Shipping containers are used for many applications, but one of the key reasons for their popularity is the ease with which they can be transported from location to location. Often referred to as ‘semi-permanent’, shipping containers offer a resilient and structurally robust space solution without limiting you to a single fixed location.

This means that shipping containers are great for not only moving items, but also for storage and, as is becoming increasingly popular, as a space for restaurants, pop-up shops and cafes, plant rooms and labs. These are just a few of the many applications made possible through bespoke container conversions services.

This freedom and portability aren’t without conditions, however. For instance, you can’t put a shipping container down anywhere you like. For it to be safe and functional, you need to bear the following things in mind.

Where to Put a Shipping Container

There are two main considerations which need to be made when you are deciding where to position a shipping container:

  • Somewhere that is convenient, safe and compliant (for industrial applications) given your specific needs and site
  • Somewhere that has a suitable base and offers easy access when required

You and Your Needs

Where you place your shipping container will depend largely on what you plan to use it for. For example, if you are using it for personal or work storage, you can usually be more flexible about where it is put.

However, if you are planning to use it as a pop-up shop, café, or even chemical store, you will likely have other practical factors and compliance requirements to consider. Similarly, if you are planning on supplying the unit with electricity, water or internet connectivity, you will also need to take this into account.

Suitable Base and Access

You will also need to ensure that the ground where you are going to place your shipping container is suitable. In failing to survey the ground, you may find that once the container is on-site, it is unsafe, doesn’t sit properly, the windows and doors don’t open and close properly, or that the container faces avoidable condensation.

You will also need to think about how you are going to get the shipping container to the space you intend to have it placed. For instance, the location must be accessible for a lorry with the necessary lifting equipment. In order for the vehicle effectively park and offload, an approximate width of 24ft is required.

Ground which is suitable to have a shipping container placed on it will need to be:

  • Completely flat (the weight of your shipping container is distributed across the four corners, meaning that the ground underneath must be totally flat)
  • Sturdy and solid – ground could be made from concrete, railway sleepers, concrete slabs or a hard stone surface, for example.

If you are in doubt, it is always worth checking whether the ground is suitable before you have your shipping container delivered. You can also opt to have a professional site survey conducted by a shipping container specialist to provide complete reassurance.

Planning Permission

Although shipping containers are ‘temporary structures’, some have sought planning permission for their shipping containers. We, therefore, recommend that you check with your local authority if you are sensitive to local environmental issues or have any doubts relating to your project.

Remember, although the fact that shipping containers are portable is one of their great benefits, it is important that you carefully consider exactly where you place them. Not only for them to be fully functional, effective and long-lasting for their specific uses, but also to ensure compliance, safety and security.