PLAN THE LAYOUT
Before starting any project the first this to do is plan what containers you require and the actual layout needed. Look at the land size to ensure you have enough room for the containers, access for lorries and also room to put the waste tanks if needed and any other equipment.
With most homes it is better to stick to the standard 20ft and 40ft container sizes. If you need more headroom then you can also use the 40ft and 45ft Hi Cubes as all of these are readily available from us in Thailand. If your project includes 20ft containers standing next to 40ft containers then it is best to use the standard heights as finding 20ft Hi Cubes is VERY hard.
If you are good with a PC then there is a lot of software out there to help with your design and a lot of this is FREE. One of the easiest is Home Designer – CLICK HERE to go there now to start designing your home. Other tools include Google SketchUp / Cheif Architect or the main big daddy of design Autocad (Probably the hardest one to use). If you use 3D software to design your home then you can get full models from a number of sources online mosty for free. This include shipping container models / ISBU News / 3D Warehouse. If you need more just do a google search for 3D Shipping Container Models.
CHOOSING THE CONTAINERS
Once you know what containers you need the next job is selecting them. We carry a large stock of all sizes and you are welcome to visit us to look at whats available.
With shipping containers not only are there several different sizes but some of them are also constructed differently. If you look at the top edge where the side panels meet the roof panel you will see some containers have a very simple join with a small weld and other have a large solid steel bar. This is important if you are cutting away a lot of the steel sides. Once you start to cut the roof becomes very flimsy and you will need to prop this up BUT if you use the containers with the large steel beam these have a lot more rigidness. On all the projects we do we always strengthen any cut areas but adding steel supports and framework.
The condition of the containers is also an important factor, the more damaged it is the more work you need to do. Most used containers have lots of dents and rust patches, if you are planning on covering up the interior and exterior with internal walls and external fascia then a more battered container can be used. If however you want to leave a lot of the walls exposed it is better to buy a better condition container which does not need too much repairing.
In all cases it is best to purchase a container with NO or Very little RUST. Before doing any project you should treat the rust and also prime all surfaces.
On our projects we will always sand the rust back to bare metal using paper or small sandblasters. We then treat all areas with a chemical solution to kill any rust spots, finally we use TOA UV protection primer and insulater paint. This gives a really good base coat for both the inside and outside of the container.
Remember the Cheapest Container is not always the best option
CALCULATE THE STRUCTURAL LOADS
Before removing any walls or other structural components of a shipping container consideration has to be made for stress loads etc. Its not as simple as just cutting away whats not needed. Any cuts need to be strengthened properly especially if you plan to do a multi level home. In our opinion all cut out areas should be framed with steel box section. We normally use 25mm x 50mm / 25mm x 75mm or 25mm x 100mm RHS to reinforce around openings depending on the depth of insulation we will use. When adding framework remember to allow for internal walls and insulation so the finish interior is flush when complete.
Once you have the main containers sorted the next step is to start the main work. Let the fun begin!