Why shipping container homes?

Why are we interested in Shipping Container Homes?

Jason Rioux has always been intrigued by the fabulous creations and multiple uses of shipping containers for living space around the world. Many years ago, we purchased a retired shipping container and gave it new life storing our toys. Why? It was very cost effective, a quick solution given all you needed was to arrange delivery and we realized we couldn’t build a new garage that would parallel in keeping pesky rodents out.

Building, or dreaming of building, with containers is becoming a global trend with a lot of buzz.  Google searching shipping container projects will reveal some amazing projects around the world.  Dreamers and designers love playing with these giant lego blocks, imagining many creative ways to stack and assemble structures for all sorts of purposes. Uses range from residential, to institutional, to commercial, to industrial, to non-occupancy structures.

sea container cabin3 things propelled Workbench Corp. to pursue container development projects:

  1. Developing small urban spaces while being “green” and cost efficient
  2. Using non-standard building methodology of shipping containers as the primary building blocks
  3. High security and off-grid construction features

1. Developing small urban spaces in a “green” yet cost efficient manner.

We recently stumbled across a sliver of vacant land in downtown Toronto sandwiched between two existing buildings on a high traffic main road. Immediately the questions started flying. How can we optimize that skinny piece of land by developing a low cost commercial and residential building? Could we build something attractive and trendy yet energy efficient? Would anyone be interested in urban shipping container home living? Parcels of land come in all sizes, and shipping container building structures can be designed and constructed to footprints as small as 8′ x 20′.

The expectation of building with sea containers is that somehow you can build at a lower cost than standard construction materials and methods.  The objective on this project is to build the complete project for $100/sqft, as compared to standard construction budgets of twice this amount.  To achieve this, we are maximizing the benefits of working with containers, with the philosophies further outlined in the Concept and Design section.

2. Using non-standard building methodology of shipping containers as the primary building blocks

Projects have been developed around the world with containers, but very very few have been done in Ontario.  The ideas and construction methods used around the world have mostly been in warm climates.  Developing a project made of steel containers in a cold climate is much much different.  Ontario has extreme hot and cold spells, presenting many different challenges to be overcome.  Ontario has many containers structures in place as temporary structures, like construction offices, back woods containers modified into hunt camps, and various structures built without permits.  This project intends to break through the process of meeting Ontario Building Code, obtaining Building Permits, and building a permanent structure that will last the test of time.

Workbench is set on proving the design, construction techniques, and cost advantages of shipping container homes.  After proving out concepts and construction techniques, we intend to develop more projects in Ontario, and provide advice those who wish to develop their own.

3. High security and off-grid construction features

The property being developed is quite remote and has attracted some theft over the years.  Sea containers are not invincible, but they are a certainly a deterrent given the extra work required to cut several locks, lock boxes, and steel panels.  The seal and security of keeping out mice and insects is a common issue with cottage properties, and sea containers provide an amazingly tight envelope to work with.

Living and working with this off grid property over the last many years has enabled us to experience and improve many aspects of off grid living. In this container project we intend to build upon this experience with additional off grid creativity and simplicity. These off-grid features are useful for both off-grid and on-grid applications, as they provide a level of energy and water supply redundancy and self sufficiency in either situation.  As energy costs rise, the business case will continue to improve for the off-grid lifestyle.  It is a personal lifestyle and philosophy choice that isn’t for everyone, but for those up to the challenge, it is very gratifying to be less reliant on the “system” in day to day life.

Benefits of Shipping Containers

There must be millions of retired shipping containers just waiting to be reinvented. Why not create living space from sea container cabins, cottages, homes to garages? Your imagination will only bring countless uses of this product. They are available immediately, little preparation is required for their final resting place, they’re cost effective, green, fit in small places, secure and if necessary you can move it!

contact:

Jason(@)seacontainercabin.com

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