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Shipping Container Homes: The Building Process

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Building a house, even a small one, is no easy task. There are tons of materials, expenses, and tasks involved in the process. Unless you have experience or are a builder, it’s pretty daunting. What shipping containers allow you to do, though, is simplify the entire building process.

If you’re looking for shipping containers for sale in Perth to build your next home, here’s what you need to know.

1.Permitting, Bidding and Pre-Ordering

Once you’ve completed the construction documents for your container house, submit them to a building authority as well as to a factory for pricing and engineering of the modules.

You’ll also need to get permits from a building authority, so you should submit your construction papers to sub-contractors too. Once all that is in place, it’s time to find those shipping containers.

2. Building

  • Site Work

Start the grading work such as excavation for foundations, storm water management, and septic requirements. This is the time to bring all the necessary utilities to the site, install the scptic system and any other storm water management necessary.

  • Foundation

Shipping containers typically require a slab on grade application. Foundations are usually laid for walls. The container’s precast panels can then be lowered into the foundation with a crane and tied together. These panels usually include insulation as well as water proofing membranes. Water, electrical, and gas utilities are then run to the base of the foundation and to their respective areas of the home. The foundation walls will be back-filled and gravel added before the slab is finally poured.

3. Container Modifications

Shipping containers tend to have monocoque bodies. The corrugation panels used for roof, sides, and back along with the rails, frames, and doors all form the structural skin of the house. These elements are strong and can carry heavy floor loads. However, once a container is cut and modified, the structural integrity is compromised. So if you plane on removing parts of the panelised corrugation, steel framing should be incorporated to support the container. Column and roof support is also necessary, depending on the size of your home’s roof.

A big part of shipping container home design is steel cutting, welding, and framing. Steel construction won’t be used much in a single family or small home as it is costly. To lessen costs, a lot of the welding and reinforcing can be done off-site.

shipping container construction

4. Setting and Securing Containers to the Foundation

Once the containers arrive on site, a crane lifts them one at a time onto the foundation. They are then hooked into place and welded down. The units are usually so strong they only need to be fastened at the corners to remain in place.

5. Installing Sky Lights, Windows, Flashing and Exterior Doors

The next step involves setting windows into the openings that were measured and cut off-site. All the door and window openings will be framed with a steel section.

6. Installing Insulation, Electrical, Plumbing, Framing, Heating and Cooling Systems and Other Fixtures

While looking for shipping containers for sale in Perth, you’ll be able to specify which elements can be pre-designed and pre-cut off-site. Once the containers are set to the foundation, insulation can then be applied. Plywood floors are then installed and metal hat channels for wiring will be run along the walls. Vertical support beams will also be secured. Once fully insulated, the containers’ walls will face dry walling to finish off. All fixtures are then installed and grading is finished before landscaping is finally done.

7. Inspection and Sign-Off Of Your Shipping Container Home

Throughout the construction, various inspections will take place by the building official and contractor. Everything from the foundation to the architectural elements and plumbing and electrical will be inspected.

At the end of the project, a final check will be done by the contractor and finally the last inspection will be done by a building official who will sign off your certificate of occupancy for your new shipping container home.