How does the cost of container construction compare to traditional home construction?
As with any kind of construction, there are a wide range of variables that impact the overall cost. Many of those are driven by the owners’ preferences on mechanical systems, structural components, and interior finishes (much like options on a new car). These choices can affect the overall construction budget for a home to the point of doubling it. Our completed projects have ranged from $100/sq.ft. to $150/sq.ft with the upper and lower limits being the exceptions.
We have found that the final budget also depends heavily on whether you choose a hybrid or container-only design and is significantly impacted by smaller space design. Using nationally published averages for construction budgets, we have determined that across Numen's different designs, our container modules replace between 26% and 48% of the overall construction budget. The higher percentages are achieved only in our Small Space Designs. In every case, more than half of the overall construction budget is determined by the owners' choices for the items mentioned above.
Within the percentage that containers replace, our clients have not only seen savings and extra "bang for the buck" in strength and sustainability, but they have also noted advantages such as reduced build time, increased job site security, and minimal weather impact.
Is rust an issue with this type of construction?
No, rust does not present any structural dangers as long as the containers are prepared properly. Prior to applying the ceramic coating we use for
insulation, we apply a rust remediation product. While rust is a concern for any type of steel construction, it is primarily a cosmetic concern for shipping containers as they are constructed of COR TEN steel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weathering_steel) which was created for applications such as bridges to eliminate the need for paint. As with a wood framed home, it is essential that you properly maintain the exterior paint
of any container structure to extend its overall life.
Are traditional loans available for these structures or are nontraditional loans required due to the type of construction?
Many of our projects have been financed by traditional construction loans. It is crucial to use the correct technical language in communicating with banks, permit departments, inspectors, appraisers, and insurance companies. We are available for consultation to guide you through this process.
Is it difficult to get these structures permitted?
We have not had any difficulty obtaining building permits for the projects we have done to date (all completed projects were within Harris county and met City of Houston building codes). The structure, mechanical systems and insulation of our buildings easily exceed most code requirements.
How much does a used shipping container cost?
Although you can find containers advertised for as low as $1000, they are traditionally heavily used and often severely damaged. These containers, in general, are not aesthetically or structurally viable for home construction.
Our most common "raw" components – 40ft, high cubes (9’6” tall) – “One-trippers” that have been used for import from Europe or Asia and are typically in pristine condition, range from $4000-$5000 depending upon availability. Containers that have actually been in rotation and are more used range from $1800-$2700 depending upon overall condition.
How long does it take to create Numen modules?
There are many factors that affect the final modification time required on a project. We create all of our modules to order, so the two biggest factors by far are the backlog in the shop at the time of ordering and the lead time on any windows and doors needed for the project.
The majority of our projects are delivered 8 to 10 weeks after final shop drawings are approved and deposits are placed.