I have been researching and weighing my options regarding what type of construction to use to build a home. A few facts that might help you understand my situation. My medical condition (permanent) causes my body to not be able to cool itself properly. Imagine walking around in the summer with a winter coat on all the time.
Researching places to build that would be environmentally friendly to me, I found South Eastern Colorado. I love snow, I love cold so it's perfect. There are also places for relatively low prices you can buy acreage. Container homes really appealed to me because I want a berm home. The county where I want to live requires a masonry wall and drainage system installed before the containers.
My questions is this: If I am going to pay a contractor to put in three walls, THEN put my containers in, why not just have them build a fourth wall? Part of my roof will be exposed because I want a greenhouse but it seems like if I opt for cinder blocks to build the wall, it would be good enough for a house.
I've always been skeptical of the value of shipping containers as a home building method. There's the industrial aesthetic, but there's plenty of other ways to achieve that like metal siding, concrete, etc...
I've seen some where the container(s) have been so altered, as to wonder why even bother starting there in the first place.
On the other hand, I've seen some temporary/pop-up shops, like a beer garden, where the bar is housed inside and the whole thing folds shut to be secure for the night, and I imagine that it is easily relocated (since that's the original intent of the container...)
The only positive thing I can see about the idea is the possibility to pre-fabricate the house in sections, at a different site, and then move the sections and assemble at the building site. Maybe a good idea if the site is remote, and materials and labor would be costly to get out there? Or the ability to do the work inside a warehouse/factory (independent of weather), or in your current backyard during nights and weekends.
I agree, that 3 walls is "almost" a house, and maybe more direct to just skip the containers.
I've seen photos of some cold storage/root cellars constructed in berms using Con-Span arches (engineered pre-cast concrete, intended mostly for culverts/viaducts) that were pretty cool looking.