DIY Shipping Container Cabin Kits

Workbench Corp. is inspiring a growing number of shipping container cabin enthusiasts and shipping container project followers in general across Canada and around the world. Workbench offers the following products and services to help others develop their own shipping container cabins, cottages, homes or buildings.

  1. Building with Shipping Containers – DIY Shipping Container Cabin Kit. This kit outlines design and construction tips and techniques for building with shipping containers. The DIY Shipping Container Cabin Kit provides clients with the “must-have” understanding of design and construction considerations unique to working with steel shipping containers.  This is the foundation of research and development upon which to create your own creative residence from recycled steel shipping containers.  The CIP will save clients hundreds of hours in completing their own research and development.  The table of contents is described below. The kit is available for $500 + HST.  BUY NOW
  2. Octopod Construction Plans. This product includes the full set of construction plans for the Octopod. This product is intended for DIY shipping container cabin kit clients that would like to build their own Octopod. The first Octopod project is under construction in Canada and serves as a demonstration facility for proof of concept and viewing by clients and customers. Site specific design review (such as foundations) and custom design changes are available upon request under Consulting Services. Octopod Construction Plans are available for $1000 + HST.  BUY NOW
  3. Octopod Materials Kit. The Octopod Materials Kit contains all the major construction materials required to build the Octopod.  Workbench sources all the containers and construction materials, packs the containers with the construction materials, and ships the containers to your construction site, anywhere in the world.   Once the Kit arrives at your site, you are responsible for your own assembly and finishing of the Octopod.  The Kit does not include concrete foundations or spray foam insulation which must be sourced and installed locally.  Pricing of the Octopod Materials Kit is available upon request.
  4. Consulting Services.  Workbench provides consulting services on design, engineering, permitting, procurement, and construction of shipping container projects.  Whether it be expert advice, site specific Octopod design modifications, or full design and engineering of your own custom sea container home, Workbench is pleased to provide a proposal based on your specific needs. Contact us for more information.

DIY Shipping Container Cabin Kit — TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Concept and Design

a. Needs, Wants, and Philosophies

i.     Low cost

ii.     High security

iii.     Sustainable, independent, and unique

iv.     Maximize and exploit inherent benefits of container structures

v.     Turn the inherent weaknesses of containers into strengths

b. Design Strategies

i.     Insulation and Interior Strategy for container ceilings, walls, floors, inside versus outside, cold climate and condensation considerations, thermal break concept, R value of steel

ii.     Insulating Coatings, fundamental research and findings

iii.    Center Great Room, features and functions

iv.     Roofing System and Cupula Effect

v.      Off grid features

vi.     Stepwise Construction Approach

2. Concept Drawings

a. Google SketchUp concept PDF images

b. Google SketchUp electronic working files for additional views and customization

c. Final AutoCAD rendered concept drawings in PDF format, basis for Construction Drawings

3. Containers and Materials Selection

a. High cubes versus standard cubes

b. New “one-trip” containers versus used “wind and water tight” units

c. Treated plywood floors – understanding pesticide treatments, construction techniques to encapsulate, alternative measures

4. Off Grid, Sustainability and Reliability Features

a. Interior water tower

b. Solar water pumping

c. Plumbing with quick and natural draining

d. Wood fired sauna and shower area

e. Patio mist natural air conditioning

f. Optimizing power supply and demand

i.     DC versus AC

ii.     LED lighting and DC alignment

iii.     Refrigeration options, highest efficiency designs, DC options

iv.     DC HVAC options

5. Construction strategies

a.     Concrete piers and container fastening

b.     Container interface and connection

c.     Post and Beam structure and fastening

6. Bill of Materials

a. Detailed list of construction materials

b. Local suppliers versus big box stores

c. Exercising buying power for materials

7. Obtaining Building Permits

a. Building project support with Local Building Officials

b. Building code treatment and structural integrity validation

8. Taking Delivery of Containers

a. scheduling and accepting deliveries,

b. tilt and load truck capabilities and constraints,

c. alternative methods to unload and move containers on site,

d. inspections and contingency planning

9. Project Coaching available from Jason Rioux at Workbench Corp.




  1. If there’s anything you’d like to see in this kit, please add a comment and let us know.

  2. Quick question: What is the square footage of this project?

  3. Lori edlund says:

    I would be interested in any and all info you can get me. My husband is a construction welder and we are thinking of something unique to build on property possibly in B.C. or where we reside and work now in Alberta ,Edmonton to be exact. Thank you for any help you can get me

    • Hi Lori, thanks for reaching out. We will put you on the waiting list for the DIY kit once it is available. Please review the table of contents and feel free to request any additional materials that you would find useful to be included in the package. As we progress with the Octopod project, more and more Lessons Learned type advice and material will be included in the DIY kit. We also have our design and engineering team available for consulting advice when you are ready to get your own project kicked off.

      Design. Permit. Construct. Experience.


  4. This is the only time I’ve been to your site. Thank you for providing more

    • We’re happy to. If you have anything in specific you’re interested in, feel free to let us know. We have lots of content to share and thrilled you’re finding our information useful.

  5. About how much would it cost to make a 5 bedroom 2 bath house using this method?

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