You can learn more about containerization and its impacts in this fascinating Wikipedia article.
Like other industrial detritus, shipping containers can be a bit difficult to find / move. This Instructable is to help you find and get a container or 10.
This is the first entry in a (long) series I'll do on converting a shipping container into an off-grid, open-source, affordable house. If you enjoy it, please consider supporting my Kickstarter project and/or forwarding it on. Thanks!
Step 1: Research Regulations
As of this writing, I live in Austin, Texas. Codes vary substantially from place to place, so you'll have to verify for your own locale what the deal is.
Here's how I found out I'd (probably) be enforcer-free:
- google: austin city building code
- click on first result, go to some austin city webpage
- click on 'frequently asked questions' then 'inspections and permits' then 'permits' then 'do i need a permit?'
- sweet! under 'work exempt from permits':
One-story detached accessory structures, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet (18.58 m2).
Please keep in mind that although you do not need a permit to build or install the structure you must still abide by any zoning rules and regulations in regards to height, setbacks and trade permits. If you decide to install electricity or plumbing systems into the structure you will be required to obtain those trade permits. Please visit the ‘Zoning’ page to find out what which regulations apply to your home in regards to structure height and/or yard setback areas."
I want to make sure I'm ok on my planned rooftop deck, so on to the zoning page. yikes: forget it. I'll just do it and take my chances. I think I'm supposed to be at least 5 feet from my neighbor's fences or something...
If you can't avoid zoning issues through an exemption, you're in for a process. Check out what others have done for inspiration / examples. The good folks of The Shipyard, a collection of workspaces consisting largely of shipping containers in Berkeley, California, have been so kind as to publish their use permit details. You can check it out here.