inhabitat.com featured an article about the pros and  cons of using shipping containers as a basis for creating buildings. I think that they make some good points, so I’ll outline those below.Pros:

  • CostCompared to building a similar structure with brick and mortar, on average, “cargotecture” can be 30 percent cheaper.
  • Structural Stability
    Since steel containers are designed to carry tons of merchandise across rough ocean tides, they are “virtually indestructible.” Earthquakes and hurricanes are no match for cargotecture, which make containers an excellent choice for building a home in areas prone to natural disasters.
  • Construction SpeedYou can build a home out of a shipping container much faster and easier than you could with lumber, a hammer and nails.You can also customize a layout by stacking the containers for multiple floors and splicing them together for a larger space. However, there is a lot of modification required when you use cargotecture. Depending on the design, you may need to add steel reinforcement. Heating and cooling can also be a major issue, so you definitely need to have a temperature control strategy in mind.
  • Recycling Materials
    When recycled shipping containers are used in cargotecture, it can be extremely eco-friendly. Repurposing the containers instead of scrapping and melting them can save a lot of energy and carbon emissions while preventing the use of traditional materials.
  • Safety
    Good luck breaking into a cargotecture structure. Unless thieves have some dynamite or a blow torch, they are not getting inside by going through a wall. This makes cargotecture a good choice for security.

Cons

  • The Green Myth
    The downside with cargotecture is that sometimes it’s not as green as you would believe. Some people are using brand new containers instead of recycling old ones, and this completely defeats the purpose of cargotecture. And, to make a container habitable, there is a lot of energy required because of the modifications like sandblasting and cutting openings. Plus, the amount of fossil fuels needed to move the building makes cargotecture’s ecological footprint larger than you might think.
  • Health Hazards
    Obviously, when shipping containers are made, human habitation was not a factor in their design or construction. Many shipping containers have lead-based paints on the walls and chemicals like arsenic in the floors. You must deal with these issues before moving into a cargotecture home
  • Temperature Control
    We mentioned earlier that modifications need to be made when you use cargotecture, and one of the biggest concerns is insulation and heat control. Large steel boxes are really good at absorbing and transmitting heat and cold. This ultimately means controlling the temperature inside your cargotecture home can be a challenge. You don’t want to be living inside an oven or a freezer.
  • Building Codes
    With cargotecture still being relatively new, it has caused some issues with local building codes. When you build small structures and don’t use traditional building materials, you should always check to see if they meet local regulations.

Comments

Pros and Cons of Shipping Container Housing — 3 Comments

    • You are right that moisture could be an issue with container housing. Since the walls don’t breathe, humidity can condense on them both inside and out, so measures to ventilate the structure as well as protect the exterior from moisture damage would be necessary.

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