Luxury shipping container homes are an attractive option for many Australians nowadays, especially for those who are planning to move out of the city and establish their families in the country areas. If you are one of the many people who prefer using shipping containers to build your next home, you would find this write up extremely useful. Here, we will answer all the burning questions that you might have about shipping container homes. Browse through our FAQs to get the right information you need and to avoid serious problems later in construction.

Q: What are shipping container homes?

These are homes constructed using steel cargo containers. Cargo containers are dubbed as the "Legos" of the industry mainly because designers stack the boxes on top of each other to create amazing home designs. These homes are affordable to build, energy-efficient, durable, and eco-friendly.

Q: How many shipping containers do I need for my project?

This depends on the size of the home you're planning to build and the number of rooms you want to have.

You should know that there are various sizes of cargo containers.

Standard sizes are 8ft (2.43m) wide, 8.5ft (2.59m) high and come in two lengths; 20ft (6.06m) or 40ft (12.2m).

Extra tall shipping containers called high-cube containers are available at 9.5ft (2.89m) high.

Take note of these dimensions when calculating the number of actual square feet of living space you need.

Q: Are container homes safe to live in?

Cargo containers are usually treated with chemicals and hazardous paint. If you are planning to use a secondhand cargo container, you need to strip the old paint, remove the original concrete floor sealing, and replace it with a new one.

If you are buying new shipping container homes directly from the manufacturer, you need to inform them to not coat and treat the floors with hazardous materials. This way, you can just lay the tiles or floorboards directly on top of the original flooring. You can be assured that this is safe.

In addition, you need to make sure that your shipping container home is structurally sound to avoid serious damages that are costly to fix. Cutting a hole into a cargo container for a door or window affects the material's overall structural integrity. You will need the inputs from a structural engineer before you can stack these on top of each other.

Q: Can I make my shipping container home weatherproof and disaster-proof?

Yes. Cargo containers are constructed from steel and have reinforced frames that can withstand inclement weather, ice storms, hurricanes, strong winds, and even floods. These are highly fire-resistant as well. When built right, the home can survive earthquakes as well.

Q: Is it legal to build a shipping container home in Australia?

Yes! It is perfectly legal to use shipping containers to build a house in Australia. You just need approval from your local council.

Q: Are container homes eco-friendly?

Your shipping container home is truly environmentally friendly when you choose to upcycle used or 'retired' shipping containers. Consider using more green and sustainable building materials and products to construct your home.

Q: How long is the life of a shipping container home?

When built right and maintained properly, shipping containers last for a really long time. The minimum is 25 years without any issues.

Q: How can I make my shipping container home energy-efficient?

Shipping container homes can heat and get cold quickly. You are going to need proper insulation to ensure comfort inside the house. Previously, our friends from Superdraft have discussed a few ways to naturally heat and cool your shipping container home.

Q: Who are the professionals I need to work with when building a shipping container home?

Similar to building a standard home, you are going to need a designer who specialises in building this type of home, a few consultants (e.g. land surveyors, structural engineers, thermal performance assessors, building certifiers, etc.), and a trusted builder to take on your project.

Q: Can I build a shipping container home near the city?

Of course! There is also the growing popularity of container homes in metropolitan areas too! You can go for prefabricated container home designs or customize your own shipping container home design with the help of an architect or a building designer. Either way, having a building designer onboard your project will increase building efficiency.