Build your Own Container home

Build Custom Home / July 10, 2020

Designing and building your own home using shipping containers can be a fun and financially rewarding experience. As the cost of housing and building materials continues to increase, and the concept of up-cycling is more readily embraced, people all over the world are turning to the humble shipping container to cut their building costs. Not only are shipping containers cheap, strong and durable, they also allow for interesting design opportunities, drawing the attention of architects looking to work with a less conventional material.

The Managing Director of an architectural company on the Sunshine Coast, Mr. John Robertson, received much support from local residents when his plan to build a home-based office using 3 shipping containers was reported on by the Sunshine Coast Daily last year. Mr. Robertson stated that it was sometimes necessary to explore different methods of construction to assist costs, echoing the sentiment of many-an-architect both here and overseas. Read more about the project here.

But maybe you're not an architect. Maybe you're looking to build your own home and have decided you want to try something new and different while working within the constraints of a tight budget. Maybe you've seen a few images online of amazing homes, only to be blown away when you found out they were built from shipping containers. Maybe you thought, "I could do that!"

Here's how you get started:


As the cargotecture movement gains ground, there is a plethora of resources available online to help you with design ideas.
Here are some of our recommendations:


Now that you've got some ideas about what's achievable with shipping containers, it's time to consider some other important factors. Planning and preparation is key to successfully building your home, in terms of structural stability, but also in terms of budget, functionality, timeframe, ongoing costs and council approval.

Space and Functionality
Get clear on what you want from your home. How many bedrooms will it have? Have many bathrooms? Do you want to incorporate an outdoor area? How many levels will it be? Shipping containers can be arranged in a wide variety of configurations, so how much space you need and what the space will be used for will determine how many containers you need and how they will be placed.