1.  Plan It Out Before Building

The planning stage of the design and building process takes the most amount of time. Borrowing from the discipline and art of *project management*, your building project must have a budget, timeline and scope.  Learn what these terms are and integrate them into your project so that you are building successfully.

2.  Hire/Involve Intelligent And Creative Professionals

Going alone in this adventure won’t work very well. There are too many skills required for one person to be able to do everything alone, especially a novice. Building a container house is totally doable. And totally doable because there are experienced people out there who have the know-how to help.  They don’t necessarily need to have worked with shipping containers before, because many of the principles that a carpenter knows can be applied to whatever sort of building he or she is working on.

3.  Host “Boxshops”

You’ll need a boost of morale. By hosting a house-building party you’ll have ample amounts of enthusiasm from your friends.  But what about a “Boxshop”? What is that, you may ask? A Boxshop is a workshop on the box (i.e the container), which combines a mennonite barn raising with a high-school shop class.  Said differently, if you are learning how to build a container home, know that there is ample public interest in your neighbourhood for it as well.  By hosting a day-long workshop, for example, your container project will get quite a lift in terms of positive energy and helping hands on deck (watch for safety though).

4.  Build Walls On The OUTside For Insulation

For the sake of aesthetics and the maximization of space, placing the walls on the outside of your container home is the way to go. Building walls on the outside of the container will neutralize the super thermo-conductivity of steel. The result is a cooler temperature in the summer and warmer in the winter.  Walls on the outside allow the container to be partially buried.  And on the outside of these walls you can put whatever cladding or siding that you wish. Barn-board, repurposed antique vinyl or burnt Japanese cedar anyone?

5.  Don’t Emphasize To City Officials And Building Inspectors That It’s A Home Made From Shipping Containers

It’s a [b]home[/b] that you’re building, which just so happens to have its internal structure provided by steel. In particular, steel in the form of shipping containers. Feel the subtle difference in that?

6.  Build With Access To The Lugs For Easy Moving In The Future

Lugs are the eight corners of the container. These corners are reinforced heavily and this is how cranes lift up containers.By building with the possibility of relocation in mind you give yourself options and build in the mobility-friendly spirit of shipping container homes.


7.  Build With The End In Mind

There are times when the going with any big project gets tough. You can be sure that you will hit rough spots that may make you feel like giving up. Don’t. Keep going. Remind yourself why you are doing this (whatever the reasons are for you).

Writing down why you’re building a shipping container home will be something of value that you’ll want to dredge up again and again to boost your motivation during hard times. Also, treat the project like a business. Perhaps write a business plan for it. Track your expenses. And remember that you can probably rent your completed home out with the help of Craigslist or Airbnb [https://www.airbnb.ca/wishlists/shipping-container-homes].