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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been unable to find a good forum dedicated to container homes, so if you know one... please direct me to it as to not clutter this area with uselessness.

So, to start I want to design and build my own container home. Or as much as I can by myself that is. Really I only plan to do the main design and configuration of the containers. Then all the cutting and welding of the containers. The rest would be handled by professionals.

I work as a mechanical designer and will be modeling the entire thing in SolidWorks. From there I can create detailed drawings. But since I am not an architect I assume I would have to have the design checked and certified by one....?

I was a welder before my current position (machinist before that). I would really like to do ALL of the cutting and welding myself. I can easily pass the certification tests if needed. But I am unsure if I would even be allowed.

Basically I want to know what am I allowed to do and what has to be legally done by a licensed contractor.
 

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I am not familiar with Florida law with respect to building codes etc. But it wouldn't surprise me if you find various building departments have no clue how to approach your project.
 

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We have a company close by that is (or at least was) building container homes. At some point they were stopped do to lack of some permitting. I think I heard they got past that, but anyway here is their link. A bit sparse but maybe some ideas.
http://www.snapspacesolutions.com/
I realize the "tiny home" fad is in right now, but having grown up in an 8' x 40' trailer (2kids, 2 adults, 2 large dogs, and a few of mom's cats I remember it not being all that great. As an adult I do enjoy owning a modest size home and having a couple of acres to mow.

From your experience I can see where a metal container would be attractive, but I'm not sure how many others would be content. Is this just for you or are you looking to manufacturer these for others?

Bud
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I will be using anywhere from 5-8 containers. Looking to get somewhere in between 1800-2000 Sq. Ft in total with 3 bedrooms.

I'm working on the design now. I just don't want to put a couple hundred hours into something for it to not come to fruition. I don't yet know the legal/code side of what I can and can't do myself.
 

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I dont know how it works in your area but in my neck of the woods you would have to have a licensed contractor, plumber and, electrician listed on the permits even if you are doing some of the work yourself the licensed contractor will be responsible to make sure its built to code and passes all inspections. You would need to take your plans to a licensed engineer and have them look them over and stamp them then submit stamped plans to the city or county for approval before any work is started. You wouldnt need an architect to look them over as long as you have all the required drawing for the city which includes site plans and drainage plans so if you have never done this before it would be wise to consult an architect who is familiar with the local rules and regs.

edit: also a local architect will be familiar with which angle/views are best to include in the plan so other sub contractors have what they need and which angle views are unnecessary. You could even ask your general contractor for a set of plans from an older project to see what is needed.
 

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Here in Michigan as a homeowner I can pull all my permits and do all my own work. The catch is I literally have to do my own work. I can't hire some schmo or I have morphed in to a contractor which is against the law.

So if I want a new garage I have 2 legal choices:
1. Hire a licensed, insured, building contractor who pulls all the permits and does the work, including hiring subcontractors as needed.

2. Pull my own permits and do it all myself.

In the case of #2 I can have my brothers help me as long as I don't pay them or leave them to work without me.

In either case a plan needs to be submitted and approved by the building department. I can draw my own plans They just need to meet code.
 

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A little research suggests the wood floors can be a problem but they are replaceable.

Maybe more problematic is the paint that is designed to protect the metal from ocean salt water.
 

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Did you try "shipping container homes, forums" I found a lot.

Regarding cleaning the inside metal, I do wonder if the oxidation of metal
( i.e. rust) would hold pesticides, fungicides even when washed. Would you know where the shipping container has been? Many countries use pesticides that are illegal here & they bio-magnify.

I do have a source but it is like bringing a cannon to a water fight. :}
 

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There is a big mark up when people by these containers. I vaguely remember I could buy them for 800 dollars and sell them for around 5000 delivered. People told me not to deal with them because of the pesticides, and the fact that they are really not idea for building.
At the time construction site mobile homes were going for next to nothing. In the end, the construction site trailers were selling much faster and easier. I did have the idea of burying these containers in peoples backyards as a dooms day shelter. Too much expensive and labor preparing the container and site.

I wanted to buy a major area of Detroit and make my tiny house village. In the end the real reason I did not do it besides all the codes and red tape, and the fact that it was going to end up being against the whole tiny house, cheap living idea. People were unrealistic about living in a small space
 

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I have a house built using shipping containers. I have seen many homes built using shipping containers, and I would like to add solar panels to the roof so that it can be used as a power source and help cool down the home. I have found a new shipping container, and I would like to incorporate it with the old structure. Is it possible to add solar panels to a two-story shipping container home without damaging the old structure? Curious about your experiences!
 
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