How To Build A House With Shipping Containers

Be Inspired to build your own 'do it yourself' home!

Knowing and learning how to build a house with shipping containers is very much a case of studying other houses for ideas and deciding what you need and want in your own container house.

They are all different, very small to large, one storey to several, rustic to modern.



If you haven't had anything to do with shipping containers take the time to go to a container yard and study them on the internet so are you familiar and understand what you can and can't do with them.

This Youtube video is excellent for understanding how shipping containers are made.

Using shipping containers to build a house gives you the opportunity to plan and design a very unique house with the benefit of recycling containers.


Keeping your plans basic will be easier and cheaper, our container house for example is a basic plan. The more you cut, change, add storeys etc. the harder and more expensive the build becomes.

Every cutout you make for windows, doors, openings etc. has to be approved by a structural engineer.

shipping container house home stumps diy built

We prefabbed our container house at home for 12 months as it was to be our holiday home in NSW, then trucked the prefabbed containers to the block. Joined them back together on stumps then kept working on it until it was liveable inside, there is still more to do outside.

Most people won't have to 'prefab and relocate', much simpler if you have a block to build it on from start to finish. These images below are of 'our version' of how to build a house with shipping containers.

The containers have been prefabbed but as far as craning them into position it wouldn't be any different if they were not prefabbed. We had to have one metre high stumps due to very unlikely but possible flooding. If flooding is not an issue your stumps would most likely be much shorter.

Preparation and planning each step along the way will keep your build organised as you progress and learn how to build a house with shipping containers.



'The back 40 foot shipping container is being lowered onto the stumps'

crane shipping container stumps diy built build new prefab house

The back 40 foot (12 metre) container is being lowered into position which contains a bedroom on the left half, the other half is the toilet, back entrance including a cupboard and the back door then the bathroom/laundry in the right end.



'First 40 foot shipping container has landed' 

40 foot shipping crane truck relocate prefab

It was wonderful to see this container in position on the stumps, 12 months since we started building 'our shipping container house' at home. It was critical to get this first container straight on the stumps, then it was welded into place before the other containers were craned into position.



'The grey 20 foot container is being lifted over the stumps'

20 foot shipping container crane lifting moving

The grey 20 foot (6 metre) container being lifted over the stumps and getting lined up to be set down on the stumps next to the first container. This container is a bedroom with a built in robe.



'Now we have the back container and right container in place' 

20 foot 40 foot shipping container prefab house

The grey 20 foot container in its position next to the first 40 foot container, so we are half way to having our container house on the stumps.



'The other 20 foot container is being lifted by the crane'

20 foot shipping container moved lifted crane

The second 20 foot container is being craned into position on the left side, this container is also a bedroom.



'Now have three shipping containers in place' 

prefab shipping container house lifting crane building diy

Just one more container to go, the last 40 foot container to be placed on position.
This is a very interesting and unique way of showing how to build a house.



'The last container on its way to the front'

crane lift shipping container 40 foot position prefab house

The forty foot container is off the truck and being lifted to the front over the other containers and into position to complete the square.



 The last piece of the puzzle nearly in place!   Hooray!!

lift 40 foot container position house prefab

That's quite a sight, 12 months of work nearly in place without any problems.
The bar room and dining table is in the left end and the kitchen is in the right end.



'All four containers together finally - about 12 months since we started'    

four containers built house diy prefab 20 foot 40 foot

There it is, now the work starts again, web trusses, the corrugated iron on the roof, build the central room and clad the walls and later a verandah will be built all the way around.



Adding the Web Trusses to the Roof

Erecting the web trusses was the next job on the list, they were 'ready made' to our specifications and the crane lifted them onto the roof. So they were spaced evenly as had been previously worked out, the battens were attached length ways to hold the trusses in place and to be used to attach the roofing iron to.
See more at Building a new house.



Building the Living Room in the Centre

This sure is a different way to build a living room, the shipping containers are in a square so the area in the middle is the living room. It is not actually made out of shipping containers.

After the all the containers were on their stumps and the web trusses were on, the building started on the central living room...  Building the living room






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Click the ebook to discover about building 'Our Container House'

Tina Dean in Victoria, VIC, AU on Houzz

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