wayne stephen wrote:Hello Jason , I can not speak much about alternative building practices but welcome to permies . Keep posting .
Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Hi Jason,
Welcome to Permies!
Whatever comes of this, I hope you keep posting, because I know many folks are thinking about SCA (shipping container architecture.) I am a traditional builder, so what I can offer will be about project planing, and general guidance, while helping you ask good questions to think about. We use shipping containers for our historical frame transports, especially from Japan, so I understand them structurally. Now we can get into you primary burning question...100K budget.
I have to say it sounds achievable, however, I do have more questions first:
Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Does this price include the land?
no, but here in NW ohio land isn't all that expensive. a few friends of mine have gotten corner lots of farmer fields for good prices. i wouldn't be placing this near other houses, it would be sitting off by itself somewhere in the middle of nowhere that had access to lots of sun (for future solar projects) and open wind (for wind projects)
Do you have a source for shipping containers?
yes, the company i work for imports around 50-100 of them per year filled with various products from china. when it gets close to project start time i would simply let my logistics manager know to order the next 5 40 foot high cubes as "one trippers" (brand new containers) that would stay here after they are emptied. this increases the cost of the companies shipping, which i would then offset, this gets me the containers at a song (one trip "new" containers for around 2k). i'm also fortunate to be sandwiched between 3 major customs clearance ports and an inter-modal right down the road, so if the work connection dries up i have contacts there (hope this helps people sourcing containers)
Do you really like the look?
i do, very much so, but what i'm seeing in my minds eye would have no signs of shipping container on the inside yet still hold that container look on the outside
I have seen some beautifully designed shipping container homes that not only did I really like but they had great esthetic value as well. The problem is, most do not, especially when it comes to resale.
Do you intend on having any kind of resale value?
i think once i finish parts of "phase 3" i'll either grow old and die in that home or i'll rent it to someone i know/trust if i had to relocate. once it's built, it's mine forever. that being said... what i'm planning would be just like a traditional home on the inside with a vertical siding look on the outside. the equity would be there for a loan based on the plans i'm drawing up... it should be a very nice looking house that will outlast most houses built today. i think a proper presentation to my lender friend along with carefully chosen "proof of concept" pictures/videos and i should have no problem.
Are you doing the work or is someone else?
yes/no/and all parts in between... . i've got some skills and knowledge that i'd be putting to use, and i've got friends who do this sort of thing for a living (iron workers, fabricators, auto body repair, etc...). what i can't do myself or pester my friends into helping me with (over beers and pizza of course) i would hire out to local guys. i'd probably hire out the shell to get all 5 containers in place without relying on friends to donate time. this way i get that roof over my head as soon as possible. the rest can be farmed out over time as i can afford it, as i can beg it, or as i can do it myself.
Do you have a PE or the engineering skills to work out dynamic loads on the structure after you remove its internal "structural walls?"
no, but i plan to place as much of the load as possible onto the 4 corners of each container. the beauty of shipping containers is they are designed to have all their weight carried on the posts. the roof would span from the doors to the peak and then to the back wall of the containers leaving an open dormer above the 40x40 open space. i'd be using that open dormer for the whole house heater to exhaust into. there would be no snow load weight on the side walls at all the way i hope to build this thing. there would be some weight on those interior wall spans, but only the weight of the bars themselves and what little weight goes into the drop ceiling, lighting, air ducts, and insulation. they should be able to handle that, considering the rigid frame of the container is still fully intact... only the corrugated wall's would be removed which prevent the container from a banana or canoe bend when they pick it up by the corners at the docks. this thing won't need to suport loads that way once it's welded to plates on concrete posts.
You get a weather proof box with SCA but you still have to build all the conventional mechanicals that go into any home (or at least some of them.) Have you done a "side to side" comparison with other building forms?
by mechanicals i assume you mean plumbing, electrical, lighting, duct work, etc... if so that is something i can do myself. i've done all of them and would have no problem with it... but i'm sure there are certain things i wouldn't be able to do because of the federal/state/local code pirates
Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Lets get through these Q&A and then we can go one?
Mike Leo wrote:I do know that while shipping containers look incredibly strong the way they stack them up in storage to use for building they often need substantial structural reinforcement even before you start the conversation about removing walls, which might be a painful proposition in itself just based on the amount of hours with a plasma cutter needed.
In your proposed design you would be balancing the load of the roof all the way across all the "open space" and the walls of the containers which are much weaker than the corners would be bearing much of that weight, probably requiring heavy beams to hold up the roof, even more so if you're in an area with more than token snowfalls.
If that's the design you envision you might be better off comparing the pricing of your heavily modified shipping container design with the cost of just erecting a post and beam support for your roof and putting up metal siding (perhaps cut from your surplus shipping containers). Whether you are reinforcing the shipping containers with the supports, or throwing metal siding on the existing roof and supports the engineering and design is going to be pretty much the same.
Which means by the time you get there maybe building an open concept log or cob home might achieve your goals even easier.
One last piece of advice, if you plan on building alternative make sure your proposed building site doesn't have code restrictions that will make your build more difficult, or laws that will make any difficulty finding insurance problematic. You will probably also find that financing alternative buildings can be an issue as well, because when you can't just resell the property like a conventional home banks don't feel comfortable "taking the risk."
R Scott wrote:Welcome.
They look awesome, but they do have their downsides. Buy already insulated ones if at all possible.
If I were to do it, I would build them like the attached picture. only four containers and an open courtyard in the middle, could be kitchen garden if the over-roof has enough glass.