Building a shipping container home can be one of the most rewarding things you do. However, you don’t want to rush into it too quickly and make some simple mistakes.
Are you going to be building with new or used shipping containers?
Do you have the DIY knowhow to build the home yourself or are you going to need to use a contractor?
Don’t make the same mistakes I’ve seen time and time again by rushing into the building process without figuring out exactly what it is you want to build.
Make sure you answer these 8 questions before you start building your dream container home.
Can You Afford It?
This is the most important question you will ask yourself as a soon-to-be shipping container home owner. And it’s a question that will continually be asked throughout your project.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a huge budget and the majority of us have to be careful with how we spend our hard earned money!
The simplest way to work out ‘if you can afford it’, is to calculate your maximum budget. To calculate your budget, subtract your contingency allowance from your total budget.
For instance if you had $100, 000 to spend, you need to take away 20% of this and place it into your contingency allowance. So your budget for your container home will be $80, 000, and you would have a contingency allowance of $20, 000.
Now some of you may be asking: “what is a contingency budget”?
A contingency budget is a pot of money which is used to pay for any unforeseen bills and expenses. You don’t want to allocate your every last penny to the project to find out you forgot to include the cost of a kitchen in your calculations. This is why you have a contingency allowance, because you can be certain that there will always be unforeseen costs.
Note: An average contingency figure is 20% as shown in the example. Typically the more complex/expensive a project is the great the contingency figure needs to be.
Which Containers Are You Going To Use?
Not only do you need to decide whether to use high cube or regular containers, you also need to decide on whether to build using new or used containers.
If at all possible I normally recommend getting high cube shipping containers. They are a foot taller than regular containers, so this gives you some extra headroom inside your containers. It means you can insulate the inside of your ceiling and still maintain a ceiling height of eight foot.
Also you need to decide whether to use new or used shipping containers. Many people that build a shipping container home do so because they are conscious about the environment and want to save money.
Building with a used shipping container home meets both of these requirements. Used containers are definitely more eco-friendly than buying new containers and they are also at least $1000 cheaper than new containers.
Self-Build or Contractor?
Deciding whether to build your container home yourself, or to get a contractor to build it for you, will have cost and time implications.
Do you consider yourself a DIY friendly type of person? Are you handy with a hammer?
I know that many people who build a shipping container home decide to build it themselves. They like the challenge and the achievement once the home has been built.
Building the home yourself is not only cheaper than paying a contractor; it also means you can ensure the home is built to a high standard and that no corners have been cut. However, to build the home yourself you need to be ‘DIY friendly’ and have at least some experience of home building.
On the other hand if you don’t have any experience and aren’t DIY friendly then you would certainly want to bring in a contractor to build the majority of the container home for you. Bringing in a contractor to build the container home for you will be more expensive but it’s likely it will be faster as they can have several people working on your home at once.
Do I Have The Time?
Whilst shipping container homes can be built extremely quickly (less than 2 months) you still need to consider timeframes when looking to build a shipping container home.