Why Use Shipping Containers For Building

Shipping containers made out of corrugated steel have been the primary method of transportation for the world’s cargo industry for over 60 years. 

Their unmatched convenience, flexibility, and durability made them the premium option within the industry, the unmatched king of cargo. 

But the rise of the Off Grid lifestyle has seen a boost to the idea of using shipping containers for building structures; for living, working, exercising, for anything you can think of. 

This blog goes into details on some of the benefits of shipping containers and why we should use them as buildings.


The beauty of using a shipping container for a building is that they’re extremely versatile. Using a shipping container as a base for whatever project you have in mind is like using LEGO as a child to let loose your creativity. It gives you the freedom to execute your vision however you want. 

And much like LEGO, a shipping container is portable. Thanks to their intended purpose of hauling cargo, they are designed to be easily and safely transported to wherever they are needed. So if you’ve got your dream shipping container office in your garden but for one reason or another needed to move across the country, your office can come with you with minimal fuss. 

Do I Need a Building Permit for a Shipping Container?

For many, the process of securing planning permission can feel like hard work on top of stress on top of tedium, but for shipping containers it can actually be fairly simple. 

Generally, if you don’t plan on living exclusively in the shipping container, it will be classed as a temporary structure, so should be exempt from all building permit requirements. 

There are always exceptions, such as if your land is in an area of outstanding natural beauty (lucky you). In that case, the local council may prevent you from placing a shipping container on the land to preserve the scenery.

Different councils may have different rules and allowances, so we recommend you always check in with them before placing any orders for peace of mind.


One of the great ‘head-turners’ of using shipping containers for building is the price. There are estimated to be over 43 million shipping containers in the world today, almost 20 million of those are believed to be out of use. 

That’s an awful lot of containers that could be repurposed and made into something special. This huge amount of containers out there, paired with the relatively low demand makes buying one a fairly cost-effective endeavour.                                                                                                                                                                                     

Are Shipping Container Homes More Cost-Effective to Build?

Generally, yes. The sheer amount of shipping containers out there ready for you to transform to fit your vision means that they have low purchase prices, especially when compared to the price of other building materials for a more traditional brick and mortar building. 

Another advantage of a shipping container home that will cut down on the impact to your bank account is time. 

If you want to construct a small building on your property in the traditional sense, you will have workers on your land for weeks, toiling away with expensive resources, digging up the land and disturbing you and the neighbours. 

Starting from scratch costs money. With a shipping container home, a couple of the steps come pre-done. A shipping container home starts with four walls, a floor and a roof, saving you time and money. 


For over 60 years shipping containers have been the primary method of transporting cargo across the planet. 

One of the most important aspects of the longevity of the shipping container is its unmatched durability. 

Shipping containers are designed to be strong enough to withstand anything. No matter the environment, a shipping container is designed to withstand it. 

A shipping container home is the perfect choice no matter where you live, no matter how hot or cold, how wet or dry. From a Carribean beach, to the isolation of Alaska, to the outskirts of a small village in Surrey, your shipping container home can handle it all. 


If we stick to the course we’re on now, experts predict the future of our planet’s environment to be bleak. Billionaires are looking to the stars for solutions, but have we really given up on the world around us? 

At Live Off Grid we believe that everybody can do more to help the environment and slow down the effects we are having on the future of the planet.

Almost half of all the world’s shipping containers are unused, many of them find themselves wasting away in shipyards, negatively affecting the planet. 

Breathing new life into them by rescuing them from a life of waste and degradation can have a hugely positive impact on the planet. 

Traditional housing seems to be going up left, right and centre across the country, look away for two minutes and there’s a new estate going up somewhere. 

This constant use of natural resources is negatively impacting the planet, and the Co2 produced per house built is similar to that of 24 flights from Heathrow to China, or six brand new family cars. 

Repurposing old shipping containers for building removes the need for new resources, limits the Co2 usage, and saves the container from degrading into the environment. A win-win-win.  

Why Use Shipping Containers For Building

The earliest discovered use of humans using bricks for building is around 7000 BC in Southern Turkey. This makes bricks one of the oldest known building materials. 

The shelf life of bricks compared to that of shipping containers is like comparing the life of the sun to a fly. They just can’t be compared. 

Building with shipping containers as a concept may be in its infancy compared to more traditional brick and mortar, but it is an idea rapidly growing in popularity and expertise. 

It is an idea with a great deal of merit and benefits. From durability, to flexibility, to sustainability. If you want to build a structure on your land, a shipping container could be perfect for you. 

For more information on why using shipping containers for building your dream structure could be right for you, or to find out more; from shipping container homes to pools, please don’t hesitate to contact our team. 

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