New Construction - ...

New Construction - Shipping Container Home - Is it possible??  

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Posts: 3
New Member
Joined: 2 years ago

My Husband and I are looking to relocate to St Thomas from the great state of Michigan and have been considering using shipping containers to build. My Husband is a licensed Contractor and specializes in New Residential/Commercial building, but I've been doing lots of research and have found a very limited amount of information on building these types of homes on an island, any island.

I understand there are certain building codes you would need to adhere to as far as hurricane proofing, and of course salt proofing (if there is such a thing) but I'm wondering if anyone has heard of, or known anyone to have completed, or been denied for that type of construction.

I have come across several stories where people have used the "pre-fab" homes that basically come in a box and you put them together, so I would assume using the shipping containers would be about the same thing.

Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated!

27 Replies
Posts: 8723
Joined: 11 years ago

someone on stx is currently residing in one. dont know his name though

Posts: 12155
Joined: 7 years ago

Metal shipping containers, IMO, are going to be extremely hot to live in, costing you a ton to air condition. Depending where you're building you may be effected by zoning, HOA rules and regulations (if any) and deed restrictions for the property.

You should contact DPNR about permitting and regulations.
You're still going to need a cistern, septic system, etc.

Homeowner's insurance may be something you'd wish to check into as we do live in a hurricane zone.

What will you use to anchor the containers so they don't get blown away, flipped over or tossed down a hillside in the event of a direct hit hurricane with sustained winds over 150 mph?

Check this out:
Contact VI DPNR for specific details. Any architect should already be familiar with the standard codes and will need to bone up on this link.

Taken from this link:,280477

Posts: 490
Advanced Member
Joined: 5 years ago

Yes you can build with shipping containers.
If it were mine, I'd anchor them right and wouldn't pay for any Hurricane insurance.
Don't believe the concrete myth either, I can show you many wood frame houses that made it through Hurricane Marilyn undamaged. If you build it to survive it will.
Being that your husband is a contractor is another reason I'd do it that way. If you pay Hurricane insurance for 5 years you've paid for a lot of damage that may never happen.
Those houses in Key West are wind loaded and mostly wood.

Posts: 3
New Member
Joined: 2 years ago

I've been to DPNR website but unfortunately there's not a whole lot of information there to review. We've been looking at different properties available and one of my worries is how steep some of the land can be and how we would even begin, but that's a problem for my husband and builders to figure out! 😉

He's thinking we could anchor them into the ground using steel rods welded throughout the home but again, we're way up north and are really only familiar with building codes and regulations here.

Our thought is to pack the containers with most of the building supplies we'd need, send them down and have them delivered on site and go from there but not exactly sure how that would work with Customs.

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