container, also called a shipping container, is a large steel crate used to
store goods being transported. Usually, these containers are moved via railway,
truck or ship. Standard containers are either 20 or 40 feet in length and are
strong. Residences created using recycled shipping containers are called
containers are made from steel, which is a good conductor of heat. This means
that in a container home, heat is lost quickly. In order to compensate for this
heat loss, large amounts of insulation is needed. However, adding insulation to
a container house can be a problem. In a traditional home, space exists between
the interior and exterior walls. This space typically contains insulating
material. A shipping container, however, has only one metal wall, with no space
for insulation. To solve this problem, additional interior walls must be added
or insulation must be hung directly on the metal walls of the structure.
residential areas, zoning rules restrict the types of homes that can be
constructed. Steel homes, particularly those created from shipping containers,
are not commonly built in these neighborhoods. This can cause problems when
applying for a building permit within residential zoning. Because using
containers for housing is a relatively new concept, many people are not
familiar with their designs. As a result, neighborhood residents and approval
boards may resist the construction of a container design.
One of the
purposes of using shipping containers as a building material is to re-use and
recycle scrap units. However, because these units have held many different
types of contents in the past, contaminants may be left over. These
contaminants can include chemicals, fumes and toxic paints. For this reason,
containers must be thoroughly stripped and cleaned before being used for
housing. Although this procedure is normally not difficult, it is time
consuming. Also, this extra step increases the overall time period, and the
cost, of building a container home.
material used to construct shipping containers is designed to be weather
resistant. However, any metal containing amounts of iron will begin to rust
under certain conditions, and steel is no exception. Because container houses
often make use of older recycled container units, rust can be a major concern.
Moisture, rain and snow can combine to accelerate the rust process, leading to
holes in the walls and floor. More important, rust can cause the structure of a
container house to fail, causing it to become unsafe.
completed, a shipping container home in fact does not take up much space.
During construction, however, a significant amount of free space is needed.
First, enough space must be available at the building site for the containers
to be delivered and placed. Containers must be moved using cranes and other
heavy equipment, which must have room to maneuver and move. Second,
modification of shipping containers requires free space around the construction
area. As steel is cut and containers are connected, workers must have ample
space to operate welders, torches and other tools.