Archive for November, 2011

While the premise of building and designing your new home from shipping containers can be at first exciting it wont take long until the task sinks in and you ask yourself – just where do I start?

As with any home building task it should be viewed as a project – a series of steps that you need to follow in the right sequence to deliver you the desired result. It’ll take some planning, you’ll need to estimate your costs and you’ll probably need some resources to help you with the build – looking to get started? Consider the following…
1/ Plan your home – Get a basic concept of how you want your home – how big will it be, how many containers will you need, consider windows, doors, costs for kitting out (floors, plumbing electrics etc) While it may sound obvious get this documented – get a plan constructed that you can then utilize and share with any resources that you bring into your project.

2/Find your shipping container – will you buy a used container – a new container or perhaps you’ll look for something that comes already partially kitted out – Weigh up the options and consider which suits you best.

3/ Think about how you’ll transport your container – you’ll need to consider two aspects to this
a) How will you ship it from the seller
b) How will you position it when it reaches your build site

You may well find that your seller will help you. But consider that you may need equipment/vehicles (in particular a crane to help you when it gets to your site). Consider the logistics of this (especially if your in a built up area) There may well be safety and other legislative regulations within your area that you’ll need to comply with – make sure you check these out well in advance. If the seller handles this element for you consider the cost of this and ensure you have it included in your budget.

4/ Clean it up! If you’ve purchased a used container – make sure you understand what state its in – what its carried and if it needs any preparation – in particular find out it has contained anything hazardous to humans – if it has you’ll need to get it cleaned and treated before it’s you can inhabit it – best to use an expert service for this – as its not a step to guess!

5/ Build your foundations. As with any home you’ll need to ensure that you have suitable foundations- check out this great video from which takes you through establishing foundations for your project.

6/ Cut to shape!!! – Inline with your plan cut out the basic windows, doors and fit equipment accordingly. Insulate the interior – fit plumbing and electrics. You may also wish to carry out some landscaping of the land to taste.

Example Shipping container homes

If your wondering what all the fuss is about and want to see some examples of shipping container homes we put together a short video exploring what can be done with the humble ISO shipping unit. As you can see they look pretty amazing dont they?

They are so versatile and the fact that you can design in a modular fashion means the possibilities from an architectural perspective are plentiful.

Anyway – check out our video and feel free to comment below.

Boxpark shipping container shopping mall to open

Whilst our site focuses using Shipping Containers as homes, we love to see them being used for other things too – Given this we’re really excited to see Boxpark Shopping mall over in London.

December will see one of the world’s first  shopping malls (albeit a temporary one),  open in the UK. This, however will not be your  typical shopping complex – this one will be constructed from  shipping containers – sixty of them.  This has caught the idea of a number of big brands with traders such as Nike and Puma taking part – This is London reports

But the idea of using shipping containers also comes with economic benefits. “Most traditional retail developments try to sign their tenants up to five- and 10-year leases. In this current economic environment, for new retailers who may not have had their own space before, that is a real liability,” says Wade, who leases space for as little as one year.

“It offers arguably the most cost-efficient and flexible way for new entrants to gain exposure in the retail market,” says Boxpark’s retail agent Mark Phillipson.

For more on this “pop up shopping mall” check out the official website

Over at Robinsons International they’re running the story of the Glennon family, who live in Calgary in Canada, After scouring their local area and being hamstrung by high purchase prices they opted to develop their own retirement property from shipping containers.

Their new 5,000 square-foot home comes complete with four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a games room and media rooms, garage and workshop. And the four-storey building, which has two levels above ground, also includes a massive garden on the eight-hectare property.
The plan is to reportedly cover the exterior of the 30 shipping containers with the material stucco, to make it look like a regular home.

Click the link above to read the full story.

Shipping Container dimensions

The Shipping container is over fifty years old and is used worldwide to ship every type of goods imaginable. These days they are manufactured from durable weathering steel (typically corrugated). Their cube design enables them to be easily transported and stacked in numbers up to 7 containers high.

There are variety of different shipping containers available in different sizes and capacity. Shipping containers can have a number of specific uses requiring slightly different configuration – for example refrigeration units, open top units, vented units etc. Each unit will usually have a identification code (commonly called a BIC code) that enables tracking of the container during use.

Standard Shipping Container Dimensions

20′ container 40′ container 40′ high-cube container 45′ high-cube container
imperial metric imperial metric imperial metric imperial metric
length 19′ 10 12 6.058 m 40′ 0″ 12.192 m 40′ 0″ 12.192 m 45′ 0″ 13.716 m
width 8′ 0″ 2.438 m 8′ 0″ 2.438 m 8′ 0″ 2.438 m 8′ 0″ 2.438 m
height 8′ 6″ 2.591 m 8′ 6″ 2.591 m 9′ 6″ 2.896 m 9′ 6″ 2.896 m
length 18′ 8 1316 5.710 m 39′ 5 4564 12.032 m 39′ 4″ 12.000 m 44′ 4″ 13.556 m
width 7′ 8 1932 2.352 m 7′ 8 1932 2.352 m 7′ 7″ 2.311 m 7′ 8 1932 2.352 m
height 7′ 9 5764 2.385 m 7′ 9 5764 2.385 m 8′ 9″ 2.650 m 8′ 9 1516 2.698 m
door aperture width 7′ 8 ⅛″ 2.343 m 7′ 8 ⅛″ 2.343 m 7′ 6″ 2.280 m 7′ 8 ⅛″ 2.343 m
height 7′ 5 ¾″ 2.280 m 7′ 5 ¾″ 2.280 m 8′ 5″ 2.560 m 8′ 5 4964 2.585 m
volume 1,169 ft³ 33.1 m³ 2,385 ft³ 67.5 m³ 2,660 ft³ 75.3 m³ 3,040 ft³ 86.1 m³
gross mass
66,139 lb 30,400 kg 66,139 lb 30,400 kg 68,008 lb 30,848 kg 66,139 lb 30,400 kg
empty weight 4,850 lb 2,200 kg 8,380 lb 3,800 kg 8,598 lb 3,900 kg 10,580 lb 4,800 kg
net load 61,289 lb 28,200 kg 57,759 lb 26,600 kg 58,598 lb 26,580 kg 55,559 lb 25,600 kg

Would you live in a shipping container home?

There can be many issues associated with building a home – for example issues such as high costs, space shortages and slow build times can be a real headache. In attempting to mitigate these challenges (and more) associated with home building and an increasing desire for more environmentally friendly and sustainable forms of housing many of us are looking at alternatives to traditional bricks and mortar.

In recent years shipping containers have seen a rapid expansion as a viable alternative to traditional homes.

Shipping containers offer a modular approach and are easily modified. They can be linked and connected or stacked vertically to create intriguing designs that make effective use of space whilst remaining rapid to deploy and relative low cost.

Container homes are traditionally built up from either new or used ISO containers. These are relatively cheap and extremely durable. Whilst the shape of the shipping container may not, at first appearance represent a traditional concept for house, shipping containers can make a surprisingly beautiful home. Several containers can be built into a modular design windows and doors can be cut in and interiors equipped and decorated making it ready for a happy family living environment.

The modular approach (click here for shipping container dimensions) allows architects the freedom to create modern yet functional designs for living. Indeed this approach is not just limited to living space and can be readily applied to working environments also either as rapidly deployed temporary buildings or permanent workspaces.

As the world continues to grow and populations expand the issue of cheap effective and durable homes will continue to gain focus – the future will be all about flexibility and property will need to respond to an ever growing requirement to meet social and environment needs comply with technological barriers..

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