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Container Housing Research Project

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posted on Jan, 19 2009 @ 01:17 AM
reply to post by carlitomoore

Hope this works as I'm new to this website.
I to want to build a container house for similar reasons.
My two remaining issues are the following;
1. Insulating the walls
2. Sealing two containers joined together to prevent water leaking.

1. In the US they seem to use some sort of ceramic paint, not sure if this meets local council requirements.
Theirs all sorts of insulation sprays, again not sure of whether suitable
2. Dont want to build a roof so might need to seal it with bituman or put some sort of flashing to prevent water leaking.

Everything's in the detail!

If anyone can help with my two issues I'd be grateful.


posted on Jan, 19 2009 @ 02:46 AM
its very feasable if handled properly, you can already get Iso shipping containers that are professionaly converted by hire and leasing companies for use on construction projects, or as tempory class rooms in schools.
I have seen them fitted out as Kitchens, Bunk rooms, offices, shower blocks, machine shops and oil stores. If done properly they can be partially buried into the side of a hill, providing ground water drainage is done properly and waterproofing of the container is done as well. Early artic and antartic research stations, gas exploration stations, met stations etc were often housed in modular ISO containers.

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 07:41 AM
reply to post by Northern Raider

Thanks for the post Northern Raider, glad you think its feasible.
Did some calculations yesterday measuring my house etc.. and worked out for a large family home (Kitchen, Two Living Rooms, Three Bedrooms & Bathroom) I would need 4.5 40' containers MAX, so obviously round up to 5.

Again depending on the design you could swap some for 20' etc. or lose a bedroom, but doing it this way gave me somthing to visualy compare the size to, i.e. my house.

I would then add three more containers to the outside of the build i think for a garage, utility shed and spare room.... To add more air gaps around the internal rooms.

That brings it to a total of 8, and I have seen 6 on sal;e seperatly for £4000, so hopefully looking at a max of £5000.

Also looked at thermal considerations. Steel at the highrst value has a rating of 52 (the higher the number the more thermal conductivity) where brick is only 1.4. This makes the idea seem ridiculous, but if you add a lime render to the outside with a rating of 0.2, and insulate wither expancing foam with a rating of 0.7, dosn't seem so silly at all.

Coupled with a 'green roof' to keep heat escaping upwards, I think you are surely onto a winner.

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 07:54 AM
reply to post by carlitomoore

Think Green and Think Laterally, insulated the outside with haybales, you can lime render the hay still if you want. three inch 75 mm foil coated expanded foam sheets siliconed onto the roof also work very well.

Mod Note: Excessive Quoting – Please Review This Link

[edit on Fri Jan 23 2009 by Jbird]

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 08:11 AM

Don't give up on's a brilliant idea and a fab thread...ignore totally the negative comments.

This is also a pet project of mine that I would love to materialise, so I will be back later with all the info that I have. I have been looking at this on and off for a couple of years, and it would be great to exchange ideaswith you here. I have a stack of work that I must get done this afternoon, and can't allow distraction with this, but a star and a flag meantime, and I will be back later this evening.

Cait x

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 08:31 AM
reply to post by caitlinfae

Thanks for the support Cait!

I am in no position yet to start any practical work on the project but i will be gathering all the information I can for when I am ready to do so.

I currently have £15,000 saved. I want another £10,000 before I actual start making any purchases. Obviously the land is going to be the biggest but with people short of money and the building trade pretty low... I was hoping that maybe the price of land will drop....maybe im being optimistic.

After that I will first start looking at getting my containers for the lowest price possible and take it from there.

The question is how long will it take to save the extra £10,000 and get started. With a payrise coming up (albeit small) and If i put some extra hours in over the summer, I reckon 18Months Max! So actually not that long!

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 09:54 AM

Originally posted by carlitomoore
reply to post by caitlinfae

Thanks for the support Cait!

I am in no position yet to start any practical work on the project but i will be gathering all the information I can for when I am ready to do so.

Try tracking down John Locke, co moderator on the Yahoo group UK survival or Uk survivalism, based in Northamptonshire he did a great deal of research into using Iso Shipping Containers as retreats.

posted on Jan, 23 2009 @ 08:33 AM
reply to post by Northern Raider

Just got in touch with the groups Administrator/Moderator called Debbie and she said that he left the group in November and didn't say where he was going or leave any details. I have told her why I was trying to find him and hope she gets back to me.

Nice try though Northern Raider, I feel like I'm getting closer!

posted on Jan, 23 2009 @ 01:17 PM

Originally posted by carlitomoore
reply to post by Northern Raider

Just got in touch with the groups Administrator/Moderator called Debbie and she said that he left the group in November and didn't say where he was going or leave any details. I have told her why I was trying to find him and hope she gets back to me.

Nice try though Northern Raider, I feel like I'm getting closer!

Bugger, JL is one of the best damn survivalist archivists still alive, His knowledge from his days as a civil defence coordinator is a national treasure, he spent bloody months researching shipping containers. OK, Erm........ Right Yes, On the Yahoo group Miscelanious Survivalism Moderated they did a big debate on container shelters a few years ago, If you can persuade the mods to let you in you should find what you want there, and I think but my memory is no to hot but they may have debated similar points on the Australasian Survivalist website.

Best I can come up with as compensation is the following sites#

[edit on 23-1-2009 by Northern Raider]

posted on Jan, 23 2009 @ 01:49 PM
Hi again...

Sorry that I didn't get back to you last night....I lost my laptop before Christmas and all my favourites list too, which had all my shipping container stuff on it....wah! I'm having a problem finding some of the sites again, and will be taking a low tech approach to my favourites list from now writing stuff down!

Anyway...I did find a couple of inspirational and practical sites to have a look at, and I will try to find the others. One in particular that I can't find just now was concerned with shipping containers used as housing in third world countries, and in places like Mexico City I think, as an alternative to shanty towns, and although they are small, when properly fitted out and finished, they are an amazing and completely decent places to live.

The situation in the UK is bound to be much more complex as our building regs are so much tighter. I think I'm right in saying that if one buys a piece of land to build on, there is an allowance of up to 5 years for a temporary builing on that site, such as a caravan or mobile home, for the owner to live in whilst building a permanent residence. How one could make the move from temporary to permanent status for a container house, if at all possible, would depend on local planning laws, I think. I expect that the pressure on housing in your particular area might have some influence on how likely it would be that you get permission. Make friends with your nearest planning department for a start!

This subject has such a huge amount of potential, and I would really love to build my own container house. the biggest problem we would face here in the Highlands is insulation, of course, and I'm intrigued by the idea of how the hay bale solution would work. Would it be effective enough when it's 15 below with a 60 mile an hour wind? I know the containers themsleves are unlikely to move, but I don't want to freeze to death either.

Will be back later with more stuff...take a look at the Frank Lloyd Wright house on the first site...I love it!


posted on Jan, 23 2009 @ 03:33 PM
I have designed a underground home built out of two 40 footers spaced 15 to 20 feet apart with concrete support for a 6 inch concrete slab roof.

Once the iso container are set and the concrete work is done i plan to cover it with 60 mil plastic and then 3+ foot of dirt.

I am a mining engineer and know the stresses and how to build for them.

The nice thing about ISO containers is you can use them as the inside form for concrete walls and by drilling small holes for the tie wires you can secure the outer forms and just pour the walls and pull the outer form and move it to the next section to be poured.

Built right this home will survive a cat 5 hurricane, cat 5 tornado or a major 7.5 earthquake.

with 3+ feet of dirt over it it will cut the radioactive dose to less then 1/1000s the outside level.

A practical shield in a fallout shelter is ten halving-thicknesses of packed dirt, which is 90 cm (3 ft) of dirt. This reduces gamma rays by a factor of 1/1,024, which is 1/2 multiplied by itself ten times. Halving thicknesses of some materials, that reduce gamma ray intensity by 50% (1/2) include (see Kearney, ref):

* 9 cm (3.6 inches) of packed soil
* 6 cm (2.4 inches) of concrete
this would have 6 inch concrete walls with 3+foot if dirt. 1/1024 + 1/150=1/1174s out side dose

Also the soil sheld will cut the summer cooling and winter heating cost to less then 1/25 of the cost of a normal would frame house.

posted on Jan, 23 2009 @ 04:39 PM
These guys made a shelter from buried school buses.

I don't know why a shipping container wouldn't work as well.

Reinforce the top with steel beams, cover with earth/concrete.

Might make a nice short-term SHTF shelter.

posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 02:04 PM
Northern Raider, I seem to be having trouble accessing some of the links you posted, don't know if anyone else is having this trouble. I will look into the survival groups more and maybe someone can put me in touch with john. Cait, great links, infortunate you lost all of your bookmarks!!! Ive heeded your advice and started making paper notes as of today.

Thanks for ANNED and emsed1s contributions. What I want to ask of everyone interested from now on is to help with certain aspects of the 'build'.

The first thing would be the exterior of the container. I.e. the following:

Would a 'Green Roof' be beneficial to insulating the house and is there any other known ways of insulating the roof of a building.

What would be the best way/material to insulate the outside of the containers. Things like lime renders, special paints and hay bails etc.

Finally the containers will have to sit on a firm foundation, any ideas on some sneaky insulation tactics?

Any links would be welcome, and if we have enough support we could then move onto tackling other things like the internal design and utilities.

Thank you again for those following and helping out, every link and post is bringing the dream closer to reality!

posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 02:08 PM
The following is a link about thermal conductivity and how it varies between materials:

The next is the first one i found about green roofs from a company not too far from me:

I will post some more tomorrow.

posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 02:09 PM
Hi Carlito...

Just very quickly as dinner in nearly ready, here is a link to a very useful site that I have also been looking at. they make high spec log houses and mobile homes and have a lot of useful info on their site about turf roofing and insulation. It's well worth a look and they are fairly close to your part of the world, if I'm right. closer than I am, anyway!

More later...


posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 01:22 AM
reply to post by ANNED

Would love to see these plans... If you ever post them on the internet or put them in a PDF... Please U2U me.

Thanks and have a great weekend.

posted on Jan, 31 2009 @ 08:49 AM
Just an update to the thread as there hasn't been much activity lately. I've abandoned the idea of only concentrating on each part of the project and gone for a broader look at things.
After visiting lots of websites and reading up on different materials I am also considering other alternative housing projects. Not to side-track my own thread, my main idea is still a container house but the only negative I can find at the minute is the height.
By the time insulation is added to the roof and maybe floor, the ceiling would be at near enough head height and could feel to enclosed.
I am drawing up different plans on paper however because there is so many positives to this build I realy dont want to let it go.

Here are some links to have a look at.
A good website on self-sufficient energy.
A good website dealing with Lime in plasters etc.
Another green roof website, I am totally sold on this idea!
More information on building with containers.
A good but expensive insulater i found.
Alot of guys with alot of knowledge throw ideas about here.
Had this website advised to me but I have trouble navigating it. Will look into it in more detail.

Another thing I will be looking into is underfloor heating. I have always been of the belief that it is very in-efficient and expensive, but have been reading recently that the opposite is true. I will post any information I find.

I am away on holiday for a week so will not be doing any research, it would be nice to come back and have some contributions! Anything you feel suitable is welcome, whatever you post is sure to help somebody in realising their dreams.

To All, Take Care!

posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 04:00 PM
Okay folks, I believe that I've recently met this John Locke. He has installed a NUMBER of shipping containers underground. He also was asked to run training courses for military types, about how best precisely to do this installation. That was 2 years ago or so. He was working in a road civil engineering project, so using his own professional knowledge, he related well to many course participants about short-cuts & useful adaptations of civil engineering materials, etc.

As for his recent departure from various Yahoo groups AND other S related forums, is sadly entirely done to severe changes in his personal domestic circumstances. When I first noticed the fuss about him dropping out of things SO fast, I felt obliged as his "personal vetting" officer, for such military course projects, to contact him. (He also is something of a real lady killer, in the charm stakes, WHEN you get to know him socially !!!). It is never fair to pass dismissive comments about another, & in this case with PROVEN technical expertise in this field of engineering. Before being able to establish bona fide background information. I've known John Locke for 4 years personally. I've been doing this vetting work for about 12 years, since I got my commission, after getting my university degree. Yes, I AM "green slime", but I can also vouch for John Locke, ANY day of the week, without any hesitation. I shall miss him on the net, but I will always be prepared to give him my time for anything he wants to say to me !!

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