Shipping containers and sustainability.

There are approximately 11 million unused shipping containers in the world currently. Due to the ever-fluctuating price of oil, it’s more cost effective for transport companies to buy brand new containers in the country they are required, rather than ship empty containers back to their origin.

In recent years, developing pre-fabricated buildings has become a more popular alternative to traditional onsite construction for several reasons;

Reduced Cost – Pre-building units offsite reduces the requirement for ground staff, a preset size reduces the time spent designing.

Increased Speed – Pre-fabricated buildings can be assembled like Lego. Once the foundation is complete, modules can be slotted into place and connected into the mains to be fully operational in weeks.

Reduced Waste – Factories can produce units quicker and more accurately in a controlled environment, creating less material waste.

Less weather dependent – Building them inside a factory vastly reduces the likelihood of missing a day of construction or having the weather damage something vital.

Records have been set with regards to building speed thanks to modular – with a Chinese entrepreneur building a 200m sky scraper in just 19 days, using steel modules pre-built in a factory then delivered to the site.

The case for shipping containers

Using shipping containers for building reduces the time and cost even further. With the module size already pre-set, the possibility of an ‘adult sized’ kit of Lego becomes apparent. The containers can be converted in the factory, transported to the site and fitted together in a matter of days. The buildings infrastructure is fitted whilst in the factory and is then plugged in to the mains onsite.

Take a look at the Visitors Centre we built and installed in Hastings, West Sussex.

Containers by nature are designed to handle heavy loads and be stacked onto an uneven, moving surface making their transition to a building system relatively easy. Their usable life isn’t a concern either; being constructed from steel and having the ability to change a section of the structure with minimal disruption is another benefit.

The benefit of converting shipping containers becomes clearer when the reduced impact on the environment is taken into consideration; With the container already made, the project starts with a negative CO2 profile. The finished buildings are much lighter than their traditional counterparts, reducing the footprint on their environment further still.

Photo credit: Mercator Cargo Systems

Video credit: The Guardian

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