Container homes  

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Ohana
(@Ohana)
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September 16, 2012 4:26 pm  

Aloha,
I have seen great pictures from homes build from shipping containers. They seem to be hurricane prove and cheap to build.
Did anyone has seen or build one on the islands.
Just curios, since it is a new way of building.
We are considering to build a home like this on our lot in StT.
Thanks, Jack


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ms411
(@ms411)
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September 16, 2012 4:51 pm  

Housing plans have to be approved, and I don't think anybody has yet submitted a container home for approval. Why don't you be the first? Since this is an election year, I'm submitting ideas to all the senators who have asked for public input. Container homes just might be an issue one of them might want to take up, because it's meets so many needs.

BUT, I've only seen them on flat land. Do you have info on how they can be used on hilly terrain?


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nadirfend
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September 16, 2012 8:09 pm  

I too have been wondering about this building method (on STX). They seem like maybe a good fit for the island(s).(?) While not necessarily cheaper than 'standard built', they certainly make use of an abundant resource, in a re-use sort of way, of what is nearly an environmental hazard (i.e. the world is FULL of containers!).

These folks (albeit shipping to the islands area would be KILLER from where these are fashioned) have a nice approach;

http://www.cargotecture.com/index.html

Re: Building on non-flat land... It appears that they require only concrete pylon foundations, which are finished with a 'hook' type fastener on the top (attached to the rebar in the pylon), and the containers are then 'strapped' to that hook. And yes, once attached, they apparently have the ability to withstand 200mph+ winds...

I've been looking at these for MONTHS (with STX in mind), but have not ventured into the realm of attempting to seek permitting for such... yet.

Anyone else with permitting/architectural-approval experience on STX have any input on this subject? Inquiring minds are curious (and a terrible thing to waste...

😉


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ms411
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September 16, 2012 8:21 pm  

Somebody's got to go first, so I think one of you should submit your plans. There are often containers listed for sale, and it would be better if someone bought them for housing instead of storage. Others have tried to bring kit homes to the market, and they didn't do well. I would love to see container homes approved for STX if no other USVI.

I'lll be monitoring this thread for updates.


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Ohana
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September 16, 2012 9:31 pm  

A good welder, and carpenter must be able to build it right on the spot, no need to get a prefab one from the Continental, this saves lots of money.
They can indeed be build also on steep lots with a concrete floor foundation and or concrete wall /pilarfoundations for instance.
Really hope to find some one who went to this process allready, and Thank you that you people allready shared their knowledge and forwarded a good web page,.
Not that we are contractors, but We have build several of our former homes ourselves, with the help of good laborers, and of course we had all the permits.
YouTube has also interesting video's about the building process.
One of the steps is I think to contact the building department , just informal, asking questions. This counts for every one who is seriously interested and share info at this message board.


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applepie
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September 16, 2012 9:43 pm  

More Junk on the Islands, if you can't afford to build a proper home stay where you are. Why do people think cheap is acceptable. I hope they never approve or allow living in a container. Just my 2 cents.


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Ohana
(@Ohana)
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September 16, 2012 10:02 pm  

Container homes can be more beautiful, safer and environmental friendly than any other home. "Stay where we are" well, we can always consider that, we live in Hawaii, in a beautiful home, surrounded by ocean and palm trees.
Aloha and thanks!


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applepie
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September 16, 2012 10:23 pm  

You're Welcome!


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OldTart
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September 16, 2012 10:25 pm  

More Junk on the Islands, if you can't afford to build a proper home stay where you are. Why do people think cheap is acceptable. I hope they never approve or allow living in a container. Just my 2 cents.

Did you take the time to look at the models on the website linked?


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applepie
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September 16, 2012 10:36 pm  

Yes, my opinion junk houses are junk houses there is nothing beautiful about them. There is nothing wrong with building a beautiful west Indian style house. Did you ever see a steel box when it's not maintained, rust bucket, rust bucket ,rust bucket. You know tart everybody has an opinion, I don't much care for a tree house either.


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beachguyvi
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September 16, 2012 10:38 pm  

I think it is a great idea! Not sure what a 'proper' home is. Anyone that has access to MLS, there was a three container home for sale on STJ a while back. It was not finished, but I think it was comprised of three containers. Might be something to look up if you are interested.


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OldTart
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September 16, 2012 11:03 pm  

Yes, my opinion junk houses are junk houses there is nothing beautiful about them. There is nothing wrong with building a beautiful west Indian style house. Did you ever see a steel box when it's not maintained, rust bucket, rust bucket ,rust bucket. You know tart everybody has an opinion, I don't much care for a tree house either.

When those small temporary post-hurricane houses were sold off a few years back, someone purchased one and put it on a small lot in Smith Bay on St Thomas. What they did with it was absolutely charming. They added nice windows and doors, put in some fencing, nicely painted it and added some surrounding plantings - basically turned a dowdy looking modular house into a nice little home without spending a ton of money. Not a "junk house" at all. No property from the grandest to the simplest looks nice when it's not properly maintained.


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applepie
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September 16, 2012 11:12 pm  

That's your opinion, not mine. You just don't get it.


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nadirfend
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September 16, 2012 11:16 pm  

SH-1

SH-3

Hideous and atrocious. "More junk". NOT.

Don't think of them as "shipping containers".... think of them as "structurally-sound building blocks". Once past the initial notion of "container", and expanding the mind to the notion of "building blocks", there is much to be said about using them as structural elements in architectural design, from simple to complex.

Anyway... I think I've seen (via satellite images, and a few trips to STX) at least about 1000 containers sitting around in shipping yards there. Not to mention the ones sitting around in folks yards as 'sheds'. - As mentioned before, they are nearing the classification of being an 'environmental hazard'. (There are neighborhoods in Los Angeles where the sun sets 2 hours earlier than a few blocks away, as these things are stacked 9-high in shipping yards across the street. I've heard a statistic that there are millions of them shipped from China each year, and since we ship less back to there (or anywhere else for that matter) we end up keeping something like 40% of them... stacked up in shipping yards... Now THERE is some JUNK!!)

There are MANY architects around the planet that are designing around/with shipping containers. - In the USA, not so much... due in large part to quickly being dismissed by preconceived ideas of them being 'junk'.

Somehow, I suspect that the use of them in/as dwelling design is coming to a neighborhood near you... like it or not.

I also strongly suspect that something like "aesthetic consideration" will follow along with their use.


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Isl girl
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September 16, 2012 11:36 pm  

That is very cool! Great idea! 🙂


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OldTart
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September 17, 2012 12:22 am  

That's your opinion, not mine. You just don't get it.

Please don't tell me what I "don't get". I "got" what you said. I just have a different opinion than you but I'm not denigrating you for holding that which you have.


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loungestx
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September 17, 2012 12:32 am  

Not sure that it would be any less in the long run to build with them. But if it is what you like, go for it. Of course instead if termites you do have the rust issue. But that said it is certainly not something to get twisted up about. God forgive us if we don't all live in the exact same style home,(or have a pleasant conversation about it).


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nadirfend
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September 17, 2012 1:13 am  

"Rust never sleeps" (thank you Neil Young)... nor do termites. 😉

Indeed... as mentioned somewhere above, they are not really any less expensive to build, 'in the long run'. But the 'end result' (at the $400/sq.ft building costs associated with island-building) if done 'correctly', and properly designed/sealed/insulated/adorned, with septic/water infrastructure and appropriate interior fixtures, might very well be a comparable dwelling (structurally and accommodation-wise), to others built using 'traditional methods'. And hey, one (or two, or three) less container(s) sitting in a Crowley-owned storage yard isn't a horrible side-effect. 😉

I love the West Indian style house. Lots. - I also like Frank Lloyd Wright's designs, Victorian design, tee-pees, yurts, and these things (lots, again): monolithic domes (esp. the little cabins shown towards the bottom of that page).


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blu4u
(@blu4u)
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September 17, 2012 2:28 am  

Who recalls the old Senior Pizza?

Believe it or not the Ground-up construction costs (after site prep) are more for a "container house". In my experience, one can build a modest west indian "influenced" home for less. Check list for sustainable building: 1) the site, 2) interior sqft, 3) orientaion, 4) window + Doors, 5) simple finishes. 8) materials.
Problems encountered stateside:
Containers are NOT "rated" as habitable structures, therefore have no compatible ratings for siesmic enginering. fire and wind and other structural code.
Interior space is limited to container (plus connection), therefore sub-floor + floor build-ups, finish wall, cellings, insulation limit space.
Only a limited number of container walls, in certain places, can be removed and still maintain structeral integrtiy.
Insurance, Insurance, Insurance.
I love the container idea, but not for the VI.
The lack of under-story for cistren and pumping, flat roof, RUST you can't replace a rusted panel and expect the house to remain plum.
Containers make fine temp housing in the VI (like a place to rest your head while the main residence is completed.
Some of the southwest and west coast (CA, OR, AZ) are good climate zones for reclyed housing.
Too much weather (very cold, high snow fall, too hot, hurricane) is not compatible either. Think sunny so cal.
If you are truly interested PM me with specific question and i'll provide "green links" . I'm not up for another public message board battle over facts.

I love this designer and she rates for wind (pre-fab not contariner, not for the VI") http://www.rocioromero.com/


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terry
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September 17, 2012 11:04 am  

There is at least one on STX plus several businesses in some. I asked the people that issue permits about them and was told no problem as long as you have the proper things; electrical, windows, plumbing, etc. Have been told you should replace the floors unless you buy a new one as you don't know what chemicals may have leaked into the wood and could cause health problems.


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Matt T
(@Matt_T)
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Posts: 261
September 17, 2012 1:39 pm  

Just drive through Frenchtown and you can see all sorts of ways to build using containers. The Frenchies have been doing this for decades.


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Ohana
(@Ohana)
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Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 12
September 17, 2012 5:12 pm  

All of you, as well as the info on the Internet, really are inspiring us to get very serious about building a gorgeous, , hurricane safe and environmentally friendly home. So we booked a flight, will arrive October 17, for one week, do more "home-work" as well will check French town , also hope to "find"the 3 container home in St.John, which was on the MLS listing,
In the mean time continue to gather all the info you are sharing with us.
Thank you to all of you, and please keep writing!
Jack


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cdsp
 cdsp
(@cdsp)
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September 18, 2012 6:30 pm  

Wow! Realy?


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cdsp
 cdsp
(@cdsp)
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September 18, 2012 6:37 pm  

Sorry - that was meant to be in reference to applepie's first post
just in shock at the negativity!

some very cool things have been made out of containers!!!
I am all for the reuse aspect of these.

regarding affordability "stay were you are"
double wow!

IMHO


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applepie
(@applepie)
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Posts: 63
September 18, 2012 11:26 pm  

cdsp.
In the late 60's the down islanders swarmed to the USVI and lived in cardboard Boxes. It took years to get rid of the boxes. Steel shipping container were not made to be lived in just like cardboard boxes. Maybe you would like to be the first to have one planted next to your home. Not me so call me negative WOW.


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