posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 04:36 PM
You will need to be in compliance with the Standard Building Code (formerly Southern Building Code), NEC - electrical, and zoning codes, as well as
provide a leech field and/or septic as required by your area. There's really nothing wrong with building with shipping containers -- with a few
We deal with 40-yard containers down here a LOT, as 90% of our supplies and building materials arrive via barge and shipping containers. They're
often used as storage sheds. Since they have a flat roof, it's often advisable to build a slight-pitched gable roof over them; the metal roofs
rust and once it starts, it gets profound very quickly. The fiberglass roofed containers get fragged by the UV. For fiberglass, that can be coated
with rolled-on catelyzed gelcoat and that will give it a long life.
To me the worst thing about shipping containers is that they have no insulation. I help a buddy cut windows into one for him to use as a workshop,
and even with the main doors and windows (including one window in the opposite end from the doors) it is HOT inside that thang. Of course, we're
closer to the equator than you in California. Once we built a gable roof, that cooled it considerably, and we shot on white paint on the exterior
and that made a profound difference.
To be in compliance with building codes, you'll need to form and pour a reinforced foundation -- every bit as stable and sizable as for a house.
You may be able to get away with not pouring a pad, but at minimum you'll need to have concrete structural supports/beams across each container
............. I can't recall exactly, but every 10 feet comes to mind.
Most of the containers I've seen have a wooden floor. It's stout wood (1 1/2" lumber) but in most cases is not pressure-treated wood. I would
seriously consider having a pest control operator treat the underside with Permethrin, as well as soak it into the edges and the topside. I don't
know if you are plagued by Formosan Subterranean Termites there, but they're not worth screwing with.
That said, I think if you built a foundation and a stem wall, you could have a really cool hidey-space beneath the container(s). Another possible
manner of construction that I've considered before is to take two containers, set them on foundations (through bolted, of course) about 20 - 30 feet
apart and frame across them both. You could end up with a really open space in between, with your basic household functions (bathroom, kitchen) kind
of modular in the containers.
Well, good luck with this....... we can buy used containers here for about $3-5,000, so don't get suckered into overpaying. I'd suggest you find
out what each kind available to you is made of, and pay attention to the roof and floor. You'll probably need to cut an acess door, or else you'll
have to sleep with the huge doors open at night .......... of course, you could always remove them, or pin them back and make a porch.
I think you can save some serious money and have an excellent and strong structure, but you'll need to really plan it all out carefully. You can
get a copy of the NEC and SBC at your library, and it might save a bundle of time to pay an architect or planner to draw your plans if that's not one
of your skills.