You’ve probably heard a lot about shipping container homes – the new type of dwelling, promoted by the fans of green and sustainable living. Multiple advantages of such houses, made from the used shipping containers, are now widely eulogized by the environment advocates. Being durable, quick and flexible for installation, container homes have one more important benefit to offer to their potential owners, namely, the price or the total cost of construction, which is said to be much lower in comparison to the traditional house building.
Well, you cannot fight facts. So, let us make a little research and learn how much it would cost to build a container home. However, before we go and dive into the world of figures and calculations, let us make a little disclaimer: there is no such thing as an established cost of a container house. The prices for containers themselves as well as all additional expenses are influenced by many factors, including but not limited to the materials used, geographic location, and designer’s imagination. Hence, though the figures given below may give you a pretty definite estimation of the container home cost, all the data should still be treated as references only.
How to Build a Shipping Container Home
In order to build a container home, the first thing you are likely to buy is a container itself. Following the principles of green living, you need a used ISO container and not a spick-and-span one. So, the price tag of a single standard 40ft shipping container is usually within the range of $1500-3000. At the time of this article writing, at eBay Australia we could find a few offers of the used containers in good condition for about $2400 – 2800. So, that is the approximate basic cost you need to take into consideration when planning your own shipping container house. Of course, in order to build a fancy dwelling, you will likely need a couple of containers, so just multiply the cost accordingly.
Ok, you’ve purchased a shipping container, but now you will need to move it to the site of construction. Again the transporting cost may vary from one place to another, so it is recommended to simply call some local transporting company and ask for a quote. Usually, the cost of transportation is about $3-8 per 1 kilometer.
Once you have a shipping container on site, it is time to start transforming it into your home. This is another primary constituent of the total cost of the project. Here you’ll need to make a plan and get the quote from local providers of the necessary services, such as:
- Site preparation
- Removal of the floor and installing a new safe flooring
- Metal work, such cutting holes for windows and doors
- Insulation of your container home
- Electricity and plumbing
- Exterior painting
- Interior wall decoration (can be simple painting either)
- Additional roofing (if necessary)
All in all, according to many web sources the general cost of a container house may vary between $150 000 and 300 000. However, taking into account the cost of a container itself, it seems that even if you buy 4 or 6 containers 2500 USD each, the cost of the completed project should be about half of the mentioned estimated cost. Indeed, according to the words of a container home owner from Thailand, the total cost of the project was 39 000 USD (4 containers structure).
By the way, there are many variants of prefabricated shipping container homes on the market. Here the calculation of the total cost is much easier. For example, a USA-based company Alchemy Architects offers prefabricated studio container homes of 435 sq. ft. for $79 000 – 89 000 (supplied with fiberglass insulation, basic appliances, flooring, plumbing, bathroom accessories, windows and doors). Pair model of 1450 sq. ft. space from the same manufacturer will cost $185 000 – 209 000. Australian company Prebuilt offers beautiful 3 bedroom dwellings with decking and eaves for about $160 000. Smartshax offers container homes in the so-called “build yourself” flat packs for $ 79 000 (2 bedrooms, large living room, deck, plus delivery to the Sydney metro area included).
So, as you can see even if you purchase a prefabricated container home its cost is likely to be lower than the cost of a traditional dwelling. Furthermore, in case you opt for building your home yourself (or, at least, to perform some of the work, such as painting or flooring, by yourself), the cost of the total project may drop even more significantly.