Frequently Asked Questions

  • Shipping container houses can be made in any size or shape by adding structures to them or using multiple containers. Our existing units range from just under 200sqft to 320sqft and fall under the classification of Tiny Houses. Tiny Houses are defined as anything under 400 square feet according to current building codes and typically range from 100-400sqft. All the necessary amenities including bedroom, fully functional bathroom, kitchen with basic appliances and a living area can be fit within this area. With the recent popularity of tiny houses and RV living we can see that this can be more than enough livable space. This is a personal choice that many people have already made. House size should be determined by personal desire and lifestyle, not some outdated standard of “bigger is better”. People with an active lifestyle and active social/community life need much less living space because they are not always inside. Our guests are a 5-minute walk from the downtown area with food, shopping, arts and a brewery. They are also only minutes away from parks, hiking trails, river rafting, rock climbing and a number of other world class outdoor activities. If they need workspace, there is access to nearby co-working space at Emergent Campus.

  • Shipping containers that have not been insulated and converted to living space can get really hot when it is hot outside and cold when it is cold outside. However, our units are fully insulated and converted to living spaces following all current housing codes. We use spray foam insulation to not only provide the required R value in the walls, floors, and ceiling but to make the structure airtight and provide a vapor barrier. We also have heating and cooling in all units. Because there is so little square footage, it takes mere minutes to fully heat or cool the area. It is a great energy savings over trying to keep a large house warm or cool!

  • Shipping containers do use industrial grade paint that may contain lead. That is why we fully encapsulate it with paint and spray foam. Encapsulation is the nationwide accepted method of handling lead based paint (remember, most houses built prior to 1978 can also contain lead paint). The inside and outside of the containers are fully sealed, so there is no contact with potentially contaminated surfaces.

  • They are not prohibited in most areas, they are just not always included the local zoning code. National building codes do include both shipping containers for housing and tiny houses. Our shipping container homes follow ALL national and local building codes. It is not always easy, but we worked diligently with the city to make sure that codes were met and to pass new code in order to make this possible. We also helped pass Accessory Dwelling Unit code and modify local development agreements to lower the cost of construction. If you are interested in building one of these types of houses typically it is your local zoning laws that are the issue. There are many solutions out there. A developer can create a PUD (planned unit development) and basically write their own rules with approval from local government. Our podcast It’s Not a Tiny House Podcast [link] covers all the details and many ways you can accomplish what you want. Just remember democracy works when you show up. If you want tiny house code, go to planning and zoning commission meetings, city council meetings, get the community together to tell your elected officials what you want. If you do not tell them, they will not know.

  • No. Containers allow us to start with a floor, roof and 4 walls that can hold upwards of 40,000 pounds. A similar wood shed kit is about double the price of a container before accounting for paint, fasteners, windows, and labor to assemble it. A container is also a far superior product. The metal is about twice the thickness of any retail metal siding or roofing. Our internal framing is not structural, so we do not need studs every 16 inches and we are working with alternative, recycled, materials to make our buildout cost even lower. Overall, it costs slightly less per square foot than a traditional house, but you end up with a far superior, more efficient and more durable product. Due to the small square footage, this makes shipping container housing quite an affordable alternative.

  • Yes. These are fully functional on-grid dwellings. Each unit is wired with electric, water and sewer just like a normal house. Utilities with a shipping container house are only limited by your location. They have the ability to be moved to off grid locations as well but are able to fully take advantage of all modern utilities.

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