We have heard a lot about using shipping containers to build towers, periscope viewing and shopping options. But before we get carried away into the used shipping container bandwagon, let’s think about the necessary things to note before we develop our own shipping container innovations.
1. Old shipping containers could be toxic
Old shipping containers can have high levels of residue of chemicals — the ones being transported by these containers. They may include lead-based paint deliberately used to withstand ocean spray.
“It’s definitely unsafe to use the old ones, they’re really the unknown. I wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole,” says Jamie van Tongeren, CEO of Australian manufacturer Container Build Group.
2. Old shipping containers may have lost structural integrity
Be very careful when using old shipping containers for structures that need to withstand tremendous pressure. Tongeren adds that the integrity of old shipping containers can also be compromised when they are dented, an occasional occurrence of wear and tear endured by containers that transport bulky materials.
3. Building housing projects may be more costly
As shipping container homes are built unique from the rest, installing cooling or heating systems could prove to be challenging endeavor. Unlike the predefined and prefabricated shapes and dimensions, steel extensive reinforcements could be required, making the project an expensive undertaking.
4. Shipping containers is not for every project
Elaine Petitgout from Boxman Studios in North Carolina said shipping containers are ideal for industrial office spaces, trade show booths or popup retail stores and claims that the only tangible advantage of containers is that their shape allows for creativity and flexibility in design. That could mean functional structures are better built with conventional materials.