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stxdreaming
(@stxdreaming)
Advanced Member

Have you considered looking into a shipping container home?

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Posted : April 3, 2018 11:32 pm
Matt T
(@Matt_T)
Advanced Member

Matt T,

Presuming for the moment that GigaCrete Caribbean may read this board, did the company contact you and address your issue?

Yes, they did. Sounds like at the time of my contacting Gigacrete they were very busy which is understandable.

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Posted : April 4, 2018 6:32 pm
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

Very interesting! I just looked this up to see if shipping container homes will stand up to hurricanes.

Check out the second section " Question: Are Shipping Container Homes Hurricane Proof?"

shipping container homes

Have you considered looking into a shipping container home?

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Posted : April 4, 2018 6:42 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

The shipping containers are strong. As long as they are sufficiently anchored to earth and all opening's are hurricane rated then the container should survive.

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Posted : April 5, 2018 12:05 am
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

What Scubadoo said. I've seen plenty of homes that have their roofs, and the structure is fine, but their doors and windows got sucked out. The containers tend to get pretty hot inside as well.

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Posted : April 5, 2018 6:18 am
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

Does insulation help keep the containers cool?

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Posted : April 5, 2018 12:14 pm
gigahound
(@gigahound)
Advanced Member

Matt,

Sounds like they do read this forum. 🙂

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Posted : April 5, 2018 7:19 pm
MBJO
 MBJO
(@MBJO)
New Member

Does anyone know how USVI building codes look at shipping container homes? Have been developing plans for years for a little off grid tiny container house. Don't want to build anything that is an eye sore or dangerous.. plan to anchor to slab and cistern. But I'm not really sure where to find building regulations on what is allowed here. Anyone have any suggestions?

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Posted : June 4, 2018 1:40 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Contact DPNR.

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Posted : June 4, 2018 2:45 pm
JRaye
(@JRaye)
Active Member

There was a company at the Ag Fair on Stx that had set up a demo 40ft container house. Contact: www.expeditionbuilding.com 1-866-552-1771 They said they were working with the gov on the permitting process.

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Posted : June 4, 2018 3:06 pm
Jerry Barth
(@Jerry_Barth)
Active Member

Rolando Asencios of Asencios Construction was building a container house last year. As for hurricane proofness I have a 20 footer anchored to a concrete slab on our property. No damage at all from both hurricanes. They do get hot, there is a special paint with glass beads you can put on the outside that will help. We looked into building one but decided to go with the Deltec prefab house instead. They're prettier and of the 20 or so in the USVI only one had damage last year mainly due to not being anchored down properly.

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Posted : June 11, 2018 5:14 pm
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

Two choices here.

1. Pay the exorbitant prices for windstorm insurance (around 3% of replacement value per year). And then wait months or years to get a claim paid after a storm.
Or
2. Overbuild your home and make it capable of handling a cat 4/5, and wave the windstorm insurance all together.

I went with option #2 and rode out both storms inside my home on the east end of St. Croix. The morning after Maria, I walked around it and was blessed to find that not even a gutter had been torn off. Two houses over, the poor guy lost half his roof. Build with cement, full bond-beam to tie in the roof, and avoid overhangs. Only buy windows and doors that are hurricane rated, and permanently affix storm shutters around everything. Spend the extra money during construction, build it right, and you'll thank yourself later.

Yea but with all due respect east end STX saw a FRACTION of what West STX, North STT and entire STJ. I see very few homes in STJ that were completely without damage. I do believe they got the worst of last years storms.

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Posted : June 12, 2018 2:33 am
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

I don't know anyone on STJ that didn't have some damage. The least I've heard of is water and missing gutters. The term we used while doing assessments was "salad" inside the home. Water, dirt, even leaves found there way inside the house through the smallest of places. The pressure was incredible. My ears are still messed up from all of it and pop at the slightest change of pressure.

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Posted : June 12, 2018 6:21 am
singlefin
(@singlefin)
Trusted Member

AandA2VI,
With all due respect, my home is on the top of a hill on STX, and we got a little more than a FRACTION of what the west end got, or St. Thomas or St. John.
And,
Weren’t you living in Florida when both Irma and Maria hit the VI?

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Posted : June 12, 2018 6:09 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

Weren’t you living in Florida when both Irma and Maria hit the VI?

That was Alana.

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Posted : June 13, 2018 12:50 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Yep. That was me in FL.
AandA2 were living on STX on West End during both hurricanes and moved back to STT a few months later.

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Posted : June 13, 2018 5:47 pm
Jpscontainerhomes
(@Jpscontainerhomes)
New Member

Love to help if any questions.

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Posted : December 6, 2018 11:22 pm
Scott_n_Jen_B
(@scott_n_jen_b)
New Member

@singlefin

My girlfriend and and are looking into buying land in the USVI and building. You sound like you have a little experience in the matter and I'd love to talk with you sometime to get some pointers and information.

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Posted : March 6, 2021 4:10 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

@scott_n_jen_b: This thread is 3 years old. You might want to start your own brand new thread...

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Posted : March 6, 2021 7:11 pm
singlefin
(@singlefin)
Trusted Member

@scott_n_jen_b

A lot has happened since this thread was active. So here’s my “Building in the USVI” update:

I’ve learned a lot since beginning this adventure. Few things went smoother than anticipated. Most things took longer than anticipated. More $, more $, did I mention things costing more than anticipated?

I’ve now been under construction for just over two years. The shell is about 85% complete (sealed structure, meaning completed roof, all windows and doors installed, rough plumbing and electrical complete). My wife and I are doing everything else. Roof was finally sealed up a few weeks ago. Gutters & leaders to the new cistern are also in place, hence the lack of recent rain (after one of the wettest falls/winters in a long time).

One of the biggest factors when trying to build here, is also one of the greatest things about living here. There aren’t that many people in the V.I. I’m from a county with a population of 4 million. Dropping back to 50k was pretty awesome, until I needed... craftsmen. Forget everything you know about “stateside” standards. You must immediately lower yourself to island expectations. I know HGTV has done a plethora of coverage on the USVI, but there’s a reason none of their shows involve building new, or renovating in the V.I. Unless your a multimillionaire and can afford to import everything from the states, including your workforce, there will be numerous major issues to contend with.

Besides the lack of quality craftsmen, there’s always a wait for something. Waiting for the rain to stop. Waiting for customs to clear my order. Waiting for a part for a truck, a backhoe, a bobcat. Waiting for that tool I need. Two of the windows we ordered came in damaged. We can have tile delivered directly to our store, but that sink you want has to be delivered to Miami, then shipped through Paradise Freight. “I’m sorry, we don’t ship to international locations (???). I’m sorry, we don’t ship to P.O. Boxes. I’m sorry, we can ship there, but we can’t accept a credit card with your billing address. Etc...”

This is the 2nd home I’m building here, after building my first home in the states back in the 90’s. If I didn’t already have the skills I brought with me, this would have been a complete disaster. My wife and I have been living on site, in a 700 sqft guest house. Living on a construction site, is in itself a challenge, which I do not recommend for the sake of your relationship. However, I hate to think where this project would be if we weren’t here everyday to keep an eye on things. On those days the contractor sends men out to work, I spend those evenings walking around and double checking whatever they’ve done. Are things square and level? I think that window opening is a doorway. That’s not a downspout into the cistern, it’s a vent pipe. Did two guys really spend eight hours doing... just that? 

A huge plus for us, is were retired and still in our fifties. I can’t see how it would be possible to build this house and go to work 9-5, five days a week.

As I’ve promised my wife, this is the last house we’ll ever build. There have been extenuating circumstances of course. Irmaria hit. There were a couple of family issues back in the states. And a worldwide pandemic ripped the fabric of humanity into shreds. I’m not sure, knowing what we know now, that we’d take this on again. Yes, we’ll have a new house with a great view, pretty close to what we envisioned (with adjusted expectations) but it’s definitely questionable whether the amount of time, funds, and the undue stress involved was worth it.

Ill post another update in 2024...

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Posted : March 6, 2021 10:21 pm
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

Thanks for that update.  Since I’m in the business I particularly find all of this interesting.  I am in charge of logistics among other things so I feel your pain. Being a type A kind of person, logistics is the toughest for me. It took me years to accept the fact that there was only so much I could do personally to make things go faster.  

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Posted : March 7, 2021 5:32 am
STTsailor
(@STTsailor)
Trusted Member
  • @singlefin.  
    great report. Building here is an exercise in patients and controlling own frustrations. Everything needs to be supervised down to the last detail. Local building “talent” will take shortcuts that can become apparent months/years later. 
    of course any type of warranty fizzles as soon as the check clears tha bank. 
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Posted : March 7, 2021 9:40 am
Scott_n_Jen_B
(@scott_n_jen_b)
New Member

@singlefinthank you so much for your insight. Great information for us to consider. What are your thoughts on ICF homes? 

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Posted : March 7, 2021 2:19 pm
singlefin
(@singlefin)
Trusted Member

STTsailor, 

“Talent” is the proper term, thank you.

Have no idea about an ICF home. One thing I’d suggest, having ridden out Maria in my guesthouse, stick with tried and true construction methods. It’s a big reason why things take longer to build here, but we’ll worth it over the long haul.

Steel reinforced cement, bond beams, 3” timbers in the roof every 24” apart. Shear mass keeps things on the ground during a big blow. If there’s a “hurricane rated” option on materials (windows & doors especially), take it. Go with stainless (316 if it’s an option) hardware on everything.

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Posted : March 7, 2021 6:25 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

Make sure all your rebar is epoxy coated.  Otherwise your concrete will be spalling in 20 years.

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Posted : March 8, 2021 12:42 am
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