Shipping Container Homes
A growing trend in modular home construction is the use of shipping containers that were once used to
transport goods across the world in building very strong, environmentally friendly houses that are easily scalable.
These containers are also sometimes called CONEX boxes (the military term for a shipping container). I
believe this is just a combination of the words "container" and "express".
In addition to single family homes, shipping containers have been used to create many other
structures,including multi family housing, offices and commercial buildings. Comedian/actor Bill Murray (and
partners)recently opened a"Container Bar" in Charleston, SC, which is an outdoor venue that brings in a
rotating group of food trucks and is made from a retired shipping container.
When you think about it, shipping container home building is really the classic form of modular
construction. The containers which make up the structure of the house have already been prefabricated
and can be brought to the home site with the walls and roof already complete.
The one difference in this form of construction compared to other modular building is the fact that the
containers have been constructed for a different purpose, and in almost all cases, used for that purpose
before being used in the building of a home. Although it is possible to buy a brand new shipping container,
it is more common for people to use a "one trip" container (a cargo container that has only been used to
ship goods across the ocean once) because of the price savings.
This difference is the reason some people are drawn to the idea of building a home from shipping
containers. In addition to building a unique structure, people like the idea of finding another use for
something that was created and used for an entirely different purpose.
Shipping containers come in different sizes, but by far the most common size is 8 feet wide, by 20 or 40
feet long. Something interesting I found while researching is that despite the fact that almost all shipping
containers have the same general shape and look, the houses that have been built with these containers
look surprisingly different. There doesn't seem to be a lot of builders who build homes with a standardized
look, like you tend to see with builders of modular homes, tiny houses and stick built houses.
This is probably because there is not an abundance of builders that focus only on shipping container homes
yet, although the number is growing. Another reason is because many people who live in container houses
chose to build the home themselves, leading to many interesting designs.
I have also noticed a decent number of architects that seem to enjoy designing unique, custom container
The companies below are builders, architects and designers of shipping container homes, along with some
sellers of the containers used to build the homes.
This company has one of the best websites I have seen for a modular home builder that specializes in
shipping container houses. They have 2 different series of house plans and also can build a bar using a
container. They have 3D Virtual tours of the different plans that are a really great way to see the possibilities
of each plan. They also have a page that does a great job of explaining the construction schedule and the
costs that will be involved each step of the way. Very few builders go into this much detail on their site.
As of now they are Certified for California, Washington, Colorado, British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario. I
believe this means that if you plan to build in an area other than this they can still do it but there may be
some additional costs, depending on what modifications they would have to make in order to build it to
the code of the state and municipality that you plan to live in.
If you need to buy shipping containers for your project this company has a really great system in place to
easily purchase them online. They have depots all over the US and Canada (and probably some other
places) and you can just go on their website and see exactly which containers are available closest to
you. They have full pricing information right there, including any special deals.
Stack House Container Homes
Cedar Park and Austin Texas company builds shipping container houses, steel frame modular homes and
Cross Container Homes
Kansas City, Missouri builders of tiny homes, larger homes, man caves, cabins, sheds, all using shipping
Custom Container Company
Design company specializing in Green building can design your shipping container home.
Beautiful, safe, sustainable homes using shipping containers. A lot of their plans are for "tiny houses" but they
have one called "the lodge" which is really cool. It is made up of 3 containers and is over 800 square feet. They
have nice illustrations of the different models on the website.