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Old 01-29-2014, 09:01 AM   #46
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Yesmwheremare the pictures ??


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Old 01-29-2014, 01:54 PM   #47
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1) How many square feet did you end up with?

2) Did you use shipping containers exclusively or did you supplement them with any traditional structures?
Ap FL code, all exterior walls (wall that connect with the exterior) need to be insulated. To achieve, all exterior walls were framed in with standard 2x4 on 24", insulated and dry walled. Non exterior walls were left raw painted steel.

3) Did you build on piers/posts/stilts or did you use a concrete foundation?
Cement pads with 12, 1/4" 8"x8" steel plates with 4, 5/16" x 24" steel rods welded to each, embedded in all connection points. Two containers were used as storage structures and to raise the home to FEMA flood level. These were welded to the aforementioned plates - 1/2" fillet on all accessible contact points.

4) How many floors is your house?
1, but there are lower level storage containers - see point 3.

5) Do you have a sunshade over your structure that acts as an attic would to block direct sun heating and circulate warm air away?
We built a "flat" roof instead of installing a drop ceiling. Remember, the ceiling must be insulated by code as well.

We also added an awning over the two "decks" that is roofed with the steel cut from the interior wall openings.

6) How did you make windows? Did you cut holes or just use the open ends?
You wouldn't want to leave ends open without additional structural support. We cut holes, welded in 2" steel frames and still had to frame those in with 2x6 - because of Manatee County code. Hurricane windows are tested in wood bucks - and therefore must be installed in wood bucks.

Note - any welding done ON SITE, meaning when the containers are on your property, must be done by a certified welder. You will need to supply a current certification to the building department. This was tricky to find.

Welding done offsite - in a factory type environment, does not require proof of certification.

7) Did you cut holes on the sides to make large interior spaces and weld together multiple containers?
Yes, and additional "headers" were welded into the larger spans.

8) How did you waterproof the joins between containers?
Top joints have a 3" x 1/4" steel bar running the entire 40' length of each top joint (3.5) which were welded and silicone-ed. And - we have the roof. Side joints are not really water proof, but each joint stops at either a connecting wall or door frame. You could, and we may well someday, add 3" bars to these too.

9) Do you have any pictures to share?
Attached is an older picture.
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:41 PM   #48
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Thank you for all the amazing information!!!! I really appreciate the time you took to reply.

Do you know of any FEA for Dummies type application for shipping containers that lets you figure out the stresses and strains that the containers would experience?
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:56 AM   #49
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You are welcome - just paying the forum back for helping us.

You will be required to hire a structural engineer in order to submit the plan set to the county. There are several CAD and other container drawings available for free online, including stress tests and simulations - you just need to find them. The bottom containers in my build did require additional 3" steel posts welded in place under each perpendicular containers connections. While they are incredibly strong - they weren't designed to stack as I have them stacked. I also plan on further structural improvements so I can feel comfortable leaving the bottom unit doors open.

Don't let anyone fool you though, an "Architect" is NOT required. I designed my own home with my wife's input and review and it is absolutely perfect for us. Better than we expected even.

I used Google Sketch Up (free version) to design it using true scale. I then submitted these drawings to a structural engineer (I do not recommend him - it was like babysitting!) who drew the set up at about a 1/3 of the cost other architects quoted. He also drew it as I requested, only pointing out changes necessary for structural integrity, and not injecting his ego driven opinion- which happened with each of the three architects I contacted. For my set, the total cost was somewhere around $5500.

I recommend paying a bit more though and going with a larger firm you can hopefully trust. My set contained several errors drawn in by the engineer that cost me extra money and time - and I never even received an "oops, sorry about that!". One example; on one page it clearly called for 8 steps. Of course we cut the stringers ($50 each) to this specification, only to turn a few pages and find 10 steps required! I don't know about you, but cutting stringers is a MAJOR pain in the math brain so this cost us a couple of days and $100 in materials.

Other items to note, the total build is somewhere in the 90 - $100 a square foot range including utility runs, well, and septic. Its cheaper than a manufactured home - but not by a whole lot. And, its not likely you will get a construction loan to build it - nor is it likely you will get someone to insure the house. We paid for the build with our savings and a loan from the bank of MOM and nope, we have no homeowners insurance.

This has to be something you just REALLY want to do for it to be worth it. Kind of like solar power. My opinion is that my home is way better than a stick built house. It is probably equal (but much less expensive) than a cement block or AAC built house. And, for the amount we spent, immeasurably more unique than what you could afford-ably achieve with any other building material choice.

After reading all that and if you still want to go for it, its a great project.
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Old 01-30-2014, 03:46 PM   #50
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OK. I did find things like this...



...but I really wish someone would make a Lego-block like simulator for shipping containers. Thank you again!!!
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Old 01-30-2014, 04:32 PM   #51
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I doubt its worth the effort of the programming. Shipping containers all come in standard sizes. 8' 6" x 20' 6", 8' 6" x 40' 6", and 9' 6" x 40' 6". I believe there are now some 9 x 20's - but they are all still new (WAY more expensive than B grade). The 9 footers are known as "high cubes" - the rest "standard". Other than that, all you need to know is that if you stack them any other way than parallel, one on top of the other, with all 8 corners matching up, you will need to add support. So - just start drawing boxes and let the engineer figure out the rest.

Here is a good resource:



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