Container Homes

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TeeDee

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Nov 6, 2008
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Anyone here interested in the use and construction/design of Shipping Container homes?

I'm interested in the general design and use of these with a view to providing some short term respite for homeless people.
I'd hate to see these create Ghetto type favelas but as something that can be constructed on a ubiquitous , relatively inexpensive unit that can be constructed in a factory environment then shipped to where ever it is needed I'm wondering if they could be the answer to some housing issues?

I believe due to their construction that they can be stacked 12 units high without additional bracing or support.

One problem I see is how best to insulate the units as in effect they are metal boxes suffering with condensation issues. Maybe some buildy types could best comment as to if exterior insulation would work as well as internal.

Just looking to generally discuss the merits , pros & cons of such as design with like minded people and form some idea of cost.


A 20ft High Cube Shipping container would cost circa £3k.

 
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Woody girl

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There have been some very cosy homes made from these.
I remember seeing on tv a few years ago when I had a tv about a block of flats somewhere made of them.
I believe they used a foam insulation that was blown on with some sort of sprayer. Then boarded out.
They are very narrow though so it's a corridor home which I guess wouldn't be a great issue for a homeless person but if I was to use one to make a permanent home I think they should need to be at least two wide.
I think someone made classrooms out of a couple too.
The one problem that I can see is that the integrity of construction is compromised as soon as you start cutting windows and doors out. So a bit of steel bracing is needed which puts the cost up.
Still cost effective I'd think though.
It's not impossible though, and once completes make a home no worse than a caravan or mobile home and probably better Insulated too.!
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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Student housing was made from them at one of the English Universities.
They looked good, they were well set up and serviced, yet the students loathed them and couldn't wait to be moved out and into other accomodation.

To be honest, especially in our climate, I don't like them. Anyone trying to use one for even simple storage is aware of the condensation issues. That's not healthy.
I think even the cheapest wooden frame housing would be better.

This is one of the articles about similar sized 'rooms' for students.

I think the 'shed conversion' movement might be a better option for short term homeless housing.

 

Dogoak

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Ive got one, presently at my ex's, that was manufactured with insulation and vents. The insulation is between the outer corten steel and the inner stainless steel, the 2 vents are at the end, one above the other and combined with the raised slatted floor the air circulates so no damp issues.
If I could find a suitable place I'd like to do some sort of conversion, probably warmer than the static I'm in now!
 
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TeeDee

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Ive got one, presently at my ex's, that was manufactured with insulation and vents. The insulation is between the outer corten steel and the inner stainless steel, the 2 vents are at the end, one above the other and combined with the raised slatted floor the air circulates so no damp issues.
If I could find a suitable place I'd like to do some sort of conversion, probably warmer than the static I'm in now!
I'd be very interested in following your development of that. Is it a 20ft or 40ft ? standard height or High Cube type.


What were your original plans for it?
 

TeeDee

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Student housing was made from them at one of the English Universities.
They looked good, they were well set up and serviced, yet the students loathed them and couldn't wait to be moved out and into other accomodation.

To be honest, especially in our climate, I don't like them. Anyone trying to use one for even simple storage is aware of the condensation issues. That's not healthy.
I think even the cheapest wooden frame housing would be better.

This is one of the articles about similar sized 'rooms' for students.

I think the 'shed conversion' movement might be a better option for short term homeless housing.




I can understand why students paying £600 a month maybe less than happy - but it wasn't primarily that demographic I was mostly concerned with , I'd imagine Homeless would appreciate any sort of midway structure to get them back into a level of stability. Although I do appreciate that even amongst the homeless there are some that 'chose' to remain homeless.

I wonder how the second link - Shed living would keep up to code with Building reg requirements etc?? I wonder if we have some builder types on the Forum that maybe able to answer if one could make such a thing meet current requirements for allowing people to legally reside in.
 

Dogoak

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Jan 24, 2009
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20' standard.
I originally purchased it to store the contents of the cottage while I was renovating it. Sad to say after finishing the renovation I've been totally shafted, I'm now potless and she's even turned my son against me!
My rough idea would be to build a wood extension to one side, doubling the space, and clad the container to match. Ideally I'd like to have a living green roof.
 
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TeeDee

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20' standard.
I originally purchased it to store the contents of the cottage while I was renovating it. Sad to say after finishing the renovation I've been totally shafted, I'm now potless and she's even turned my son against me!
Really Sorry to hear that dude. .
 

santaman2000

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I mostly agree with the OP that they’ll likely turn into a semi permanent, if not permanent, slum. Tat said, the insulation issue should be as simple as an appropriate spray on insulating material. There are several on the market.
 

TeeDee

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I mostly agree with the OP that they’ll likely turn into a semi permanent, if not permanent, slum. Tat said, the insulation issue should be as simple as an appropriate spray on insulating material. There are several on the market.
Don't think we can get to one without at least risking the other. I've been following some Youtube of the Homeless situation stateside - Namely L.A. Be it tents or Steel containers both situations require intervention and aide.
 

Paul_B

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There's prefabricated houses made in a factory then shipped to site and installed in a day. I've even heard of then with services built in so you're practically factory built house that when put together is practically habitable.

I know the most famous name in this sector is probably Huft, as in huft houses but there will VW others. That name is mostly higher ends but they must be able to make them cheaper but more basic. Bear in mind they were making prefabs straight after WWII I believe but they weren't that well made across the board. I reckon now the technology is in place to make prefabricated houses right.
 
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TeeDee

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There's prefabricated houses made in a factory then shipped to site and installed in a day. I've even heard of then with services built in so you're practically factory built house that when put together is practically habitable.

I know the most famous name in this sector is probably Huft, as in huft houses but there will VW others. That name is mostly higher ends but they must be able to make them cheaper but more basic. Bear in mind they were making prefabs straight after WWII I believe but they weren't that well made across the board. I reckon now the technology is in place to make prefabricated houses right.
Indeed, cost would be the PRIME consideration to be factored in this. Because who is going to fund it and why?

Prefab built in factories is the way to go I think but costs can vary massively.

These units from MADI run i think in the region of circa £35-40k


I think realistically , if a design can be made to provide the basic requirements of shelter - kitchen , shower, bed, then the cost should be able to kept to the bare minimum.
 

Paul_B

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We used to receive and ship using 20ft and 40ft HC containers. Uninsulated one's but I believe there's insulated freezer and chiller units available. However from experience containers tend to be very damp spaces when they arrived. Sea water from the sea leg of the journey is an issue occasionally too.
 

Woody girl

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For the first four years of my life I lived in a post war prefab. They kept the rain off!
I suffered chilblains and froze at night if I wasn't completely under the covers head and all. I can remember freezing cold ears and nose if I didn't!
Tin sheds!
Insulation is most important if you go down this route.
I must admit to thinking at first it is a brilliant idea..... but when I think back to my childhood.... not so keen.!
 
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TeeDee

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For the first four years of my life I lived in a post war prefab. They kept the rain off!
I suffered chilblains and froze at night if I wasn't completely under the covers head and all. I can remember freezing cold ears and nose if I didn't!
Tin sheds!
Insulation is most important if you go down this route.
I must admit to thinking at first it is a brilliant idea..... but when I think back to my childhood.... not so keen.!
One of these? :-

prefab.jpg
 

demographic

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Apr 15, 2005
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Its not just insulating them its also making sure theres a vapour barrier to stop moist air from cooling in the insjlation and then the moisture condenses out, causing the insulation to get wet and mouldy.
Its possible, site offices and canteens are often shipping containers and they last well enough.

For my money though, I think I'd be doing SIPS panel construction.
Easy to seal up to just about passive house standards, earthquake resistant, fast to build and cheapish.

Look on Youtube for Extreme Panel Technology and there's a bloke from Minnesota showing how to build with them.

Great stuff although I'd likely do something different to make a service void then the way they did it.
 
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TeeDee

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Gosh yes! Down to the fences and gates!
My bedroom was on the left of door. Sitting room to right.
I think even the curtains are identical!
That could be me and my family in the picture! Weird time bomb!
I remember ( I'm sure like many here ) of sleeping in a bedroom with sheet Ice forming on the inside of the pane. I also thought Everyone must sleep in the Foetal position and remember on school mornings pulling my clothes in off the floor , " warming " them up under the bed covers then get changed into them whilst under the blankets.
 
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Woody girl

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Those were the days. We was brought up tuff! Not like these centrally heated wimps of today! ;)
Remember the top of the milk ice lollys too?
Two hot water bottles to heat the bed.. taken away as soon as you got in so the parents could warm their bed.
Oh such wonderful times....... I realy don't want to go back to that!
I still have trouble in centraly heated houses. Recently been in hospital (I'm ok now) and it was hell! Couldn't breath and glowed and dripped like a pig!!! :)

But i digress! Sorry. The memories came flooding back.
 
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