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

Finding Shipping Container Home Plans

Finding Shipping Container House Plans

shipping container home plan

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.

shipping Container Home Plans And Construction Companies can be easily found here at this link where shipping container home companies are being added into a directory.

Shipping Container Costs

The cost of a shipping container varies considerably and one of the main considerations when doing shipping container homes.

blue shipping container When looking at building a house from shipping containers, you have two main options constructing the home yourself or by having a specialist company built it for you.

Either way you should first look at the cost of buying shipping containers because locations make a huge difference in price and if the units are in surplus or in demand. Then there is the factors such as size and condition of the container units. Generally though there is surplus in most of the West the deciding factor if its viable for you or not is no doubt going to fall into location from source and price. Searching online you will be able to locate shipping containers easily but also worth keeping an eye out in your local classified adverts or even contact some local companies that have deliveries of containers. May even pay to put an advert out for shipping containers “wanted” as it may throw you some options you wouldn’t find otherwise.

Used shipping container costs are considerably cheaper when buying second hand units over new, it costs more to send them back to China than it does to manufacture one in China and send it, which is why you can often get shipping containers at low prices. Add to this though the costs of alterations and transport and handling of the shipping containers when considering this as a home building option.

We currently operate mainly in the Philippines but are open to external sources wanting to advertise shipping containers on a database to help people locate a shipping container. As well as shipping container manufacturers are also welcome to submit information to also be added into Shipping Container Living.

For a brand new standard 40’ Shipping Container you can expect to pay $1,500 upwards in the United States. At the same time here in Cebu Philippines its around P90,000 for a 20’ and P140,000 for a 40’. Although prices vary on demand drastically due to what would be unseaworthy elsewhere are still utilized between islands.