Shipping container homes are legal. In some cases, they may even be the preferred building method. The containers are sturdy, weather-proof, and relatively cheap to purchase and ship. They can also be recycled into new containers when you’re done with them.
The only thing you need to make sure of is which building codes apply to your state. Many regions require that shipping container homes be built to the same standards and materials as any other home. In some places, steel shipping containers are specifically excluded from being used as homes.
In addition to any build codes, you’ll also need to make sure you have the correct zoning for your property. This is often where shipping container homes get in trouble, but many cities are starting to adapt to the factory-built housing trend.
If your state or city does not allow for shipping container homes, you may be able to get an exception for a unique home. However, you can build your shipping container home virtually anywhere if you follow the building codes and ensure that it fits into your local zoning.
Where Shipping Container Homes Are Legal
Shipping container homes are legal in all parts of America. They are widely used as temporary housing and as a way to make small spaces more functional. The original containers, designed for overseas transport, are built to withstand even the most extreme weather conditions.
If you are considering building a shipping container home, the best thing that you can do is check with your local authorities to find out what the rules are. You can also contact other container homeowners in your area for any tips that they might have on getting started.
Coding and Zoning Laws
Some regions have specific rules for shipping container homes, including zoning laws. These laws are usually meant to limit the number and type of storage containers used as homes. Towns and cities with large ports may have a lot of regulations on how storage containers can be used. This is because they want to limit the number of containers that fall into disrepair.
If you live in an area with these zoning laws, you need to be aware of them. It’s not against the law to live in a shipping container as your primary residence, but local authorities can fine you if your container isn’t up to their standards.
Stick to local building and safety codes if you want to ensure that your container home passes inspection.
Before you begin any work on your new house, you’ll need a building permit. A building inspector will inspect your site for the following and more:
- Surface Stability: The foundation can support the load without settling or movement.
- Electricity: Light fixtures are properly grounded and in good working order. There are no exposed open wires.
- Plumbing: The home has running water and flushing toilets.
- Accessibility: The route to the main door is safely accessible to anyone, including those with disabilities.
- Exits: There are at least two exits for each room in the home.
- Structural Safety: The roof does not leak, the walls are braced and stable, stairs are structurally sound.
- Wind Resistance: The home can withstand structural damage from winds of up to 90 miles per hour (if built in such an area).
- Residential Occupancy: The home is designed for residential use, not commercial or industrial.
The building inspector will make sure all safety features are in place before giving the go-ahead for you to move in. If all of your local regulations are followed, there should be no problem getting a permit and building your container house. If you have any trouble or questions, contact your local building department.