How Long Has the UK Been Using Containers for Alternative Purposes?

One of the things that we love about shipping containers is that there are so many ways that they can be used. Although they were originally designed for shipping cargo around the world, shipping containers are now used for an infinite number of other, different things.

Here at SJ Containers, we create anything from modular accommodation units to sleek customised viewing platforms – and everything in between, so shipping containers with alternative purposes are not new to us!

Buying a shipping container and converting it is becoming increasingly popular as they offer a great deal of design versatility, are mobile, eco-friendly, and extremely cost-effective.

Converted Shipping Containers

We have seen a surge in converted shipping containers in the UK, especially in recent years thanks to the fact that they can be an eco-friendly alternative to building with brick and mortar. Once a shipping container comes to the end of its life of transporting cargo to and from far-flung countries, it can then be re-purposed into a shipping container conversion instead of being turned into waste.

It is difficult to be able to tell when the first shipping containers were used for alternative purposes, but we do know that shipping containers were used as buildings in the film ‘Space Rage’ which was released in 1985. The US patent described as a “Method for converting one or more steel shipping containers into a habitable building at a building site and the product thereof” was applied for in 1987.

In the UK, the BBC made a TV series about creating office space through the conversion of shipping containers in 1994 so it is likely that the practice of converting shipping containers was in full swing by then.

The Shipping Container Conversion Process

The process of converting a shipping container is a simple one. Whatever your need for a temporary or semi-permanent building (or storage unit) is, you can discuss it with our design team who will use their computer-aided technology to help to bring your vision to life.

We pride ourselves on being able to design bespoke container conversions as well as having a selection of stock conversions – which can be altered to suit your needs if you wish. Some of the standard conversion features that we have at our disposal include:

  • A selection of different sized new and used shipping containers, including the 10ft, 20ft, and 40ft containers at a standard height as well as the high cube version and specialised containers
  • The ability to join several shipping containers together either side-by-side or stacked on top of each other (or both!)
  • The addition of personnel doors, windows, and hatches
  • The installation of electrical packages and connection to water systems
  • Secure locking systems
  • Container lining that has been designed for insulation making the shipping container inhabitable by people and/or animals
  • Professional painting and vinyl wraps
  • Ramps for wheelchair access or other uses
  • The addition of in-built racking or self-assembly shelving

Once that your shipping container conversion has been designed it is then passed over to our fabrication team who will begin to bring it to life. Of course, you can check up on its progress as it is made, and once that it is finished we will deliver it to your site where you can add the finishing touches before it is ready to go. Here at SJ Containers, we have been helping our customers with alternative purposes for shipping containers since the year 2000. This has only grown in popularity, due to their flexibility, green credentials, cost-effectiveness, and a whole host of other factors.

Get a Quote

Interested in our containers or modular buildings? Fill out the form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.