According to recent figures, there are as many as 700,000 shipping containers sitting empty across the nation. Whether you buy them or get them for free, these metal boxes are far less expensive than building a house frame from scratch. And because they are already in the right shape to be repurposed into living quarters, nearly all of the structural work required when building a home is eliminated. Estimated cost savings are in the neighborhood of 20 percent or more.
As we mentioned, there is no shortage of these containers in America. Reusing these metal boxes as homes would save a tremendous amount of energy that would otherwise be wasted on moving and melting them down. It would also save energy on building materials and the construction needed to frame the home.
Designed to withstand the harsh conditions of road, rail, and ocean travel, shipping containers are incredibly strong. Not only can they safely store tens of thousands of pounds, they can also support the weight of other loaded containers when stacked during freight shipping. As a result, these steel boxes are much stronger than ordinary abodes. They can easily survive most earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters without structural damage, making them a superior building solution in areas that experience extreme weather.
While it’s certainly possible to build a home from a shipping container on your own, most folks that need a place to live hire a specialty construction firm to do it for them. Unlike the do-it-yourselfers, these future homeowners want a real, functional abode, rather than a weekend project. That means putting in plumbing, electricity, insulation, and a firm foundation. Because these boxes give builders a strong structure with which to work, professionals can get started right away on interior and exterior necessities and amenities.