(This is a repost from Jan 7, 2013)
Have you heard of this? People are repurposing shipping containers for alternative housing. Several years ago I heard that people were doing this in desert, war-torn regions in the middle east, but for those people it was a matter of functionality and using something that was littering the landscape in abundance.
Today though, people all over the world are using shipping containers for offices, homes and for architectural detail. Shipping container homes present a lot of benefits and some challenges.
I can’t “contain” my joy!
These homes are naturally green because they have very little construction waste. The containers are usually pre-fitted together off site, placed on a concrete foundation and then finished on site. Also, they are easy to insulate with spray foam insulation that has a High R-value.
Plus a shipping container home can be pre-fitted and installed in about a month, where site-built construction of a home can take 3 – 6 months. Still, one of the coolest benefits is that the shipping containers that make up the home can be engineered and secured to the ground in such a way that the entire structure is a storm shelter.
Let’s get real for second.
Obviously this is a “cool” idea, but how realistic is building a house out of a shipping container? Well the average shipping container will cost somewhere between $2000 – $6000 depending on where you live and (ironically) shipping costs. Pre-fitting (off-site), installation and finishing is the game changer.
Architectural firms and contractors will vary in price because these projects are still highly custom and because nobody likes to lose money you can’t really get a builder to nail down a price. As it stands right now the cost of putting together an average sized shipping container home (4 containers), not including the land, is too much of a moving target to say whether or not this is a smart financial choice.
That said, this lady got her “dream home” with a budget of about $150,000 – “My Shipping Container Dream Home” – CNN Money.
Shipping Containers + Nashville = ?
So basically living in a shipping container isn’t as easy as one would hope, but in my mind that means one thing: The US market is wide-open for a company that will offer pre-fab shipping container floor plans constructed at a fixed price. The question is whether or not the demand exists.
I think if you hit the urban markets with a high density of single professionals or young professional couples with no children (or young children) you would have a good chance of being successful. Also you need a city that is dedicated to taking risks and making some noise. Nashville seems to me like the perfect place.
And just because I love you here is a little about shipping containers from Bob Vila’s website, Home Sweet Container.
Would you live in a shipping container?