Archive for November, 2011

Shipping containers and prefabricated homes has a great piece on the growing use of shipping container homes.  It’s a good starter for those looking for an introduction and the feature includes several examples (including one from Intermodal design)

The article makes a good point in:

Like all homes, shipping containers need to encompass all that is needed to make it livable. Prefabricated containers do take necessity into consideration by attempting to install whatever is needed to convert them into homes. And while not everyone may warm to the idea in view of the work that goes into making them livable as well as the limited space issue, there is no denying that the concept is an answer for those who can’t afford conventional housing.

For more click the link at the start of this piece.

Just to show you we’re not all about house building – a great story from Dubai where refurbished shipping containers have been used to create an outdoor cafe. reports

Using three used containers developers – Smart Box industries have created a unique refreshment area showing off what can be done with recycled sustainable materials.

The purpose-built Outdoor Café has been designed to be both aesthetically appealing and practical at the same time.  C.M. Suri, Smart Box General Manager explained, “Our in-house team of highly innovative architects has developed a unique structure that is eye catching and functional. Smart Box allows the freedom of ‘user driven design’ to be translated into professional architecturally engineered construction.”

Nathan Waugh, Event Manager for MEC and PMV Live, commented on Smart Box’s participation in this year’s event. He explained, “We’re delighted to feature such an innovative and sustainable product at this year’s event. The Smart Box Outdoor Café adds an element of originality and excitement to this exhibition and many of our exhibitors and visitors have already been making the most of the space during their downtime at the event.”

You can visit smartbox here – Here’s a pic of the development


Insulating your shipping container home.

One of the common issues with shipping container homes is to do with insulation. Like any house build project, when your home is built you’ll need to ensure you dont bake in the summer and freeze in the winter.

Many will worry about rust. You’ll need to check this out in detail but as most shipping containers are made from weathering steel (non corrosive corten steel) which is very robust. While no two container conversions are exactly the same (and budgets will vary) the fact is Shipping containers are not all that different from traditional home builds and you’ll want to consider early on in the planning phase how you’ll go about insulating your container(s). shows what can be done with insulating foam, goes further looking at a variety of options open to those looking to convert containers. is a bit more bold

“There are many ways to insulate your shipping container home. You could spay on the insulation, roll it on and even use some type of ecological form, like egg cartons, etc. The best by far is the spray on type of insulation. This is called a polyurethane foam and it works best in combination with ceramic insulation paint.

Whatever option you go for, as always your plan should cover it from the start of your project!

Shipping container homes in unusual places! has a nice piece on shipping container homes. The article focus’s on how shipping container’s can be used for multiple uses, for homes, commercial and also for remote accomodation. That last one is perhaps the most interesting. Its no secret that shipping container homes are great in extreme circumstances (think Haiti) but also they are ideally suited to unusual conditions given thier modular approach and rapid setup/build time.

A rainforest shipping container retreat.
A good example of this is a remote rainforest reteat that was built in far North Queensland, Australia. The building site was remote and due to the dense rainforest and high rainfall access to the site was not easy. Shipping containers were mounted on concrete filled PVC pipe and created an effective, quick and easy home.

Follow the link above for more.

Shipping container homes interior design

When you think of Shipping container homes you could be forgiven for thinking that the scope of interior design could be limited.  However you’d be surprised to find that you can create some truly wonderful, stunning interiors and that the shipping containers themselves are not limiting factors.

Typically there are two factors that limit what can be achieved – firstly finances – what funds you have available to spend on your home and achieving suitable aesthetics (you’ll notice that many shipping container homes go for a modern contempory look and feel (you dont see many quaint cottage style shipping containers!).

As a taster we’ve put together this short video showing what could be achieved.


Shipping container – holiday accomodation

While we normally cover building homes utilizing shipping containers I couldn’t resist this piece from the travel writer Dave Fox.

He discusses his recent stay in Kuala Lumpur at the 41 Berangan guest house.

If you ever want to design a Malaysian-style courtyard, here is how you do it, 41-Berangan-style: Find a concrete building. Place a shipping container at a right angle to that building. Then place another shipping container at a right angle to the first shipping container. Add a small table and a couple of potted palms, and voila! Instant courtyard!

I don’t know about you, but when I think of sleeping in shipping containers, I think of human trafficking or dead refugees. The padlock on the door did not look inviting. But I had slept in weird places before. Two nights in a shipping container would be… “quirky!”


Its a really entertaining piece and just shows you that shipping containers really do have a multitude of uses!!!

Click the link for more



Using steel containers for home building

More on Kenneth R. Gosselin container home build in New Haven, this time from they have a cool video up featuring Bob Villa talking about using containers.

From the post:

“The industry is young but growing — with perhaps 1,000 units on the drawing board in the next year in this country and Canada,” he writes.

For more (& the video) click the link above.

News from the Hartford Courant – Architect Christian E. Salvati is looking to construct his latest building from six steel shipping containers -

The frame of the two-family house was fashioned by stacking and welding together six steel shipping containers — yes, those 45-footers that are hoisted onto seagoing vessels or loaded onto 18-wheeler flatbeds — three, side-by-side, for each floor. The interior walls of the containers are being carved out to make way for kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms and bedrooms.

One of the unsurprising parts of the article is the description of the puzzled faces at the town planning dept – For most Shipping containers are still an odd building block to construct your home from and for the uninitiated it must come accross as a little odd to be building your home from such non-traditional material.

Another aspect that shows that its still early days in the container home market is the comment that – “The industry is young but growing — with perhaps 1,000 units on the drawing board in the next year in this country and Canada”.

Its a really interesting article (you can read it here – check it out – accompanying it is a cool video featuring Christian E. Salvati’s project.

Tips on buying shipping containers

Once you’ve decided on using shipping containers as the building blocks for your new home the first question you’ll ask yourself is where will you buy them from.

Luckily there are a variety of options open to you.

What to think about before you buy your shipping container

1/ Obtain quotes from several vendors
2/ Always choose standard ISO containers in order that you are confident that multiple units will stack and fit together.
3/ If your buying a used unit(s) make sure that you inspect thoroughly – (all sides and corners) – check for signs of rust – do all the locking mechanisms work correctly – etc.
4/ If used ask about history – bear in mind you’ll need to get the unit professionally cleaned depending on what it has previously transported

New or used or used containers

This is often one of the key questions you’ll face – new will guarantee a quality unit that will be clean, last a long time and will be ready to go from the start. Buying used, whilst understandably the cheaper option, there will be some initial maintenance to carry out (cleaning and maybe some repairs or treatments).

Where to buy.

Depending on your location there are usually various distributors/sellers in most geographical locations – consider looking for companies that are near major transport hubs (ports specifically) that will be likely to have plenty of units to view (make sure you wear suitable clothing for this task!)

Increasingly many home builders using shipping containers are looking to specialized companies that provide turnkey solutions for purchasing, delivering and kitting out containers.

For more information on this check out our where to buy shipping containers listings page showing companies you could use.

Don’t forget delivery

When you’ve chosen your container(s) don’t forget that you’ll need to consider how it will be transported to your site – the seller may provide this service or you may have to arrange it yourself – do consider how it will be loaded onto your transport!

We recently posted on Retirement home created from shipping containers, the story about how Bill Glennon and his wife are looking to construct thier retirement home from Shipping containers which have previously visited “the four corners of globe”

Now the Edmunton journal has a great video on thier project (you can view it

What’s really impressive is Bill’s vision of what his house could be – this is vital when undertaking a project of this type – as you can pick up from the video there are a tonne of activities to complete before the home will be finished.

Also check out the sustainability angle – solar power, insulation,

While the home might not look great yet – you can tell from Bill’s passion that by the time he’s finished it’ll be stunning.

 Page 1 of 2  1  2 »