The newest craze in eco-friendly building is shipping container homes. These unique houses use new or used cargo containers as their primary construction material. And since these shipping containers are cheap and plentiful, you can build your very own shipping container house for a surprisingly low cost.
But before you make the choice to construct your very own container home, there are a few things you should consider. Just because container homes are becoming very popular with the green building set doesn’t necessarily mean that you should make the plunge yourself. You need to think about your personal needs, your financial situation, and local building codes before you make the investment of building your own container home.
First, you need to realize that a shipping container home is definitely not a traditional house. This may seem obvious, but it’s an important factor to consider. Even though homes built out of cargo containers seem really cool now, you may find that the novelty wears off after a few years. Any home is a long-term investment, so you need to be absolutely sure that you are happy with your potential living situation before you invest thousands of dollars into it. Even though container homes are a smart, eco-friendly choice, you may find yourself yearning for the comforts of a traditional home after a while. Also, consider your space needs before you start construction. If you have a big family, or just want a lot of bedrooms, you may need multiple shipping containers to have the house of your dreams. This requires a lot more work and customization than homes that only use one cargo container.
Next, think about the total costs associated with building a cargo container home. Shipping containers by themselves are relatively cheap, but it takes a lot of time and labor to transform it into a cozy home. You will also need to ship the container to your building site, which might be more expensive than you think. Foundation work also needs to be done, which tacks on extra cost. Before you purchase a shipping container for your new home, consult with a knowledgeable building contractor who can accurately calculate your total cost. An even better option is to work with a company that specializes in cargo container architecture. They will have an expert opinion on everything you will need to do, and they might even be able to sell you a container for your home and make all of the modifications you need ahead of time. By dealing with one company, you can be sure of what all of your costs will be, since you will not need to reconcile quotes from different vendors and contractors.
And most importantly, you will need to consult with local authorities to make sure your new container home meets all local building codes. Some communities simply won’t allow homes constructed out of shipping containers. If this is the case, you may be out of luck, but it’s much better to find out before you invest money or begin construction. Check all applicable state and local building codes before you buy materials or hire contractors. Pay special attention to building codes related to building homes using steel, since this is the most likely restriction you will find on shipping container homes. Also, when you consult your local building office, make sure that you have a specific house plan in mind before you ask for approval. If you just say that you want to build a cargo container home, you might get a quick rejection. However, if you prove that you have a specific, well thought out plan for a home, you are more likely to convince local authorities that your proposed project is up to code.
These considerations should not dissuade you from building a shipping container home. They are cheap, efficient, and environmentally friendly structures that can make a unique home. But, as in all major projects, it’s very important to take into account all of the snags that could come your way. By planning ahead, you can make sure that your cargo container home project gets done right.