Advantages of a container house?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of building a fitted container? The container habitat is considered unusual, alternative. Transforming a shipping container to live in, what an idea! This habitat in a modular kit with a fitted structure has many advantages: resistant, economical, ecological because it is recycled… The container house is built from new or used shipping containers, delivered to the site. In this FAQ, we answer the questions you have about this famous steel module for residential use: container architecture, price of the fitted container, purchase conditions, construction by a manufacturer, etc.
What is a habitable container?
The first thing to know is that a habitable container home is quite simply a classic maritime container, having been consolidated and fitted out, in particular in the factory. A container module can be easily welded to other shipping containers to obtain a larger living area. The containers can also be stacked on several levels!
The shipping container is a structure made up of 99% very thick corten steel. It is used for the transport of goods by sea internationally. Each is decked out for this with a transport certificate. Shipping containers have standardized dimensions, in order to facilitate their stuffing and storage in France or abroad. 2.44 meters wide, these can be 6 or 12 meters long and have a ceiling height of 2.59 meters.
Smaller modules exist, but these are rarely used in construction. On the other hand, you will have the choice between classic containers or containers with a removable side face or removable roof. These modules with a slightly different structure can be fitted out, in particular on a terrace or balcony.
Why use a converted container for its construction?
The use of the maritime container equipped for construction or renovation (extension) purposes has imposed itself because of its characteristics. Resistant to bad weather, the structure of the container can still be very easily cut in the factory to integrate doors and windows in particular. The work is much simpler than with traditional building materials and the need for labor is reduced.
Building in containers therefore allows you to reduce your costs. With similar surface area and services, a container house will generally cost you between 20 and 60% less than a conventional construction, depending on who you call on: yourself (self-construction), builder, architect, etc.
The other advantage is its ecological character. Instead of building with materials requiring high energy consumption (extraction, material processing, routing, etc.), you reuse an existing material and therefore reduce the carbon footprint of your entire construction. Since the frame of your home will have cost you less, why not also take the opportunity to install equipment using renewable energies and also reduce your energy consumption in use?
How to use a converted container?
The fitted container has many uses! Because of its resistance, it can be used to build a real container house with an area greater than 100 m². It can also be a lateral or raised extension and contrast with more classic architecture. The circulation plan of the building will be studied identically with that of a traditional house.
But did you know that there is also the possibility of a container fitted out as a studio? The largest living containers have an area of around 20 to 25 m², ideal for creating a perfectly optimized cozy interior, with all the amenities. It will then be a question of placing the container where you want it on your land. It will be a nice cozy nest for a young adult but can also be used for seasonal rental, for example. Anyway, construction costs will be halved: only one module is needed here.
A container converted into a restaurant is also arousing a lot of interest at the moment. Original, this module allows you to start a catering activity by differentiating yourself from the competition and at a lower cost. Scalable, the maritime container converted into a restaurant can also be welded to additional modules in the event of growth in activity or even according to the seasons (outdoor terrace in summer, etc.). All fantasies are allowed! It should be noted that a restaurant container can be bought raw (around €7,000 once the structure has been worked on and without equipment) or fully furnished and equipped depending on your core business. The price of a fitted 40’ container varies here between €20,000 and €30,000 on average.
Who to contact to find a habitable container?
On the market, there are many builders and manufacturers of turnkey container houses. The advantage is that the services offered range from the raw delivery of the container architecture to the layout of the modules according to your wishes.
If you want to further reduce your costs and opt for self-construction, you can find out about buying a habitable container directly at the port, from a reseller. Here again, the structure can be worked according to your needs: reinforced sealing, insulation, creation of openings or even installation of cladding. It is then up to you to carry out the heavy task of assembling the modules or even their layout.
To find one or more habitable containers, go to the sites of the various resellers, who frequently offer a list of sales announcements including details of the container’s life cycle. Remember to choose it DRY, it is the only type of container indicated for construction, since it has not been used to transport any toxic or liquid foodstuffs.
Can a habitable container be positioned anywhere?
Can I put a container on my land? The answer is yes. In construction as in renovation, using a container architecture is legally possible. In practice, the fitted container is more and more used by individuals but also by communities, in the context of the construction of office or residential buildings. This recycled and economical material displays a resistance that has nothing to envy to traditional concrete blocks.
However, you will have to go through the town planning rules applicable to your plot and grouped in the PLU of your municipality. A living container left raw (without wood cladding for example), may not correspond to the aesthetic requirements of the facade, specific to your district for example. Rules of height or distance to the road must be followed to the letter so that your real estate project is up to standard.
How to make a container habitable?
How to make a container habitable? The first step is to ensure its tightness and reinforce it. Generally, maritime containers for residential use are perfectly waterproof, but it is better to make sure.
The second step is to cut the container to integrate openings. The containers are then welded together to design the architecture of the house. The interior partitions (old sides of the containers) are then cut out, others are mounted according to the building plans.
The next step is to insulate the container modules, internally, externally or in mixed insulation. One of the only faults of the container is that it is poor insulator. This step must therefore be carried out with rigor.
This is followed by the stages of laying the various coverings and fittings. Wood or imitation stone cladding can be added to the container architecture to make it blend in better with the environment.
The work stops there! It is then necessary to deposit the maritime containers arranged on the ground and to assemble the structure.
What is the price of a habitable or furnished container?
The price of a habitable container depends on its dimensions, its general condition (new or used?) but also on your place of residence. Do not forget to take into account the cost of transporting containers to your site!
In themselves, second-hand shipping containers are quite affordable (usually $2,500 on average) and are mostly stored empty at the port, which implies that their acquisition is facilitated. As for new containers, also used in construction, it will cost you between $2,500 and $5,000 per 20’ container (approximately). The cost of transforming the container in the factory as well as its fitting out depends on the manufacturers’ prices. However, it takes an average of $1,200/m² for a container house fitted out by a professional.