Apr 12 2004
Many North Americans are learning what ocean freight insiders, and port city dwellers have long known; cargo boxes make great low cost buildings. Paul Sawyers, author of "Intermodal Shipping Containers for use as Steel Buildings", has seen people create everything from fifth wheel covers to bomb shelters using these units. "The fact that so many folks are interested in these buildings really says a lot. People are on a tight budget these days, and some can't afford pre-fabricated steel buildings. Plus, lumber is always going up in price". With real estate being the hottest thing going now, it only stands to reason that all things real estate related, such as building materials, lumber, and labour are skyrocketing in price.
Savvy do-it-yourselfers have found another alternative; used ocean cargo boxes. The general public can purchase these units from the military, or from classified ads for only a few hundred dollars, and pay a trucking company to deliver them via flat bed truck. The units are pre-built, and ten times stronger than factory made steel buildings (and usually ten times cheaper too). "It's not uncommon to see someone set up a 8' x 40' or 16' x 20' Intermodal Container building for under $1100" says Mr. Sawyers. "You also have to keep in mind that these boxes are designed to hold up in a really brutal environment...the high seas". When asked how strong these containers actually are, I was surprised to hear that one single twenty foot unit, can support ten similar units stacked on top of it. Paul claims the most difficult task in setting up a IC Steel Building may be moving your unit into place. "Sometimes, if the delivery truck is not able to reach your 'back forty', you will have to move the unit into place yourself. This sounds difficult, but using steel pipes or logs and a truck, they tow pretty good. Once in place, you have an instant weather proof steel building". Minimal amounts of extra building materials (optional; for interior framing, insulation, paneling, windows, etc) can be used to fit-out your IC building.
So who builds shipping container structures? Farmers and rural folks mostly, but one of largest emerging groups of builders are high end motorcycle enthusiasts. "Some models of new motorcycles retail for over $40k, and you want a good theft and vandal proof storage building. Even in a twenty foot unit with two bikes, you still have room for a shop area near the front doors". IC's are made from fourteen gauge corrugated steel on the sides, belly, and roof, with seven gauge tubular steel frames on each of the four corners, plus one and a half inch thick marine grade plywood over welded load bearing beams for the interior flooring.
If you are considering the idea of buying a used shipping container, keep in mind that the price you pay will vary greatly depending on the source and condition of the unit. You can find deals if you look hard enough. New and used containers are available nationwide. "Cost per unit ranges from $100 and up, depending on size, condition, and source. You can find containers with 2-3 years of travel on them, being liquidated at bargain prices to make room for new models. Check your local classified ad papers, or do a internet search for shipping containers near your city. You probably drive by a trucking company with IC's for sale everyday and don't even realize it".
Port city dwellers have a distinct advantage over people located far inland. These buildings are as unique as the people that build them, no two ever look the same, but cost savings and high strength is inherent in all IC structures. If you really need a steel building, but lack the funds for a new pre-fab affair, Intermodal Container Buildings might be right up your alley. Think outside the box, and your wallet will thank you.
Source: PR Web