Build my own shipping container home

by Peter Paul Manager
Building a house is no small feet.  Even a small one. There are thousands of materials, pieces, and tasks involved.  Unless you are a builder or experienced it's intimidating.  But, what containers as perfect modules allow you to do, is simplify the entire process.  Think of a typical 1,000 square foot house.  Try and work through in your head the total length of timber for the framing, square footage of sheathing, number of floor joists required, and ceiling rafters. Can't do it.  Not too many can.  Now think about that 1,000 square foot house made out of shipping containers.  It's 3 forty foot containers.  By reducing the house into 3 base component pieces (modules), it's much easier to understand, design, and build.

I.  Permitting, Bidding, and Pre-order

Finish construction documents for your shipping container home and submit to building authority for permitting.

Submit construction documents to factory for pricing and engineering of container modules.

Clarifications to building authority and factory as required .

Get required permits from building authority.     

Submittal of construction documents to general and sub contractors.

Execute purchase order of container modules from factory.                                      
II.  The Build


The foundation shown below is a typical slab on grade application  for a 1000sf (three 40' containers) shipping container home design.  There is a 24' x 40' perimeter foundation wall made from precast concrete panels, but could easily be cmu block or poured concrete.  The perimeter was excavated and trench filled with gravel (for drainage).  The precast panels were dropped in via a crane and tied together. The panels included insulation and exterior water proofing membranes added at the factory.  Utilities (water, electircal, and gas supply lines) are run to the base of the foundation and then to there respective locations in plan.  Foundation walls were then back-filled, soil compacted, gravel added, rebar laid out, and then slab poured.

Container Modifications

Shipping containers have monocoque bodies.  The corrugation panels (roof, sides, and back), floor, purlins, front doors, frame, and rails form an integrated structural skin. They are strong and made to carry floor loads far in excess of what is required for typical home construction.  But, when you modify them, cutting holes or penetrating members, they are weakened.  Regardless of what level of modification your shipping container home design calls for, it is recommended to review with a structural engineer or architect.

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About Peter Paul Professional     Manager

797 connections, 26 recommendations, 2,211 honor points.
Joined APSense since, December 23rd, 2013, From New York, United States.

Created on Dec 31st 1969 18:00. Viewed 0 times.


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