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Can I use shipping containers for my Self Build project?

Tuesday 2 July 2024 Filed in: General

Self build homes are a popular path to homeownership in the UK. There are so many plus points to self build. Not only does it give people the chance to tailor their house exactly to their needs, as well as usually enjoying a not insignificant profit if and when they come to sell, but you will also get more house for your money as well as the chance to live in a more sustainable home, providing you follow a few self build tips along the way. Of course that's not to say that building your own home doesn't have its challenges. However, if you have the time, energy and determination, the results can be breathtaking.


Our Projects

We proudly supplied 2x used 20ft shipping containers to Cornerstones Projects Ltd, to help support a self build project in West Kirby who specialise in underground utility plans provision with a utility locator service including pipes, utility, cables & telephone locators. We supplied a 20ft storage container for building materials and a ModiBox portable office, so that the workers will benefit from running hot water, an heating during winter months, electricity for charging points, microwave and kettle. The portable 20ft welfare unit features worktops, sinks and seamless melamine wall surfaces, making it easy to clean and maintain on a dirty working building site. A welfare unit will normally consist of a minimum of toilets and sinks, but will often also include separate urinals, showers, and sometimes resting and eating areas. Considering the fact that they are often of a temporary nature, converted units are often chosen to create these welfare units. They are more cost-effective than building a temporary bricks and mortar building and can be picked up using a crane and moved to a new site once it has been finished with there. Depending on the number of people that you are supplying the welfare unit to, different sizes will be appropriate. Fortunately, there is a range of different-sized shipping containers available. A 20ft unit, for example, can comfortably provide 4 hand basins, 4 toilets, and 3 urinals, with other options available. You can choose a stock welfare unit or create your own bespoke shipping container unit to suit your specific needs. internal and external personnel doors and windows can be fitted to the shipping container for ease of access, ventilation and to allow in natural light if required. You can also add container ramps to the doors for wheelchair access. When it comes to designing the layout for your welfare unit, you have the flexibility to move things around as long as it fits with your water and electricity supply. Our specialist design team is always available to help out at this stage if you need it.


The ModiBox® range of shipping container offices exclusive to Containers Direct provides budget-friendly, portable offices with all these key security features.


Whether its your storage or welfare unit, we would recommend the container to be well insulated if people are going to be spending any time in there or storing valuables. Due to the fact that it started out as a metal box, it can get very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. Insulation, therefore, is essential to make it comfortable for staff or guests. An insulating lining can be added to the walls, ceiling, and floor of the shipping container to help to prevent these extremes of temperature. Lining and insulating containers is second nature to us, and one of the most popular modifications we do. We are able to ply line and insulate any size container, and provide a variety of finishes depending upon your requirements.

How does condensation form?

Moisture is formed inside shipping containers by the fluctuations in temperature that occur within the steel body of the container. Steel gets very warm in the sun, and very cold at night! This moisture can't escape the shipping container when it is shut and so condensation forms. This can cause problems for any materials stored inside such as textiles, paper and leather, electrical items and general household furniture. Even cardboard boxes used to box up your items can be reduced to a soggy mess. If steps are not taken to minimize condensation, then upon opening your container you may find the contents have become wet and mouldy. On top of this, if liquids are stored in the container there is a risk of freezing them during very cold periods. To stop condensation forming by evening out temperatures inside containers we recommend choosing ply lined containers.

Security & Storage for building equipment

Site office conversions made from shipping containers are popular due to their portability and the inherent strength and security of their steel construction. Security is further enhanced by lockable, shuttered anti-vandal windows and steel personnel doors incorporating multiple deadlocks and steel handles. Some portable offices also retain the original cargo doors, especially if the unit is doubling up as storage space. These doors can be secured with a steel lock box which fits over the padlock, making it inaccessible without the key. Invest in a top-quality padlock that is insurance rated. These features will deter even the most determined of thieves! And don't forget to use them when leaving your office overnight! Shipping containers are the strongest of all steel storage containers, as they are built to endure transportation overseas where they are subjected to wet conditions and the weight of other containers piled up on top. For this reason they are made from a high grade of steel with a rust retardant coating, have thick floors and heavy doors with rubber seals and strong locks. Shipping containers make excellent stores on construction sites where building materials, plant machinery and tools need to be securely stored. These containers are very hard to break into or damage, hence they are also known as anti vandal containers. They are also ideal for the storage of household furniture items, although we recommend using a newer, or very good condition container for this purpose, to protect any vulnerable items from moisture damage. These steel storage containers are available in standard shipping container sizes of 20ft and 40ft in length, and 8ft in width.

If you're considering self building, we are here to help. One of the essential parts of the project we help supply is containers of course, whether its flat packed, storage, converted into a canteen and toilet or even a shower room we can make it happen. Container conversions play a huge help in your self build project for many reasons and we are proud to fulfill our clients needs in supplying multiple container conversions for their self build project.


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