Home / 1st Floor / Building a Shipping Container Home | EP01Permits and Foundation Design

Building a Shipping Container Home | EP01Permits and Foundation Design



In Episode 1 we will go over the basic considerations for buying shipping containers, explain how we got building permits for a shipping container house and show how we constructed the concrete foundations.

Link to the company i bought my shipping containers from: https://www.containerdiscounts.com/buy-shipping-containers-and-build-a-container-home

Follow us on instagram for project updates: https://www.instagram.com/benjaminuyeda/

Shop the Container Home: https://www.homedepot.com/c/openhouse
Explore the Container Home: http://www.uncontained.house/
We are still working on getting the website for this project up and running so please be patient.

Buying the Shipping Containers:
We purchased one trip condition hi-cube containers. California requires that shipping containers used for homes have documentation showing that have not had toxic or radioactive materials in them. This normally means that you need one trip condition containers with appropriate certificates. I bought my containers from
https://www.containerdiscounts.com/shipping-containers-for-sale-home-made-modern
and paid $4800 each for the 40-foot hi-cube containers and $3250 for the 20-foot hi-cube container. Hi-cube containers are a foot taller than typical shipping containers.

Permits:
I recommend going in person to the local building department showing them the survey and asking them for a checklist of everything that needs to be completed to get building permits. The survey is important because it shows the building dept both the physical nature of the property and documents its legal boundaries and history. I explained that I wanted to build a shipping container house and asked for a complete checklist of everything I would need to get done and submit in order to get building permits.

Architectural Design
I used the architecture firm I co-founded, ZeroEnergy Design, to produce the architectural drawings. Even though I am a co-owner I made sure to pay the firm for the hours of preparation that this task would take. It would be unfair to my partners if I used firm resources for my own personal project. I paid $5000 for the creation of the architectural drawings.

Structural Engineering
I sent the architectural drawings over to the structural engineering firm I hired, and they created the structural details and created a package of calculations showing that these details would meet all code requirements and result in a safe and strong building. This package of drawings and calculations was required by the building dept. My architecture firm primarily practices on the east coast and does not have a stamp in California so I had the structural engineering firm stamp the drawings. The building dept gave me the option of having either the architecture firm or the engineering firm stamp the documents.

Foundation design:
We ended up building a monolithic on slab on grade concrete foundation. We worked on designs for some piers that would have saved in material costs but then the space underneath the container would have been classified as a crawl space and the bottom of the container would have to be 18” off the ground at a minimum. This would mean I would have to build stairs and railing for all the decks.

Grading the site and excavating for the foundation
I rented a bulldozer and hired an operator to level a portion of the site where I wanted to place the house. I then rented a back hoe to dig out the footings for the foundation.

Building the forms
The forms were built out of 2x8s screwed to steel stakes that we hammered into the ground.

Reinforcement
We used #4 rebar to reinforce the concrete. This was wired together to match the structural drawings.

Concrete Day
Concrete day was pretty exciting. We had to pump the concrete to one of the foundation slabs because the truck couldn’t get close enough without driving over the other forms.

Check out HomeMade Modern our DIY Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/HomeMadeModern/videos

Check Also

30 X 40 (28 X 38 ) East face house plan walk through

This is the house plan walk through Let’s see the vedio Ground floor plan #2 ...

43 comments

  1. MaMa Jen Vasquez

    Can you delete all the completely irrelevant comments so a person like me can actually find the comments that matter?

  2. I think the UK government must have watched this

  3. The Kochsocare brothers are a stain on the satin sheets of greed and avarice.

  4. Gerardo Aguilera Galarza

    How viable do you believe is the mix beetween cointeners and bioconstruction?

  5. guys got chest implants. go figgur.

  6. Never build in California – the land of fruit and nuts.

  7. I thought the whole point of building a shipping container house was so you didn’t have to go crazy on the footings. It looks like about 25000$ worth of concrete so far.

  8. Hello there. I popped in your videos and I pretty enjoy them. Well done for your effort.
    I am an engineer myself having a background in Greek building code (very tough stuff due to intensive earthquakes over the continent) but also worked and still working on projects for California.
    I need to note at this point that the building codes all across California are way too overestimated to the point that are not cost effective at all. Owners just financially suffer to finish off their investment without actual "engineering reasons" I dare to say.
    In the meantime your engineers are afraid of undertaking the responsibility (due to the strict and sometimes unclear codes) so they come up with solutions that definitely cost a lot more than it should.
    I will give you an example on the "lateral movement" that you mentioned. Just let the self supported element "container" freely move on a leveled surface. It won't go anywhere..You could have implemented supported slabs that could be either screwed in the ground (technology used for PV projects in open spaces) or just deep hammered vertical steel slabs in the ground adding some self expanding concrete to fill up any gaps between the slabs and the soil.
    I hope I managed to give you an idea of how that could work according to my knowledge.
    Many Regards from Greece!
    Andreas.

  9. Why would you build in California? It's the worst managed state in the USA?

  10. Alexander D. Carranza

    Hello Ben….Thanks for the videos! My wife and I are toying with the idea of a container home in the northeast. Right now it’s strictly in visionary stage and we are trying to do as much research as possible to weigh cost and functionality. I noticed you used a structural engineer in Boston. I was curious to know if you were able to share which company you used, if you hadn’t mentioned it. Sorry if I missed it in your video. Thanks so much!

  11. Ok this permit thing and cost you paid for them is bonkers. I’m all for protecting the environment, but , your not building a power plant or anything that pollutes, so, this bureaucratic nonsense is nuts. They should not put you through that for simply putting some empty shipping containers on a foundation.

  12. I would have put in warm floor heating hoses in the concrete slab. They can also be used for cooling.

  13. I"m from Michigan Winters Land,, and NOW here in ADELANTO CA. HEAT Country,,, LEARNING AND SAVING FOR A SIMILAR PROJECT!!!!!

  14. The foundation is way way overkill

  15. Why use a slab when that ground would support a skyscraper !

  16. 25,000. Criminal!

  17. First, thanks for the well-made, detailed video – a refreshing change on YouTube. Second, suggest viewers take just 5 minutes to read comments by others before adding countless duplicates (i.e. the following points have already been made, just thumbs up theirs instead): 1) $25k in permits? Rip off! 2) Metal boxes in the desert? D*mb! 3) Full concrete slab? St*pid! 4) Illegal help? Assumptions make an a$$ out of… Third, there's a reason why nearly 40 million people live in California vs. all others, which start at 10 million fewer. And lastly, millions of shipping containers = opportunity to be environmentally conscious while also helping solve homelessness. Here's just one example: https://www.g-pod.com/dwell.html

  18. I like how he’s soliciting experts for free guidance/info lol

    Very clever

  19. I have to ask, are people still moving to California to live? From everything I've heard, I wouldn't even visit.

  20. you could have bought a helicopter and hired a full time pilot and crew and fuel for 50 years for what it cost to build in california , and you could fly in and when you left you wouldnt have all that crap to smell at night.
    also , you wouldnt have to worry about the ever increasing cost of running a business in california.
    also , you wouldnt have to be worried about the politicians confiscating your wealth as
    soon as a dem gets in the whitehouse that they intend to rename the rainbow house.
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
    etc etc etc etc
    then next year ……..

  21. With all these permits cost no wonder the land is cheap. for such cost, I could buy a Studio in Dubai.

  22. Linas Vaičiukynas

    For a shipping containers we usually go with pillar foundation design, depending on the environment and frost line depth we drill about 1,5m in depth and ~10-20cm in diameter, put in concrete and metal bases just like in your initial drawings. There is also full metal screw in type of pillars, some people use them because they are cheaper alternative, but I am not sure if they are better, those are basically big and long metal screws, they just go in the ground and thats all. These foundations are usually used for smaller constructions.
    The foundation you used here would be considered as too much in most of the countries, we usually use these foundations for a traditional houses, although we make them deeper, that probably depending on a frost line, usually we dig in ~1,5m depth here in Lithuania.

  23. You could have bought a village in India for the money you coughed up in California.

  24. hrishikesh badiyar

    my question is can you really ship this home container and put it again on another piece of land

  25. Lol the democratics fck up everything, over regulate and over tax everything!

  26. What would have worked much better would be to do this excellent project in one of the other 49 states. California is a regulation, fee, and taxation nightmare.

  27. Do not build or start a business in California.☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠

  28. Michael Bagherzadeh

    GOING MOBILE IS LOT LESS $ , YOU SHOULD HAVE INSTALLED WHEELS ON THEM

  29. $25K in permits is a rip off – lf you had to pay the Mafia that before building there would be congressional investigations.

  30. You dont need container house, nowaday have many panel wall, have lightweight , fast build. You can use it for your project

  31. Did you get a permit for this video? Ah, now you're in for it.

  32. What about putting it underground?

  33. Just the permits cost $25,000? What a racket.

  34. I didn't see vibration tool used for those concrete foundations. Why? Control joints are for sure needed also for such a surface, but the vibration will insure the concrete is spread everywhere evenly and no air bubbles or pockets inside. Also you didn't show that you have to sprink water for hours in such sunny hot weather after the concrete pouring, because those well glassed surfaces will otherwise begin to form cracks on the surface, those joints prevents cracks from pressure or temperatures difference expansions (well not so much needed for California probably), but not now when the conrete is drying. That's my limited knowledge on the matter, I hope I'm giving sound advices here.

  35. Godfrey Fernandez

    OMG, did you say $25000 for just permits, I am from india and i have stared getting interested in container homes, its so so so much cheaper in india to get these fabricated and installed. It will cot me just $18 PER SQ.FT which includes all finished fabrication and ready to live in.

  36. Did you just pour a full foundation for a shipping container?! Could just place each corner on pier with anchors. Add ground straps and or build up ground work around perimeter. You could have even just places on grade. That thing would be to stiff to collapse. These don't weight much

  37. Permits cost you $25,000? Yes, I'd say California is a pretty regulation intensive State. What will you say next? That the fictional character King Kong was a fairly large ape and water tends to be wet?

  38. Jake from State Farm

    You lost me at $25k for permits. I'd pack my shit up and get the heck out of that State within a day.

  39. 10 Acers 20,000 dollars? What a nice price

  40. How much

  41. California, the land of "no you can't do that" or "oh, you can do that, but it's going to cost you more than what you actually want to do" or "sissys" 😉

  42. hahahahaha wtf is with all those commyfornia permits!! what a shithole

  43. California, Rules on Top of Rules on top of rules on top of rules, well you guessed it, just goes on and on and on………