5 key considerations before diving into a shipping container project


Shipping containers have proven themselves to be versatile and useful commodities in the world of architecture and business. Over the years, they have been used as office space, emergency shelters, building foundations and even art galleries. With the world pushing for more eco-friendly means of construction, shipping container building projects are becoming increasingly popular amongst architects and home builders around the world. If you are keen to start your own container project, here are some critical considerations to bear in mind before committing yourself any further:

  • Are they really that cheap? In comparison to traditional building materials, containers can be cheaper, but are incredibly expensive to move. If you have your own transport or live close to a port, you may be able to secure your containers for a reasonable price, but be prepared for some high quotations if you live some distance from the containers location.


  • Getting it where you want it. A 20 foot shipping container weighs in the region of 5,000lb, so if you don’t get it delivered to the exact spot where you want it, you will have the further inconvenience and expense of hiring a small crane or an industrial forklift to move it to where it needs to be.


  • Super strong. Containers are incredibly strong and super secure structures, as they needed to be for the purpose for which they were first created. This means that cutting holes in the sides and otherwise repurposing the structure will require some serious blow torching and more than the average household angle grinder.


  • Resist the rust. The only real predator to these super strong containers is oxidisation, commonly known as rust. This means you should focus on a really high quality protection and paint job in the first place so that your structure maintains integrity for many years to come. Sand back, treat and paint, or ideally get a professional too do this for you.


  • Boiled or frozen? These metal mammoths become deep freezes or roasting ovens depending on the temperature of the environment, so a good deal of modification is necessary if you intend to use them as any sort of living space. Excellent insulation is a must, and if you are insulating thoroughly you will also need to install adequate ventilation to avoid issues with moisture build up which can lead to condensation and dampness.


As the UK’s outgoing trade has slowed down significantly over the past few years, the surplus of shipping containers in this country is beginning to pile up. With local authorities and businesses keen to maintain green credentials, it is highly likely that the price of these versatile and durable units beings to be driven down. As long as you are aware of the commitment and expertise required to make use of these units, then soon you could be enjoying a cutting edge home or office space of the future at much less than you thought.