Container Home Construction Provides a Fast and Cost-Effective Alternative for Achieving Permanent, Comfortable, Durable and Stylish Homes.
When Considering Any Alternative Construction Method, It Is Diligent To Ask The Right Questions. Here We Address Those We Most Commonly Hear, As Well As Dispel Some Popular Misconceptions....
We live in the tropics.... don't these container homes get too hot?
No, but they certainly would if correct practice is not applied. The key elements are shading, insulation and airflow. Some home-sites may provide natural shading, although at Eco Kompakt, all container constructions for the purpose of habitation, will carry an independent roof.
These are normally simple, galvanized sheet structures that keep the container skin shaded from direct sunlight, but also provide protection from the weathering and acoustic effects of tropical rainfalls, with the correct pitch for run-off of rainwaters to guttering and drainage, and to carry solar panels, if required.
Aside from examples where a container home is to be externally clad, Eco Kompakt utilize two methods of insulation, which combined, give R24 insulation value. Where the home is to be covered externally for appearance, the same insulation method is applied externally.
At Eco Kompakt, we survey your site conditions to make maximum advantage of environmental aspects, such as cooling breezes, and correct design orientation to sunlight for placement of glazing.
How durable is a steel container home against blocks and concrete.... Doesn't steel just rust away in the end?
No, not if properly maintained. Shipping containers are built to withstand the harshest conditions at sea, and are made from patented, high-tensile, corrosion resistant, Corten® steel.
The maintenance schedule is in line with traditional construction types, with fresh paints needing to be applied every few years. There are no maintenance aspects needing consideration that are not routine with any other type of home.
At Eco Kompakt, all products and finishes are considered at design stage to minimize routine maintenance.
A shipping container home will last for as long as it is cared for.
I live on the mountainside.... Can I have a container home?
When planning a container home, consideration should be given to the suitability of the home-site.
A site must be accessible to heavy transport and lifting equipment. In Costa Rica, accessibility can sometimes be dictated by the season, so the correct time of year to build is another factor in some cases.
Generally, a container home construction pad should be relatively flat, as some of the economic advantage of building with containers is lost to greater foundation and/or added structural steel requirements.
That said, some of the best examples of multi-container structures around the world, have been designed to take advantage of inclines and the bonus advantages they offer, such as unbroken views. As long as the access to the property allows, most things are possible.
Future climatic conditions and unpredictable weather concern me..... How do container homes stand up to the changes we might face?
In a nutshell?..... Extremely well!
In more detail..... An unmodified container, correctly anchored to it's reinforced concrete pier foundation, will withstand wind speeds of up to 145 mph, nearly a force five hurricane. Shipping containers rate grade 12 for wind resistance, withstanding 196lbs/sqf to lateral force applied. That is nearly nine times greater than that required of US building code.
In Costa Rica, hurricane force winds are extremely rare events.
Ok, but what about the earthquakes..... we get a few big wobbles?
The structural frame of a shipping container is seismically tested to, and exceeds loads greater than in compliance with California code. Shipping containers are a seismic 'pass' for planning purposes, and no further consideration needs to be given to their performance as shake and rattle proof construction modules.
But floods...... Costa Rica experiences high rainfalls at certain times of year and a lot of flood damage to property?
Our shipping container homes are always built 2 feet off the ground on raised concrete pier sections, making flooding extremely unlikely.
The height of the pier foundations can be increased for construction on land which may be more susceptible to floodwater.
Can I be less dependent or off-grid for energy with a container home?
Yes. At Eco Kompakt, energy efficiency is already built in to our design specification, with features such as full insulation, low energy LED lighting, inverter-type air-conditioners and double-pane insulating glazing available as an optional.
With grid electricity being one of the higher monthly expenses here in Costa Rica, powering with solar electricity, made possible by advancements in battery storage technology, or with grid-tie metering to the national supplier, ICE.
Eco Kompakt can accommodate design specifics and equipment installations for the following ease of solar powering installations.
Ok...... so what does a container home cost?
The cost of a fully finished container home depends on a number of variables, such as construction size, finishes level, location, foundation requirements, connection to existing service infrastructure and energy saving/producing features included.
Typically, the price of a container construction will be 30% lower than that of a traditional, seismic, block and concrete home, to the equivalent standard of finishes and equipment level. Container construction rate is more closely comparable to far cheaper and less durable lightweight frame type construction.
In beach areas, where the cost of construction is typically higher than nearer metropolitan areas, upper finish level concrete homes are typically at $140 per square foot, or approximately $1500 per square meter.
We are currently finishing luxury level homes for $98 psf, or $1050 per square meter.
Please visit our 'MODELS' page to see some of our pre-designs and built homes, for turnkey pricing information.