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Pros and Cons of Shipping Container Housing

29.06.2018 - Posted by Updated On 29.06.2018    

As converting shipping containers into housing grows in popularity, as with any non-traditional structure there are pros and cons to investigate and weigh before jumping head first into the conversion. Similar to modular construction, trailer/mobile homes, and in some cases log housing, shipping container conversions will take a little more time to mature and grow in acceptance rate.

Pros of Shipping Container Housing

  • Cost: Under the most basic building, the cost of a container home can be very reasonable. The construction can take place in a centralized facility and moved down an assembly line like any other modular building. The workers all stay in one place, and many expenses can be managed.
shipping container housing
  • Environmentally Friendly: If you decide on building with used shipping containers, you'll be potentially keeping a container from sitting in a scrap yard or being melted down into another steel product. The heat alone required to melt steel can make a large impact on the environment.
  • Modular Construction: The processes used in modular construction can provide higher quality buildings by creating them in a controlled, managed environment.

Cons on Shipping Container Housing

  • Cost can be high: Many of the shipping container homes that we see in the press today are highly customized and designed with a "wow factor" in mind. The containers are craned into the side of mountains, anchored on expensive beaches, of heavily modified to make a statement. If you're going in this direction, be prepared to pay.
  • Few Comparable Properties = Harder to Finance: Since there aren't many shipping container homes on the market, which a mortgage underwriter needs to justify the value of the mortgage, it's harder to obtain financing on the property. You may have to save up and self-finance the project.
  • Building Code Restrictions: "You want to build a home out of what? Is that even safe?" It's the job of a building inspector to make sure all properties are up to code and safe to live in, work in, and shop in. It's likely that a certified engineer would be required to sign off on the container home to insure its safety.

With any home, the vision, creativity, and functionality are the product of the person building it or living in it. These six points are by no mean an exhaustive list of the good and bad aspects about container housing, only to start a discussion for those interested in going down this path. If you have any questions about shipping container housing in your area it's best to start by contact a local engineer or architect and building safety inspector.

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