Shipping Container Home Troubles


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Hey Experienced Users,

 

I'm using X12, I'll add a picture and my file to be sure I don't waste anyone's time. I'm a Remodel Contractor, and Design Company. Using this tool to bring in the green :)

 

I have a client that wants to build a home from shipping containers, so here we go. I started building a generic container to start my design. I'm trying to develop a shell with the framing and interior wall stuff already in place. Thought is, at that point I can start stacking, and placing containers, then go in and make openings, and do all the cool stuff. Problem: my ceiling/roof is higher than my wall. 3 hours later I need help.SHIPPING CONTAINER HOME 1.plan

 

Thanks all,

 

Mark

I&C Construction

Screenshot (34).png

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You will need to carefully consider the process and methods you use.

Something is wrong with your uploaded plan file...  It says Unavailable for some reason.

Be sure to save and close the file before uploading and Zip if over 14MB.

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58 minutes ago, joey_martin said:

Talk them out of it!

...or at least look seriously into what it will take to complete a shipping container home. Will there be permits? Or is this a backyard project with no inspections? If it's a permitted project let's just say you will have a lot of fun getting the engineering done as a start. There's a couple threads here re: shipping containers that might be enlightening.

 

As far as your picture it looks like there might be some roof framing that's not showing that makes it looks like your roof is too high. You can adjust the roof framing, turn its layer on if it's not, or perhaps lower the roof but getting a plan so we can view it is your best bet.

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13 hours ago, mmebsc said:

Hey Experienced Users,

 

I'm using X12, I'll add a picture and my file to be sure I don't waste anyone's time. I'm a Remodel Contractor, and Design Company. Using this tool to bring in the green :)

 

I have a client that wants to build a home from shipping containers, so here we go. I started building a generic container to start my design. I'm trying to develop a shell with the framing and interior wall stuff already in place. Thought is, at that point I can start stacking, and placing containers, then go in and make openings, and do all the cool stuff. Problem: my ceiling/roof is higher than my wall. 3 hours later I need help. SHIPPING CONTAINER HOME 1.planUnavailable

 

Thanks all,

 

Mark

I&C Construction

Screenshot (34).png

Plan file doesn't work to check but by chance did you manually drag your walls down?  If so that is the issue.  Select the four walls open the wall dbx on the structures dbx select default wall top and bottom.  Otherwise its just a guess until we see a plan file.

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Hi Mark

 

We've been through this process and actually worked through all the engineering and R+D for everything from electrical compliance to how to have HVAC working, to condensation control... permits, transport, you name it. With that in mind... 

 

Without knowing to what extent you want to use containers in the home design/structure there were three things straight away that we found in the approach. 

  1. Laying out containers to configure a floor plan revealed design compromises most people aren't willing to make. That's why almost every 'container home' image concept you see shows the entire thing in one container.  We overcame that by figuring out the engineering to make two containers into one open space and went from there.  That said, I wouldn't use Chief to do this.  Depending on whether the containers ARE the home or just part of it, I would create a simple box first in eg Sketchup that I could move around and duplicate to get a rough draft layout with the client.  Then I would build the finished design in Chief as best you could.  The reality is though that if you really are doing this out of containers then I don't think Chief is the right software for you.  For example, the corners of a container are the load points and sit slightly proud of each of the walls/floor/roof.  The upper side rails all vary in thickness, design and size depending on the manufacturer of the specific container.  Same with the doors and mounting points on the end of the container.  While the international standards ensure common points, it's amazing how much variation there is once you drill down into it.  We have CAD's of most container types but they are only a guide.  It's a nightmare to detail correctly and IMHO way beyond the scope of Chief.
  2. The public have a love affair/notion that building with shipping containers are a cheap way to recycle and re-use containers.  It's not.  The reality is that you can't use much more than a single use container as you don't know what insecticides/chemicals have been used and transported in the container and are still residually present in the timber floor.  Cutting windows and openings requires the use of a plasma cutter or a TONNE of grinder blades as they are made from Corten steel.  Each opening you make means there is reinforcement of the container needed at that point and you need an engineer who understands the load paths of the containers themselves.  The compliance required to ensure the electrical system is not exposed to condensation, the connection detail for plumbing of toilets, the list goes on.....  IMHO the reality of executing the engineering and compliance requirements outweighs the benefits of re-purposing containers...
  3. Most designs you see where people have built container homes simply involve using a couple of containers in place and then building a normal house around them.  To me the reality of doing this is more a romance of the notion than any savings or engineering advantages.  If I were doing it this way then you can easily find CAD drawings of containers on the net which you could import and use as a symbol then build your normal house and framing around it with attention to your connection details drawn separately.

Otherwise if the whole house is to be made from containers I would do a lot of research into the realities and have a good chat with your client before proceeding too far.

 

Cheers

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I actually built a shipping container structure in La Jolla, CA. If you don't know where that is it is in one the most highly regulated areas in CA. Shipping containers are amazingly strong and structurally sound - until you cut a window or door into them. That's where the engineering fun begins as they are suddenly worthless from an engineering standpoint. If it's in your back yard I would have no problem. Permitted and inspected? I echo everything John_Charles put so well above, and then some.

 

I recently watched a video of a young couple who built from a couple of containers and they framed up the interior walls for electrical and insulation, then drywalled and could have done the same thing for way less if there was no container in the way. On the other hand these sorts of explorations and experiences can lend a huge amount of knowledge to your portfolio but if you decide to actually build with shipping containers beware and carefully read what John has posted above.

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Sorry about that, I'll try the file again. Thanks for all the input. I've done some research on the logistics of a container home in our area, but still have a lot of research to do. My clients have also put a fair amount of time doing research. Hopefully we come up with something realistic, or bail on the idea. Thanks John_Charles for all the details. Gives me a great perspective I can share with my clients.

SHIPPING CONTAINER HOME 1.zip

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40 minutes ago, mmebsc said:

Sorry about that, I'll try the file again. Thanks for all the input. I've done some research on the logistics of a container home in our area, but still have a lot of research to do. My clients have also put a fair amount of time doing research. Hopefully we come up with something realistic, or bail on the idea. Thanks John_Charles for all the details. Gives me a great perspective I can share with my clients.

SHIPPING CONTAINER HOME 1.zip 158 B · 0 downloads

You have to make sure that you have it completely closed out of chief before you upload it or it's blank still.

 

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8 hours ago, rgardner said:

by chance did you manually drag your walls down?  If so that is the issue.  Select the four walls open the wall dbx on the structures dbx select default wall top and bottom.  Otherwise its just a guess until we see a plan file.

Yes that time the file worked.

 

Yup as I thought manual wall manipulation strikes again.  Try to get out of the habit of manually dragging walls as 95-98% of the time it is unnecessary and 100% of the time it causes an issue later on. Long wall on the right I just re-selected the Default Wall Height for top and it flushed up to the roof you did.  Showing you the left one and where to fix it in the picture.

 

image.thumb.png.6683f243c87b3bf7fe073ff09aa3fb1f.png

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21 hours ago, mmebsc said:

I'm trying to develop a shell with the framing and interior wall stuff already in place. Thought is, at that point I can start stacking, and placing containers, then go in and make openings, and do all the cool stuff.

 

This statement raises some red flags to me.  Assuming you decide to go forward with using containers, I would strongly recommend you change course with your preliminary modeling plans.  You can't just stack and reposition the 3D room once you model it once.  It doesn't quite work that way.  Instead, I would recommend just starting with a symbol, solid, or architectural block and then copy/reposition that as necessary.  Once you have a rough idea of what you're doing design wise, then you can model walls, windows, doors, roof planes, etc. around those objects.

 

I would personally very seriously consider just making myself a primitive solid shaped exactly like the shipping container.  Copy, paste, and reposition that around as necessary.  Then, model around that, aligning walls, windows, doors, floors, ceilings, etc. to those solids using boolean operations as you go for all cutouts.  This will help keep things as accurate as possible.  As you're modeling you'll be forced to consider the actual container structure, and all the cuts you'll be making.

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14 minutes ago, Alaskan_Son said:

I would personally very seriously consider just making myself a primitive solid shaped exactly like the shipping container.  Copy, paste, and reposition that around as necessary.

Solid advice from Michael on the actual process of how to model it.  Just to add something that may help you in this course is that there is actually shipping containers pre-modeled in a bonus catalog.

 

 image.thumb.png.9e20c9acc6418c4ee5aaa3fa1d24c378.png

 

But they are basically shapes that you can place to show a container and are not "smart" or dynamic where you can add windows and doors.  Chief is an Architectural modeling program so you have to work within it's constraints.  It works off of rooms, walls are set by ceiling and roof heights will be filled from that room to the bottom of your set roof.  Opposite is true to your foundation in the other direction.  You need an 8' high room you set the ceiling at 8' and draw your walls...

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Thank you very much rgardner, and Alaskan_son. Lots to consider from everyone. I like the idea to use solid blocks. I'll give it a try. I'm a newbie, so I think this design is above my pay grade, but I love a challenge, and we'll see if it makes sense to do in the end. appreciate everyone's input.

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