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Can I Put a Shipping Container on My Property

Tuesday 5 May 2020 Filed in: General

A question we frequently get asked is can I put a shipping container on my property. It's impossible to give a definitive answer on the point of planning permission, as local planning authorities have differing regulations depending on where you live, but in broad terms a shipping container is classed as a temporary structure, and therefore are exempt from requiring planning permission. So yes, you can put a shipping container on your property. However, we recommend you read on to be sure you don't make a costly mistake.

When planning permission is required

Some of our clients we've worked with in providing shipping container structures for their businesses or organisations have required planning permission as they have been sited on Greenfield land. These are areas of undeveloped land, left to evolve naturally. See our two case studies that include containers sited on National Parks land - Snowdonia and North York Moors. We were able to help our clients satisfy the necessary planning permission regulations by covering the container in wood cladding, carefully matching the wood-type we used to their specifications, and building a sloping roof.

When planning permission isn't an issue

For urban and residential areas, things are a lot more straightforward. Although we would always recommend checking with your local planning office in advance, it is rarely an issue. A shipping container falls into the category of a temporary structure, in the same way that a garden shed does. The most popular uses of shipping containers on private properties are:

Only got a small garden?

You may think that size is a restriction to keeping a shipping container on your property, but did you know that shipping containers can be modified to give you sizes as small as 5ft? Containers Direct can also supply narrow shipping containers, to fit those awkward areas of dead space in your garden. These can be made to any required length. The most popular sizes for residential gardens is 10ft long x 8ft wide, and the most common use is as a garden shed. Metal containers are far more secure and longer lasting than timber, and can be purchased new or second hand, cut down from 20ft and 40ft ISO shipping containers. Of course, if you are fortunate enough to have a large garden, you can opt for these larger sizes, which represent the best value for money.

Concerned about the appearance of a shipping container in your garden?

Again you can opt for wood cladding, but if you are on a smaller budget then opt for a repaint which can give a much improved aesthetic to a second hand shipping container – a dark green shade is a popular colour for garden containers as again, it helps the container blend in with the surroundings. At Containers Direct we offer a FREE repaint on all uses shipping containers under 20ft!

Delivering containers to your garden

You may be concerned about taking delivery of a shipping container to your property, particularly if it's to a back garden without adequate access for a large lorry and crane, which is the requirement for delivering a standard shipping container. The good news is that flat pack containers are designed just for this! Even with a terrace house you can take delivery of a flat pack container, because as their name suggests, each component is light and compact enough to be carried by hand. See our range of flat pack containers, which includes garden stores and bike stores.


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