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Understanding Permitting: Shipping Container Buildings Code Compliance

Commercial Construction
2 minute read
Sep 28, 2022
Understanding Permitting: Shipping Container Buildings Code Compliance

Permitting structures feels like a daunting topic for many people. In an effort to further explain shipping container-related permitting, here’s a little refresher. But first, let’s take a walk down memory lane.

In 2018 we received Evaluation Service Report (ESR) 4163, certifying that Falcon Structures can supply shipping containers fit for use as building materials as outlined in AC462. This certification process took hundreds of hours of research, meetings, and evaluations of our manufacturing process, making us the first in-house modified shipping container manufacturer using code-compliant containers.

Our CEO, Stephen Shang, shared his take on the achievement:

Confirming our containers are compliant with AC462 is a win for our customers and for the entire industry. Compliance with AC462 will significantly expedite the coding and permitting process for our customers and hopefully pave the path for other container-based structures suppliers.”

And it did! We’ve relied on ESR 4163 in the years since and encouraged our industry counterparts to get certified along the way.

What Does AC462 Mean for Code Officials and Customers?

multi-unit shipping container structure set up

Using AC462 compliant containers saves customers and coding officials an enormous amount of anxiety and accelerates the permitting process. Until as recently as 2016, developers and other builders hesitated to use shipping containers as building materials because there was a risk the local authority having jurisdiction, aka the code official, would not approve a container structure.

Permitting shipping container buildings was often a slow process because code officials found themselves in the uncomfortable position of signing off on unfamiliar building material. If the code official was willing to give container buildings a chance, they would have to spend a significant amount of time and resources researching the structure’s safety based on the provisions outlined in ICC’s Alternative Means and Methods Section.

Now, code officials can use the guidelines in AC462 as a road map for safe container use. ESR 4163 confirms that we can supply high-quality, AC462-compliant containers. Receiving an ESR also means we can provide exact container specs to engineers validating the structural integrity of the overall building.

Builders can be confident their projects will be approved, and code officials can now more quickly than ever ascertain the container buildings they sign off on are safe.

What Does AC462 Mean for the Shipping Container Building Industry?

Initially, the industry was confused by AC462. We weren’t sure if it was possible for any company to meet the outlined standards and receive an ESR. So, we made our own company a test case.

We had to formulate a plan to expand our existing quality control management system. Then, we created thorough documentation and precise standards. Standardizing our manufacturing process pushed us to put our practices under a microscope. As we evaluated and improved our process for the ICC-ES inspection, we became a more efficient company.

The conclusion of the Falcon Structures test case: AC462 enforces a standard for safe, quality containers that we want to see proliferate throughout the industry. If given the opportunity, we’d tell other container companies that AC462 is an opportunity for growth.

We’re confident that the relevance of coding container structures will continue to grow and expand further into modular construction.

Are you interested in a modified shipping container structure for your company? Give us a call at 877-704-0177 or email sales@falconstructures.com and let’s talk about your options.

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