Base cost to build per container:
There are two standard sizes for shipping containers: 20 x 8 x 8 ft. covering a surface of 160 sq. ft. and 40 x 8 x 8 with a surface of 320 sq. ft. A used 20-footer costs anywhere between $1,500 and $3,000, whereas a 40-footer costs $3,500 – $4,500.
You will also have to pay for professional labor (about $75-$150 per hour) and for the modifications needed to make the container livable. Expect to pay at least $15,000 for labor, more likely $25,000 per container.
There are some prefabricated shipping container houses sold for as little as $15,000. A larger and more luxurious house made of shipping containers can cost significantly more than $250,000, but it’s still only a half the price for a high-end home of a similar size.
The cost to design and build this 1,000 sq. ft. house is estimated between $125,000 – $200,000, depending on the contractor selection, location, and your project overall planning and resourcefulness. They used two 40 ft. long containers and added large windows to make the house look very spacious. Large windows will undoubtedly help get your mind off the fact that the house is made of metal containers.
Although you can’t tell from this picture, the house is located near a city of two million people, San Jose, Costa Rica. This is a great way to build the house of your dreams without burying yourself in debt.
Any young millennial couple who recently bought a house would agree that their life has become a whole lot more difficult after taking on a mortgage of say $300,000 to $500,000 or more, depending on the home’s location. So, why overpay for a conventional house, when there is a more affordable way? Needless to say, you would have to be open-minded about the whole shipping containers idea.
Located in France, this house measures 1,119 sq. ft. and is made of two metal containers positioned on top of each other. Maybe you don’t like the green color, but this is not a reason to dislike this design. Remember that you are free to paint it in whatever color you want. Besides, you have to appreciate the desire of architects to make the construction look as if it defies the laws of physics.
Inside, you will see the house looks like any other one: wooden floor, white walls, and a comfortable sofa in the living room. If you go upstairs you will find the bedroom that has a door (or a window, you can’t tell for sure from the picture) that leads to the top of the first container. You can put some grass there or add a chaise lounge to get a tan during hot summer days.
Here’s a gorgeous house with 2 stories off the ground house with a big garage. Whoever designed it did a pretty great job concealing the fact that it’s made of shipping containers.
Note how the black color combines with the white creating a modern look. The bars of the balconies are designed to allow you to see the view without standing up. For example, you sit on a comfortable chair to drink your coffee in the morning and you see everything as if you were standing because the bars are thin enough to provide a clear view.
You may not have liked every single design we presented here, but you must have understood two things:
- Shipping container houses are significantly cheaper to build than regular homes. They are very resource efficient and can be made to look like regular houses.
- You will need a building permit to build or install a container house, and you’ll likely need a site plan in order to obtain the building permit.
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