Container Homes – The Illegal Saviors of Economies And the Environment

The ports of many import-driven countries including the USA are filled with used shipping containers that are never shipped back to their original destinations.  Therefore considering the well-being of the environment, getting new ways of use for them is crucial. Building affordable homes for many families is the best option, but how to influence the local decision makers to offer building permits.

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The valuable resources of used shipping containers will remain as an unused asset if the decision makers do not allow the installation of shipping container houses. The roots of the problem are not on the operational level, in other words,  in the daily application and inspection processes. In many countries there are protocols on how large, what colour or which material the houses in a specific suburb should be made of. The problem is that the standards do not say much about special building materials, let alone shipping containers.

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The inspectors can only follow the protocol, that’s a fact. Therefore people should work on influencing the upper level authorities, unions and city councils.

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Social media offers great tools for that. It is important that people keep on writing blogs about the benefits of shipping container architecture. It is also equally important to share other people’s work on social media. The optimum use of Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, WordPress  etc. enables the maximum reach of one’s work. Maximum reach implies that the content will eventually reach the decision makers or the people who influence them. Moreover, as we already analyzed in our former article, this industry develops really slowly, so all the counter measures should be designed for a long run.

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Besides quality, quantity also counts. The decision makers also suffer from bounded rationality. Instead of only few experts, by social media they can be influences of thousands of experts, those who want to build affordable homes and to help to save the environment and the economy. Even though it sounds like a long shot but it’s still an implementable way.

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Shanghai Metal Corporation also contributes to this good cause by creating content related to container architecture and sharing others’ work. SMC is a pioneer in providing shipping containers and container buildings for many countries. You can also join our social media communities.

    

Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Pictures and more reading in: Containerist, Biz Journals, Wikipedia, Baidu Image, Baco Enterprises

Container Houses – Hobbits in the Mordor of Architecture

Why do people want to build their homes out of shipping containers? Because of the benefits one can gain from containers and the promises related to successful shipping container architecture. Container houses indeed have many benefits that are superior compared to more conventional construction material. Still, there are numerous examples of how container house projects fail. Failure and challenges make some people question containers’ position as a reliable building material. Here we want to discuss some of that criticism.

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Modularity, eco-friendliness and excellent availability are indeed some of the many benefits of shipping containers. The ports of many import driven countries including the US have hundreds of thousands of containers that are never shipped back to their original destination. Therefore it is logical and environmentally friendly to find ways to reuse these building blocks. However like any building material, containers also need to be processed.

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Shipping containers should not be used in the condition that they are when first found in the docks. They have taken hits and transported goods with unknown origin. They might have shipped contaminants and they floors might be in bad condition. Refurbishing  the containers thoroughly is as important as with any construction material.

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Because of the numerous operations including flooring, plumbing, drywall etc., container house projects might become as expensive as ordinary building projects. Thereby it is an recommended option to buy prefabricated container homes from a reliable provider. For instance Shanghai Metal Corporation manufactures and ships numerous prefabricated homes each year to many countries.

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Sometimes container homes get excessive critics. Some people say container homes are not suitable for areas that are either really cold or really hot. This is not true. There is even a huge inhabitable container house complex  in Antarctica!  In hot conditions the container houses can be built to direct the flow of air inside creating a natural ventilation and thus saving costs. Such examples include the container ship terminal in Seville and this container house created by Chinese university students.

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Some people say container houses are not bullet proof. It’s true that the light steel walls won’t stop a .38 Magnum but it will stop dynamite. That’s something, say, a wood house can’t do. Moreover container houses are hurricane and earthquake resistant. Isn’t that more important?

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The thing is that the shipping container architecture industry is really young and under development. In his book, Why A Students Work for C Students And Why C Students Work for the Government, a successful entrepreneur and author Robert Kiyosaki mentions that the construction industry is the slowest industry in adapting new concepts. He says that the time gap between when a new idea is proposed and its adoption is 60 years in the construction industry.

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People have built wood houses for ages, and learned from their mistakes. That’s why wood houses don’t have that much criticism anymore. The container house patent was filed in 1987. Therefore the expected time for flawless container architecture should be around the year 2047. Container housing needs just more time to develop – from hobbits to heroes. Luckily, the signs refer to faster development than 60 years.

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As in any construction industry it is important to do the right things. It is also important to do the things right. That’s what Shanghai Metal Corporation does by specializing in building container houses according to customers’ specification. A sketch of your dream house drawn with Google’s Sketch Up is what we need hear to realize your dreams. You may contact us first by this form. See our service description through this link. Check also our social media sites for future updates.

    

Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Pictures and more reading: Wikipedia, Survivopedia, Homedit, Apartment Therapy, Container Alliance, Arch Daily, Jets on Green, Tin Can Cabin, Baidu Image