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Prefabrication and Modular Homes – The Role Of Shipping Containers

Prefabrication homes and modular homes have been a popular trend for many decades now, with cost-effective manufacturing being one of the drawcards for home buyers. While there have always been a variety of processes involved in the manufacture of these homes, one trend that’s on the rise in recent times is the use of shipping containers in their manufacture. This article will focus on the humble shipping container and its role in the building of modern-day modular and prefab homes.


Essentially, these structures are comprised of prefabricated sections called modules. Many of these sections are the same, which also lends itself to making the manufacturing process cheaper. All the main components of the home are created in a factory environment, then shipped to the site to be installed. In very quick time, a complete house is formed with very little on-site construction work required.

Modular constructions are used for both temporary and permanent housing and have also been used to rapidly construct shelters following natural disasters.

Other uses for the modular type of building is to form on-site offices, home office space, medical facilities, churches, workshops, retail space and even fast-food restaurants.

Because modular structures can be portable, they are a popular choice for event organisers and mobile vendors, as they can be deconstructed and erected at a different location.

Overall cost, speed of construction, portability and flexibility are just a few of the major advantages to modular homes and buildings.


Over the past few decades, more and more people have been coming to the realisation that the humble shipping container has a lot more to offer than simply being a secure means of transportation or storage. While they are still primarily used for these two key purposes, cargo containers are the perfect building material for so many other uses and applications.

Let’s quickly list just a few of the ways shipping containers have been modified and used for other purposes:

If you can build it, then you can probably make it out of shipping containers.

One of the most popular uses of the shipping container has been for home construction. This includes the modular variety as well as using complete (but modified) cargo containers to form the basis for the house.

Shipping containers are cheap to buy, even when they are brand new, so when you use them as the dominant material in the home’s structure, you stand to save a bundle of cash.

When you think about it, a shipping container is a large rectangular box made of solid steel. The construction in its natural state is robust, sturdy and very secure. The bulk of the structure is already in place. All it needs is some designing and modifications to transform one or more shipping containers into a fully-functioning home.

The most common size of the shipping container is the 20-foot model, but there is also the mammoth 40-foot container, which can be a fantastic choice for house construction due to the space it provides. In fact, you can make a decent-sized home using 2 forty-foot cargo containers; either side by side, mounted on top of each other or positioned in an L shape.


We’ve already mentioned the fact that building a house primarily from shipping containers will save the home buyer a ton of cash. But what other advantages are there?

Just like with modular home construction, the bulk of the work takes place in a factory before the pieces of the home are delivered to the site and put together to complete the house. This leads to rapid modifications and construction, as well as limiting the amount of time tradies are actually travelling to and working on-site.

Not only does your new home come together quickly and cheaply, but the processes are also more environmentally-friendly, which is always a positive thing. On top of that, if you choose to build your house from quality used shipping containers, in essence, you are recycling these hulks of steel and preventing them from ending up on some scrap heap, where they’ll merely rust away.

Another thing to consider is shipping containers are extremely resistant to fire and they create a very strong foundation to resist even the worst storms the Australian climate can throw at them. Compare that to materials like timber and plasterboard and the shipping container comes out the clear winner.

If you want to build a more simplistic modular home from shipping containers, one that can be deconstructed or easily transported, then instead of having the parts of the structure prefabricated in a factory using more traditional methods, the parts can be built from components of shipping containers instead.

Some of the most stunning looking homes in the country are built primarily using new or used shipping containers. Just do a search online and you’ll see some incredible examples to demonstrate what’s possible. All it takes is a little imagination, some planning and consultation with industry experts and you could soon be living in a fantastic shipping container home at a fraction of the cost of traditional construction methods.

Need a shipping container for your upcoming project? Tiger Containers provides quality new and used shipping containers at competitive prices. Our team of qualified and experienced technicians will also help you make the modifications you require to meet your needs.

Call us for a free quotation: 1800 072 039.

Read more about shipping container conversions

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