5 Things a Modified Shipping Container Expert Wants You to Know

Dec 15, 2021
5 Things a Modified Shipping Container Expert Wants You to Know

We get it! Many people are unfamiliar with modified shipping containers, and it can feel challenging to learn about all the ins and outs of container modifications. That’s why our CEO Stephen Shang hosted his own mini-master class to discuss what you need to know before buying a shipping container structure. Here are the highlights of his course:

1. Offsite construction – what is it and why is it beneficial?

offsite construction manufacturing carpenter

Traditional construction takes place when workers build a structure at its final location. Offsite construction – as the name implies – is when a significant amount of the fabrication process takes place away from the final building site in a controlled environment. Although offsite construction is still growing in popularity, many companies gravitate toward offsite construction because it can help decrease time to profit.

For example, offsite construction allows the team at the facility to create consistent and quality building elements at the same time site crews prepare the final location for the arrival of building elements. Shipping container structures fall into the offsite construction category. Here at Falcon, we modify each shipping container in our manufacturing facility and then send them off to our customers.

2. How to budget for containers

Over the 19 years, Stephen has worked with shipping containers, he’s come across many container misconceptions. The biggest misconception is that people assume shipping containers are cheaper than alternative building methods. This may be true for many projects, but it’s not always the case. Additional costs come into play when companies need customizations related to adding doors, windows, insulation, climate control, plumbing, and electrical. Consulting with a container manufacturer will give you a better idea of what your project needs. But keep in mind that offsite container construction can usually save 5-10% in hard costs compared to traditional construction.

3. Don’t neglect technical considerations

modified shipping container with foundation

Stephen recommends that those working with shipping containers should remember several technical considerations as they plan for their project. The first is that not every shipping container structure needs a foundation, but some might. A container can be placed on the firm ground without worry, but multi-container buildings and permitted structures should have a foundation.

Additionally, you must add climate control to modified containers if you wish to keep items – and of course, people – safe. Choosing the right insulation for your application also plays an important role in maintaining your desired temperature. To learn more about what Stephen has to say about other technical considerations, check out the mini-master class for more detailed information.

4. Understand permitting

Modified shipping container permitting has come a long way in the last few years. In 2021, the International Building Code (IBC) included specifications for container-based structures. Even though governments will have to vote to adopt the 2021 IBC – which may take a few more years – it’s still important that you do your diligence to determine if you require a permit. Until the IBC is widely adopted, your local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) will determine if your container is compliant.

5. Plan for design limitations

modified shipping container structure design and drawings

No matter the intent of your shipping container structure, you should understand the design limitations of shipping containers. Some modification choices may make transporting shipping containers more challenging. Certain cabinets and countertops travel better than others, and when manufacturers add exterior modifications to a container, it may change how easily it fits on the bed of a semi-truck.

At Falcon, we recommend that you work with trusted structural engineers, designers, and container manufacturers to create a solution to safely modify and reinforce the structure. To hear more about what Stephen wants you to know about modified shipping containers, watch his full mini-master class here, free to download. If you’d like to speak with a Falcon representative about your container project, give us a call at 877-704-0177 or email us at sales@falconstructures.com.

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