of the layout I think needs work as its just not practical for the sort of areas these would be needed.

I live in the Philippines myself and we don’t use a shower for example generally its a bucket with what would look like a plastic pot to most people. Why don’t we use a shower? because the water has a lot of sulphur in it and we find we go through a lot of shower heads for that reason. Yes the mains water is likely to be less harsh but we run on a deep well as its free.. At the same time most people in developing nations are used to such hardships so having a big shower room and bathroom like in this just isn’t practical. Much better to have increased the sleeping capacity as well as a simple sink for cooking, at the back a simple wet room would be more practical and take up less space.

disaster relief shelter–shipping container home

Not trying to rip into this container too much as they may be a very valid organisation trying to do something practical. But at the same time I would question it simply because I see these sort of organisations in the Philippines all the time and its generally just a money making machine fed on poverty and hardships.

Shipping Container Pool Room

There is something about the bright green mixed amongst a natural background making these shipping container buildings look fresh and inviting. The other thing I like about the first building is the number of pools I have been to in the Philippines that have very poorly built shower areas to wash off in that you often feel its a last resort going in them. These types of buildings are much easier to maintain as well as cheap to install. For the private pool or weekend retreat it creates a great spot to just chill out or get changed. Either way another great use of recycled shipping containers.

shipping container changing rooms shipping container pool room bright shipping container design shipping container garden retreat