Shipping Container Home










Shipping containers are the standard method of moving goods around the world. Because the USA is no longer a manufacturing nation, there are not that many goods to export. But the US buys a lot of foreign goods, ending up with a lot of empty containers. It is a waste to ship the containers back empty, but plenty of them are piling up at the ports. How about recycling these shipping containers using their strong structure as a home?.

Affordable storm resistant homes that can be built in a hurry will better suite places hit by harsh environmental conditions, such as hurricanes and earthquakes.

A shipping container initially is designed and built to move general cargo around the world, but at Tampa Armature Works (TWA) (made up of a team of engineers and shipping experts) shipping containers are converted into ISBU’s. An ISBU which stands for: “Inter-modal Steel Building Unit” is a shipping container that has been changed and modified to become a housing system. To combat the heat, the ISBU unit is coated with “Super therm ceramic insulate paint” that helps reduce the suns rays. This paint is sprayed on like any other coating product and it prevents the metal containers from conducting heat. 


C O N S T R U C T I O N  O F  A N   I S B U

  • TAW starts by shipping the container to their Tampa factory for modifications.

    SHIPPING CONTAINER TWA for modyfication
    shipping container at TWA being modified into an ISBU
  • Once there, blueprints of the shipping container home to be constructed are reviewed and each unit is custom-fit for construction.
  • In a home where 4 containers are to sit side by side, all but the outermost  side panels are removed, so that, once connected, the ISBUs create an open 40’x 32′ interior space.
  • Openings are cut into the outer walls for doors and windows.
  • TAW uses Supertherm insulative coating(it adheres to the steel surface of the shipping container), which is sprayed on both sides of the remaining container walls to prepare the house for heating and cooling loads.




A T T A C H I N G   T H E   H O M E   T O   I T S   F O U N D A T I O N


  • A shipping container house sits on a traditional concrete foundation.
  • Thick steel plates are embedded into the concrete at the corners to secure the incoming ISUBs.
  • Additional footings are poured and individual concrete blocks are placed inside the foundation to support the sides of the adjoining ISBUs.
  • When the ISBUs arrive on site, they are crane-lifted one by one into the foundation, hooked into place, and welded down to marry them completely to the foundation.
  • These heavy gauge-steel shipping containers are so strong(each is designed to carry 57,000 pounds)that they need only be fastened at the corners to hold fast, much as they would be on a ship.
  • Attaching them to embedded steel reinforcements and welding them in place ensures they will be immovable.
  • Once secure, adjacent units are welded to each other above and below.
  • The result is a single, immensely strong structure that goes up in no time at all.


B U I L D I N G   S T R O N G, S M A R T,  A N D  F A S T 


Savings and reliability are hallmarks of ISBU building. Home building crews save time,money, and wood by using a product that is manufactured, pre-fitted for installation, and structurally sound. The speed and ease with which the shipping containers are ordered, prefabricated, and installed streamlines the entire construction process.

It is most likely the outstanding fire and safety ratings that will impress insurance companies and code officials. In hurricane-prone areas container houses offer tremendous sustainability and strength.



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1 Comment

  1. Bernard Clyde

    March 28, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I agree that it’s a good idea to recycle these shipping containers and make them useful as a home or addition where needed. It’s truly amazing how we’ve developed a way to make these shipping containers so versatile. I think it’s important to consider how these could be a cost effective solution to some space needs you may have in your home or at work.

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