People have become increasingly creative with shipping containers recently. We have seen its uses grow from a simple solution for streamlining the transportation of cargo, to the foundation for pop-up restaurants, portable offices, laboratories and battery storage facilities. One use for which there has been increasing demand is the construction of houses and living spaces.

This is not only an eco-friendly, cost-effective and innovative way to create a home, but can also be a viable way to help solve the UK housing crisis. An important caveat to consider is that strict standards must be adhered to though to ensure living spaces are of a great enough standard to be comfortable spaces for residents, especially in extremes of weather. When built by experienced specialists, shipping containers are not only efficient in terms of space, but also are much more affordable for house-buyers than traditional houses, are quick to construct, and can look pretty cool too.

What is Involved in Creating a Shipping Container Home?

In the UK, shipping container homes are still a rare sight. And those which do exist are usually made as part of a grand design project or a labour of love requiring significant investment. However, shipping container homes needn’t be like this. In fact, they can be constructed simply and quickly.

The first thing that needs to be done is for you to find some suitable land. While planning permission often isn’t needed for a shipping container, if you are planning on using it permanently – or semi-permanently – for a home, you might need to speak to your local authority to check where you stand with the law.

You then need to buy your shipping containers. It is important to check the rules regarding the legal sizes of a dwelling – you will almost certainly need more than one shipping container, for example.

You also need to factor in insulation and a special linings to the container(s) which will ensure that you don’t get too hot or cold whilst you are inside the container. This will also help to reduce the risk of condensation, which can be a problem with shipping containers if not accounted for in advance.

You can then start to design your shipping container home, taking into account a few different factors:

  1. What doors and windows you would like in your shipping containers. These can be fit before the shipping container is actually delivered and customised to your specific needs.
  2. How you intend to secure your home – you will need to think about the right locking systems for your shipping container.
  3. The structural design on your home – you will essentially have a number of steel rectangular blocks to construct with. You should remember, however, that you can add in partition walls.
  4. You will need to have electrics and plumbing fitted.
  5. Whether you want your shipping containers to be painted and if so, how?

It is important to remember that CAD (Computer-Aided Design) can help you fully account for these factors and make the most appropriate and cost-effective decisions. It can also give you a 3D impression of how your design will look in ‘real-life’.

The Cost of a Shipping Container Home

It is very difficult to give a specific figure of how much a shipping container home would cost as just with any home, there are virtually options. Consequently, a functional and comfortable shipping container home can be made relatively inexpensively just as it can be fitted out with all the latest technology and features to become a costly project.

In any case, a shipping container home will likely be significantly less expensive than building a bricks and mortar equivalent – even if you need to buy the land. For this reason, they remain a financially viable solution to the UK housing crisis that is worth exploring.