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Will Shipping Container Homes Become The Future Housing Option?

Will Shipping Container Homes Become The Future Housing Option?

As lifestyles change through time, so are house options ideas. Tiny homes, granny flats, modular homes, and shipping container homes are rising because of their designs and benefits. In recent years, shipping container homes have been gaining popularity globally. These homes typically consist of a shipping container and other materials to create a livable interior space. They are appealing because workers can manufacture quickly while still providing adequate living conditions for their inhabitants in a cost-effective way. But, with an ever-growing population and limited resources, will shipping container homes become the future housing option for many people across the globe? Let’s find out.

What Is A Shipping Container Home?

From multiple shipping containers, a shipping container home has all the comforts of a traditional home. However, you might be wondering why this type of home maintains its corrugated steel walls instead of the walls in a traditional build house. This is because corrugated steel walls add up to the overall structural integrity of a shipping container house.

These homes made from shipping containers have the same standard function as a traditional house, equipped with bedrooms, laundry kitchen, bathrooms, and more. It can also be a portable type of home, depending on your needs.

Each house is uniquely built based on the site, floor space requirements, and interior design of the homeowner. Therefore, manufacturers must fabricate each container to fit the floor plan and site preparation and meet the local government building codes.

The History Of Shipping Container Homes

Containers have been used for shipping cargo since the 1950s. As time passed, many countries adopted and standardized shipping containers to help them transport goods more quickly and efficiently. The long history of shipping containers has made container homes widely available. 

It was not a long time since the creation of shipping containers when the thought of turning it into architectural design came about. Reyner Banham was the first one who considered the idea of creating houses out of containers. Around the late 1960s, Banham stated that shipping containers seemed like a plug and play housing design. However, his idea did not materialize until twenty years later. 

In 1986, they built the first-ever shipping container home in the Netherlands. In 1987, a year after, Phillip Clark innovated his shipping container house design, and he constructed this type of house in the United States.

Nowadays, the idea of using shipping containers as building materials in a house appeals to many people because of their many advantages like low cost, eco-friendly design, and short construction period. However, the first people who built shipping containers in their houses did not know the best practices to start their construction. The good thing now is that there are many articles for those interested in building a home using shipping containers.

History Of Shipping Container Homes

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Living In A Container Home

Before deciding to live in a home created from shipping containers, here are the pros and cons that you should know.


Shipping Container Home cost

The most common reason people choose container homes is their low cost. Historically, people always opt for cost-effective methods to construct houses. Shipping container homes have been popular because of their low cost.

In 2020, you would need 18 x 20ft high cube containers based on an average Australian home. This size’s estimated cost would range from $4,500 to $7,700 per high cube container. The price differs based on age and quality. From this estimate, a shipping container house would cost around $81,000 to $138,600 without other customizations like doors, electrical, and more.

A 9 x 40 ft shipping container home was the other standard Australian home size in 2020. For this size, the range per high cube container is $5,800 to $10,100, depending on quality, availability, and other factors. Excluding customizations like electrical, windows, and other home modifications, a 9 x 40 ft container home’s estimated cost is $52,200 and $90,90.

Durable and Long Lasting

Shipping container houses are made to surpass even in the worst-case scenario because of its corten steel. The typical lifespan of shipping containers is 10 to 15 years when used for roads or rails. Containers for storage or housing purposes, on the other hand, may last longer because they less frequently move or relocate. 

The fact is that container homes are not only low-maintenance, but they’re also quite durable. However, your container house will require more maintenance than a traditional home due to its lack of walls and insulation; however, this shouldn’t discourage you since most containers can endure for over 50 years with minor maintenance.

Environmentally Friendly

These homes are eco-friendly because they are made from recycled shipping containers and because it reduces the carbon footprint in quickly moving containers and building materials to the site. 

Easy and Quick Installation

There are shipping container homes built as prefabricated houses; therefore, these houses have reduced construction time. Some factories claim that they can deliver these container homes in ten weeks. In addition, the building code evaluations are usually done in the factory, making the process faster and more convenient for you. 

Since these houses are modular, it’s quick to install the materials once they reach your site. In addition, the instructions are simple to set up because of the foundation that has been prefabricated already.


A perfect house doesn’t exist. There will always be cons to account for in the decision-making. However, with thorough research, you can avoid these disadvantages. With that, here are the cons of building a shipping container home.


Chances are, buyers or homeowners have no idea where the shipping containers came from. There could be harmful materials stored in the containers for a long time. Some of the containers have been used to transport poisons, fertilizers, and other hazardous materials.

Roof Structural Problems

The corners of a shipping container are robust; however, the roof is not. As a result, you need to construct an additional roof over it, especially when there might be snow.

Not Eco-Friendly All The Time

Most factory-built container homes are constructed from one-use containers that had just made one trip from when it was brought. These containers are usually still in their best shape, with rust or damages. These containers are best used in building houses than used up containers that might have been damaged over time. However, it defeats the purpose of recycling if they didn’t use shipping containers for their primary purpose.


The metal surrounding the shipping container home makes the temperature too cold in winter and hot in summer. While spray foam is the most effective insulator, many brands use blowing materials that are greenhouse gases. Hence, it would be best to consider looking for other affordable and not harmful insulation for the environment.

Are Shipping Container Houses The Future Housing Option?

The disadvantages of a shipping container home are insufficient to consider these homes as architectural mistakes. Like a tiny home and a granny flat, a shipping container home is a possible future house idea because of its great benefits. Given the short period it takes to build a container home, these homes can be excellent temporary solutions in an emergency. A shipping container home is beneficial for situations where evacuation is needed, like bushfires, storms, etc.

Aside from the evacuation use, shipping container homes are also modern art pieces. You can create unique architectural and interior designs from shipping containers at a relatively low price.

With the conversations about the crisis and affordability in housing starts, it is certainly possible that shipping container houses will become the future housing option. This is because they are cheap to construct, can be assembled quickly, and require minimal maintenance compared with other common building materials like timber or brick. In addition, it is widely accepted by shipping companies in major cities throughout Australia that shipping containers be used as temporary office space, so people live inside.


Today shipping container homes are more popular than ever before. As the population of many countries continues to grow, shipping container homes may become a feasible solution for people looking to downsize their living space or those who want an inexpensive home without sacrificing too much comfort.

However, there is still time until shipping container homes replace traditional housing options like brick and mortar houses. This is because many shipping container homes are not built to last for long periods. Until more companies adopt this method, shipping container homes will remain a luxury rather than the standard for most people across Australia.

One thought on “Will Shipping Container Homes Become The Future Housing Option?
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    […] the term itself, shipping container homes are houses made of steel material from recycled shipping containers and shipping trucks. A shipping […]

    November 15, 2021 Reply
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