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Do This Before Building Your Container Home

House built from shipping containers in Australia

Shipping container homes are a growing architectural trend that you want to jump on. But before you get ahead of yourself and purchase a container, you should do a little bit of research first. What should you research?

One of the first things you should do is check to see whether you can legally build a shipping container in your desired location. Shipping container homes are a fairly new architectural trend, so they might have more building restrictions than regular brick-and-mortar houses.

Start by looking into the state laws regarding this alternative home construction. You can take a look here to see which states allow shipping container homes and which ones don’t. After looking into state laws, you should investigate local zoning regulations. A common zoning regulation that you might encounter is that your container can’t be mobile. It can’t have visible wheels, and it must rest on a permanent foundation. 

Research this information before you build! You don’t want to accidentally violate state or local laws. This could result in consequences like fines, paused construction or dismantled construction. 

Delivery Capabilities

After you purchase a shipping container, a tilt-bed truck will deliver it to your construction site — that is, if the truck can actually reach the site. The truck will need plenty of clear space to safely transport and offload the shipping container. It can’t navigate through narrow or crowded spaces. So, if your construction site is nestled in a high-traffic, narrow street in a metropolitan area, this delivery might not be possible. 

So, before you plan to build a container home, look at the intended construction site. Is it ideal for container delivery, or is it troublesome for a tilt-bed truck to drive through?

 House built from shipping containers in Australia

Professional Help

You’ll want to hire a team of professionals to help you with every step of your home construction, including an architect, a designer and a series of contractors. These team members should be familiar with creating shipping container homes. You don’t want your home to be their first foray with the material.  

Shipping containers can’t be treated the same as other building materials and will need special considerations. For instance, a seasoned professional will know that making too many cut-outs in the container walls will impact the structural stability of the container home. They will either recommend fewer cut-outs or reinforce the structure with steel beams to keep the home safe and durable post-construction.

When searching for help with your construction, look for contractors who have worked with shipping containers beforehand.  

Local Climate

Shipping containers are extremely durable and resilient materials that are meant to carry cargo all across the world without incurring significant damage. So, whether you live in a cold tundra or a hot desert, you can use this as a construction material. 

The local climate shouldn’t stop you from constructing a container home, but it should inform your design plans. Here are some examples of how climate can influence your design:

  • If you live in a colder climate, you will want to focus on insulation to guarantee that the container is safe and comfortable when the outdoor temperature plummets. 
  • If you live in a hotter climate, you’ll want to carefully consider the paint color for the container exterior. Choosing a dark paint color could be a mistake. It can absorb the sunlight and make the interior hotter. A lighter paint color can reflect sunlight and keep the interior temperature comfortable.
  • If you live in a rainier climate, you’ll want to focus on design features that improve drainage, like a sloped roof, rain gutters and a graded yard. This can prevent water intrusion and rust. 

It’s better to learn this information before the construction than during it. Research these topics ahead of time and find out whether you can make the container home of your dreams!