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Shipping containers, as the name suggests are pre-fabricated steel containers used to carry goods. But how did these goods containers become the solution for low-cost housing? In this blog, we are going to discuss all shipping containers as modular homes, the pros, cons, and much more!

Steel shipping containers come in the standard sizes of 20×8 ft and 40×8 ft. They are cuboid in shape and can be placed vertically over each other for more space. It is said to be the modern sustainable solution to the urban housing issue. Container houses are basic and come equipped with a kitchenette, a sleeping area, and a bathroom. For more space, you can always add more containers to expand the area. You can play around with the exteriors by adding natural materials for a smooth finish or adding more openings to facilitate ventilation.

Construction process of a shipping container house (Source: Build your own Shipping Container Home)

Shipping container homes are a hot new topic! They are prefabricated and modular which is just what the Indian millennial loves. The interior can be customized by adding the necessary furnishing based on the number of people living. Here’s a detailed procedure on how to build a shipping container house –

  1. Make sure to have all the necessary permits and permission required
  2. Purchase a ‘one-trip’ container only
  3. Prepare the land where you will be placing the container. Make sure to have a strong foundation and support for the container.
  4. Place the container on the foundation and make an opening for doors and windows.
  5. Install all of the electrical, plumbing, and insulation work.
  6. Decorate the interiors and exteriors and make it a comfortable living environment!



Completed house utilising many shipping containers (Source: ArchDaily)


1. Sustainable

There are over 14 million shipping containers that are out of use currently. Giving them a new purpose by converting them into homes is an eco-friendly solution to all housing problems.

2. Housing for the poor

Shipping container homes are so much more affordable than conventional houses. They are the perfect solution for low-cost housing issues as they repurpose an old container with basic amenities for a person.

3. Easy to assemble

Once you purchase a shipping container, it hardly takes less than 3 months to have your house ready. The inside finishing is prefabricated and can be easily installed on-site.

4. Transportable

Shipping container homes can be easily transported to new locations. All you need is a connection to electricity, water, and waste management.

5. Interesting interiors and facades

Shipping containers give you the flexibility of design. You can play around so much with the exterior, using natural finishing to make it look aesthetic. The interior can be modular and perfect living for 1 person.



Shipping container office in Pune, India (The Better India)


1. Not Fit for extreme climates

For colder climates, you need to invest in expensive insulation for the interiors to stay warm. Too hot climate as well isn’t suitable and you are required to have adequate openings or air conditioning. Thus, shipping containers cannot be utilized for every region.

2. Cramped living

The standard size is so narrow which poses a challenge for more than 1 person to live. You will have to invest in another container to increase the space.

3. Expensive welding

If you don’t find a one-trip container, chances are that you may find a worn-out container. These worn-out containers require a lot more work in the form of welding which can be so expensive.

4. Investing in strong Reinforcement

The roofs in Shipping containers are strong enough to be a container to carry goods but not strong enough to be the roof of a house. This is why you will have to add to the existing roof to make it structurally strong. The corrugated walls add to the strength of the unit but when you cut through the walls to create openings you are weakening the structure. This will add to the expense list of adding reinforcements to keep the container strong.

5. Rust and Maintenance

Though shipping containers are an economic solution to housing problems, their life span is limited. Rust and other environmental factors give it a lifespan of just 25-30 years



Shipping container houses sound interesting as a modern invention, but they may not be the holy grail solution to all housing problems! A lot of resources are utilized in making the containers home. 

Shipping container houses are not climate-responsive and thus can be used only in some parts of India. Even the maintenance is an expensive task and the durability of the container house depends on the quality of the maintenance. Though the cons are more, this certainly is an interesting topic that needs to be researched more so that we can all reap benefits from it.

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