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Old 11-08-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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I am starting to do some research on building a container home, possibly from scratch or one a small container already made into a living space then adding on to it with additional containers. I am even thinking about making it off grid and using solar panels. What I like most about this idea, is that containers are inexpensive (about $2000-3000), so that you already have your basic structure for little cost and time.

Has anyone here had any first hand or second hand experience with this? I am mostly wondering about building permits and foundations. I would like to do this in the SF Bay Area.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Oxygen Ln. AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FelixTheCat View Post
I am starting to do some research on building a container home, possibly from scratch or one a small container already made into a living space then adding on to it with additional containers. I am even thinking about making it off grid and using solar panels. What I like most about this idea, is that containers are inexpensive (about $2000-3000), so that you already have your basic structure for little cost and time.

Has anyone here had any first hand or second hand experience with this? I am mostly wondering about building permits and foundations. I would like to do this in the SF Bay Area.
I would consult with a local architect to see what the permit process will be for you. Coming from CA I can tell you it is not an easy road at times and an architect is well worth their fee and can save you time and money. We have always held an interest in container homes as well, but finding the land that will allow such a structure has always been the down side.
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MotleyCrew View Post
I would consult with a local architect to see what the permit process will be for you. Coming from CA I can tell you it is not an easy road at times and an architect is well worth their fee and can save you time and money. We have always held an interest in container homes as well, but finding the land that will allow such a structure has always been the down side.
Thanks for the advice. Consulting with an architect is a good idea. I also have a structural engineer in my family licensed in CA that I will run this idea by.

What have your issues been with finding land? The cost of empty lots? Or just finding the right lot?
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:15 PM
 
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Discussed frequently on the Hawaii forum.

I've seen them all over the world and my honest assesment is they cost more than a stick built of same square footage espeically if trying to make them into a somewhat normal hone. How much would it cost to build a 8' X 40' X 8' wood frame studio home (Great room, bath, kitchenette) and how much to convert that container to the same thing? Most people who deal with container conversions will admit they are not cheaper compared to similar wood frame homes. Also container homes are odd ducks in the 320 sq feet is long and thin and makes layout choices limited where a 10' X 32' wood frame home have much more layout options.

Unless you have the money to make it feel special, people who done it get tired of it real fast. Most of the premade or those marketing the homes are not really honest about the actual cost to make them livable to the point you feel comfortable in them.
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:46 AM
 
Location: New Orleans, LA
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I don't know anything about container homes, but I am so glad that I don't have to resort to living in a shipping container. I would feel like a homeless bum and I would feel so desolate and forlorn. I guess that is just me.
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NOLA2SGF View Post
I don't know anything about container homes, but I am so glad that I don't have to resort to living in a shipping container. I would feel like a homeless bum and I would feel so desolate and forlorn. I guess that is just me.
Do you really think that the shipping container alone is considered to be a shipping container home? If yes, then a backyard wood shed with no insulation, windows, electricity, flooring, and plumbing is a house.
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Old 11-09-2010, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Living on the Coast in Oxnard CA
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If it was a cost effective way to build a home it seems the idea would have taken off years ago. I just don't see it as something that will catch on anytime soon.
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:36 PM
 
Location: A little suburb of Houston
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My friend's neighbor built one of these (with the help of an architect). It was fascinating to watch it go up. It is two stories and quite attractive. It is on a foundation and is anchored down beyond that. The steel frames on those things are very strong. I know that my friend and other neighbors were quite distressed about it at first as it was built in a neighborhood of 300K+ homes (that's alot here in Texas) on the bay, but they are quite pleased with it now and are admittedly a bit jealous of the alleged but untried ability of the house to withstand a hurricane.
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:19 AM
 
2,168 posts, read 2,591,494 times
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Originally Posted by Poltracker View Post
My friend's neighbor built one of these (with the help of an architect). It was fascinating to watch it go up. It is two stories and quite attractive. It is on a foundation and is anchored down beyond that. The steel frames on those things are very strong. I know that my friend and other neighbors were quite distressed about it at first as it was built in a neighborhood of 300K+ homes (that's alot here in Texas) on the bay, but they are quite pleased with it now and are admittedly a bit jealous of the alleged but untried ability of the house to withstand a hurricane.

I think they would be very good for earthquakes too. They could be one of the few structures to stand in a really big earthquake or hurricane.

There definitely are limitations, such as their 8 foot width. If I ever do this, I would probably weld two together, then have 2 more added so that they are in a U shape, with a courtyard in the middle. The living room and a bedroom could be in the wider double container area, then the kitchen and bathrooms could be in the single container area. With glass sliders and large windows facing the courtyard, the smaller spaces would feel larger.
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Old 11-10-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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Once you start cutting the sides and removing a section, your tampering with the engineering of the container. Containers can hold up as a structure to earthquakes and hurricanes but the contents and attachments will be destroyed. In hurricane, you can have a solid cement house but if the windows break, guess what happens? Same with earthquake, you rumble the container and it looks just like new, but what happened to the stuff inside?

The issue I see with container homes is they are containers and you know your living in a container. When you try to make them feel more like a traditional home, the cost goes up fast.

They are aslo horrible for heating and cooling, cost maybe twice as much energy to heat & cool them as other structures of same size.

If you have one of those mobile office rental companies that use converted containers, pay them a visit and walk through honestly figuring out how you can live in one. You may find that standing in one that is somewhat converted is actually too weird.
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