Shipping Container Home Myths Debunked

Shipping Container Home Myths Debunked

Although they have been popular in various parts for the world for years now, shipping container homes are beginning to draw some interest here in Canada. There is a lot of information available on the internet regarding container home construction, but not all of it is as accurate or true as the authors lead you to believe. In this article we will briefly discuss the single most popular misconception when it comes to shipping container housing: THEIR COST.

A look at what the Hamilton Shipping Container Home will look like once complete - waiting for door and window install before site installation

A look at what the Hamilton Shipping Container Home will look like once complete – waiting for door and window install before site installation – Designed by Jason Halter of Wonder Inc, fabricated by Storstac in Toronto, Canada.

Shipping Container Housing Costs “a lot less” than traditional home building – FALSE

The cost of shipping container housing is the most popular misconception related to container housing that exists today. From internet articles, to news paper and magazine articles to TV shows, various sources have claimed that a shipping container home is an inexpensive alternative to traditional housing that will “save you thousands”.

Here are the facts: Shipping container housing costs nearly as much, if not as much as traditional home builds when you are comparing apples to apples. Let’s say you are building a two story home with a basement. If you were to build a two story home with a basement out of shipping containers, and then you were to build the same square footage home using traditional building methods, the end costs will end up being nearly identical. Using shipping containers to build your home or cottage comes with a number of advantages, but unfortunately, significant cost savings is not one of them. Compared to traditional building methods, a shipping container house could save you upwards of 5-10% of the structures overall cost once the build is complete.

Queen Street West Container Home Extension - Installed - Built at our Toronto, Canada modification facility

Queen Street West Container Home Extension – Installed – Modified at Storstac’s Toronto, Canada modification facility

Why do people claim Shipping Container Housing Costs “a lot less” than traditional home building?

There are various reasons why people claim Shipping Container Housing Costs “a lot less” than traditional home building. Reasons range from using used containers vs new containers, the other costs associated with home building (floors, electrical, plumbing, kitchens, washrooms ect), unaccounted costs of personal time invested in the project. When it comes to using New vs. Used containers for housing/living purposes, we always encourage our customers from to go with new containers instead of using used shipping containers for housing or living in for two reasons.

  • Age: Used containers are typically anywhere from 12-20 years old. They have most likely been around the world a number of times and thus, have been exposed to some of the harshest environments on planet earth. This adds wear and tear to all parts of the container including the exterior, interior and floors. Using a used container is a great way to save money, but the expected life of your shipping container house or cottage will have a much shorter life span with used containers
  • Contents: There is no way to track the contents of a container over its life span. Everything from harmless baby toys, right up to nuclear waste can be transported inside of a shipping container. The last thing you want is to live inside of a home that has transported hazardous materials across the globe.

Shipping containers only account for part of the homes overall costs. Shipping containers make up the structure of a home. Although the structures accounts for a chuck of the overall project cost, things like windows, doors, electrical, plumbing and most importantly final interior finishing (washrooms, kitchens, hardwood floors etc.) vastly outweigh the cost of the structure when all is said and done. Don’t forget that whether something is being installed in a shipping container home, or whether that same something is being installed in a traditionally built home, the costs are the equivalent.

Another dynamic people don’t take into consideration is the “sweat equity” that is put into the build. From shipping container cottages and homes, to “tiny homes”, when a project is undertaken by an individual, the material costs may be the only major element that is factored into a builds final price. What they don’t factor in is the hundreds, and even thousands of hours of their own time they put into their project. This again, significantly impacts the projects final costs further emphasising the misconception that container housing is an inexpensive alternative to shipping container housing.

In this article, we have discussed a few of the factors that contribute to the general misconception that shipping container housing Costs “a lot less” when compared to traditional home building methods. Factors can range from using used containers vs new containers, the other costs associated with home building (floors, electrical, plumbing, kitchens, washrooms ect) and the unaccounted costs of personal time invested in building out the project. If you want to learn more about the services we can offer, feel free to get in touch with one of our shipping container modification experts to discuss your next potential project.

Rendering of what the Queen Street West Shipping Container Extension will look like once complete

Rendering of what the Queen Street West Shipping Container Extension will look like once complete

Storstac Attains ISO 9001:2008 Certification

Storstac Attains ISO 9001:2008 Certification 

Storstac ISO 9001 Certification

(Toronto, Canada) Storstac, Inc. is proud to announce that it has attained certification for ISO 9001:2008 by QAS International, an independent, well-established certification company. ISO Certification compliments Storstac’s ever-increasing commitment to providing customers with the highest levels of quality and service through the implementation and execution of its Quality Management System (QMS). Storstac is one of the  ISO 9001:2008 Certified for the following systems: Shipping container
modification, shipping container Sales, shipping container rentals, custom built from scratch portable building fabrication and for its shipping container depot and repair facility.

ISO 9001 is the global benchmark for Quality Management and a critical tool for boosting a company’s success and market potential. The standard is formed by a quality policy consisting of systems and principles that tie together both business objectives and customer needs. It is an internationally recognized mark of excellence and ensures quality and customer satisfaction are at the forefront of its organization.

About Storstac

Storstac Inc., established in 2005, is located in Toronto, Canada. Storstac does all its modification work locally at its 12,000sqft modification facility (which includes a dedicated paint shop that is MOE approved). Storstac offers its clients various services that include shipping container modifications, new and used shipping container sales, shipping container rentals, shipping container depot services and custom portable building fabrication. Over the years we have modified shipping containers for a host of modified shipping container applications which include (but are not limited to) shipping container housing, shipping container man caves, micro shipping container living spaces, shipping containerized equipment enclosures, modified shipping container storage units, shipping container kitchens, shipping container markets, shipping container food serving kiosks and retail vending spaces, modified shipping containers for the military and a host of other applications.

To learn more about Storstac and our commitment to our customers and quality products please visit us at www.storstac.com

 

Toronto Star – Storstac Container Homes and Tinyhomes Feature

Shipping Container home (s) are drawing more interest in Toronto

storstac-new-old-stock-tinyhome-bunkie

The New Old Stock Designed; Storstac built; off-grid Shipping Container Tinyhome/Bunkie

Costs of Building Homes from recycled materials match price of traditional home construction

By: Tracy Hanes

Special to the Toronto Star

Five years ago, there had been virtually no interest in shipping container homes. Times have changed. “I get two to three queries a day about shipping container homes,” says David Pali, director of business development for Storstac (www.storstac.com), a Toronto company that modifies shipping containers and fabricates portable buildings. While most of Storstac’s business is for commercial or industrial clients (it has created a Tesla showroom and a shop for the Moss Park Market), it also creates residential projects, such as the addition to a Toronto residence/restaurant and a four bedroom house slated for downtown Hamilton.

Most shipping containers are used only one or twice to ship cargo before being abandoned in industrial yards or shipped back to China, where they are manufactured.

Storstac has been in business since 2003. Its president and founder, Vincent Ruggiero, has 40 years experience in the industry. He created ways to recycle discarded shipping containers. He also invented the first portable mini storage units and the first portable wireless telecommunication shelters for the companies that became Rogers, Telus and Fido; created hazardous material storage systems for Ontario Hydro; and created shelters for the Trans-Siberian Pipeline.

Toronto architect Jason Halter of Wonder Inc. Designed both the Hamilton home and two man caves for Hollywood producer Dan Lin, fabricated in Storstac’s yard and shipped to Los Angeles. Halter says shipping container buildings have been around for 25 years in the US.

While raw shipping containers are relatively inexpensive – about $17  a square foot – the other costs are similar to traditional home construction, so these types of homes don’t cost less to build, Pali Says. For example, “you have to do steel work, plus you still need interior stud walls, insulation and mechanical systems.” The Hamilton house for example, will cost about $175 a square foot.

The homes also have to meet zoning and building code requirements.

Storstac only uses containers made of corten (or weathering) steel. which is more resistant to atmospheric corrosion then cheaper “mild” steel. Storstac also has a Ministry of Environment-approved paint booth on site that warms the containers so paint will adhere properly and not peel.

Pali and Halter both expect interest in shipping container houses to continue to build. “they are fantastic building block,” says Pali. “They are stackable modular and movable.”

 

(On the weekend of Saturday October 1st 2016, Storstac was featured in 3 separate articles (including the front page article) in the Toronto Star Homes and Condos section regarding the shipping container homes and tinyhomes/bunkies we have built over the summer. This article featured here was a “special to the star” that was an in print exclusive)

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Storstac featured in the Toronto Star for various housing and tinyhome/bunkie container builds

 

PreFab Containers vs Local Shipping Container Modifications

Not Made in China

Storstac does all of its shipping container modification work at its fabrication facility in Toronto, Canada

Shipping container architecture or “cargotecture” as it is commonly refereed to in the shipping container industry has become quite popular in North America over the last few years. Using shipping containers as the frame work to build shipping container houses, bars, kitchens, cottages, offices etc. is currently more widely accepted and is gaining traction in North America. With this increased appeal and demand for modified shipping container structures there are more and more people out there using high end renderings to try and get their foot in the door in this growing industry. Typically, these prefab container re-sellers are small scale operations (1-3 people) made up of architects and sales professionals that use these renderings to sell prefabricated houses and cottages (among other things) to potential buyers. What most people don’t realize is the fact that these prefabricated buildings, although sold locally, are manufactured and prefabricated on an assembly line in China by a few large shipping container manufacturers (these re-sellers will often refer to the Chinese factories as “Their factory” or “Our Factory”). Although the price tag on these prefabricated shipping container projects is usually somewhat attractive (compared to modifying and fabricating the same thing in North America), that’s pretty much the only positive aspect of buying a prefabricated container building from china as apposed to buying it and having it modified and fabricated locally in North America.

  • Shipping Container…think again – Prefabricated Shipping Container Structures (including houses, cottages etc.). ARE NOT made from real shipping containers. They may look like real shipping containers, but they are not. They are built using different grades of steel and different grades of paint because they are not intended to be shipped on the ocean with cargo. Also, they are built with the various openings in place, they do not take a standard shipping container and cut the openings into them (say for windows, doors, staircases etc.). This means that over time, these prefabricated shipping container buildings will not age the same way a standard shipping container will age as they do not use the same grade of Corten steel that they use on their cargo bound shipping containers
  • Build Quality – China is known for mass producing various goods cheaper then anywhere else in the world. This is positive for things like electronics, clothing and other low cost goods, but China should be the last place you want your new home or cottage to be built. Overall building standards and quality of materials are much lower coming from China, then they are if they are sourced and built locally in Canada. China is NOT KNOWN FOR MANUFACTURING QUALITY GOODS, they are known for manufacturing goods for the LOWEST POSSIBLE COST. We have first hand experience with prefabricated shipping container structures and can attest to the fact that the over all build quality is extremely low. Prefab structure from china use only Chinese made products and materials. This means the interior and exterior materials like your siding, insulation, walls, floors, electrical, plumbing, kitchens, appliances, bathroom fixtures etc. will all be made in China (compared to a local fabricator like us who will source locally made insulation, walls, floors, electrical, plumbing, kitchens, appliances, bathroom fixtures etc. simply because that’s what’s available for purchase in North America).
  • Material Quality – As mentioned previously, prefabricated shipping container buildings from china are made with Chinese parts and steel. Here at Storstac all of our shipping container modifications use Canadian made parts and steels. Things like our doors, windows, steel (used for things like framing openings and reinforcing when required) are all made in Canada. This is a huge bonus because generally anything Made in Canada/ U.S.A. is usually superior then the same item Made in China regarding overall quality, durability and longevity. Also, if your brand new window has a defect, but its from china, how do you warranty that window for replacement?
  • Standards of Building – Building standards in Asia are vastly different then in Canada and North America as a whole. Door sizes, hallway widths, staircase clearance and even minimum clearances of doors and washroom fixtures are different in Asia then they are in North America and Canada. One overlook on say the size of your washroom or the position of the door, and your door might be opening right into the toilet or sink, (literally, we have seen this happen in the past).

Still not convinced that a locally designed and modified container structure is right for you? Feel free to pass by our office to talk with one of our modification experts on why your next project should be built right here in Toronto, Canada.

 

china factory

Shipping Container…Think Again.

China Prefab Factory

Prefab containers inside one of the largest prefab companies in China

Portable Storage Solutions @ Storstac

(Toronto, Ontario) Storstac  is proud to house one of Ontario’s largest portable storage container fleets. Our portable storage container fleet features premium grade painted shipping containers. Easy open doors, lock boxes and an attractive paint job put our portable storage containers ahead of our competitors bar none. Whether your looking to to free up some space for renovations, your working on a construction site and need somewhere to securely store your tools/materials, or your looking to inexpensively expand your on site storage space, Storstac portable storage containers will meet any and all of your storage needs. Looking for a modified container? We do that too! With over 40+ years in the business of modifying shipping containers we take on any job big or small. Need a roll up door, man door, window, retail container kiosk or complete container home? We do it all. We are the Oldest, Largest, Most Experienced container modification company in Ontario (located in Toronto).

Storstac Portable Storage

TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Official Supplier

Storstac is joining the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games as an Official Supplier. The Canadian‐owned and operated company based out of Toronto will provide the city’s monumental sporting event with over 250 premium storage containers, delivering them throughout the game’s venues and locations for various purposes.

“Storstac is proud to join the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games,” said Vince Ruggiero, President of Storstac. “Our firm has over 40 years of experience in the shipping container industry with knowledgeable and capable staff to handle a job of this magnitude. From dispatching each container in our 6 acre yard in Toronto, to the logistics of delivering each unit to its intended destination.”

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