Shipping Container Homes Australia Container House

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shipping container Homes Australia

With more and more people starting to focus on the environment, it makes sense that shipping container homes are becoming a common talking point among people everywhere. A quality container home can last for decades, and it is very easy to modify to suit your needs and tastes. Tiger Shipping Container Homes has a range of new and used shipping containers available that can help you make your container home dream, a reality. Be it a single-story container home, or a multi-story container home, we’ll modify your container just the way you need it.

Reasons to Build a Container Home

At Tiger Shipping Container Homes we ensure that our customers always get the highest quality shipping containers possible. This is why our customers return to us again and again for all of their container needs.

Reasons to own a container home in Australia include:

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Cost - cost is a huge factor in building a new home. And with prices of regular homes in Australia continuing to go up, building your very own container home becomes as much a necessity as it does a choice.

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Security - shipping containers have thick metal walls that are, for all intents and purposes, almost impenetrable, meaning your family and possessions are always going to be safe.

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Resistant to weather - weather can be unpredictable in Australia, and you need to be prepared when it takes a turn for the worse. Especially with Global Warming causing abnormal weather patterns to increase in frequency. Traditional homes don't usually offer much protection against extreme weather but a container home can potentially withstand things like cyclones, heavy rainfall and very hot or humid weather.

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Sustainability - Using and repurposing old or used shipping containers is healthier for the environment. Additionally, you are not worried about having a lot of waste or debris left over when you finish building your container home.

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Portability - depending on how your container home is sited, you can often take your container home with you when you move. Making it the ideal option for those people who like to move around a lot.

Contact Tiger Shipping Container Homes Today!

We invite you to contact us at Tiger Shipping Container Homes today if you are looking for a solid structure to build your new container home with. We have numerous containers available, and we can help you design the perfect home made from 20’ and 40’ shipping containers from the Container Homes specialists!

Despite shipping containers only becoming used for alternative and creative purposes within recent years, it is difficult to remember when they weren’t constantly being modified into uses other than for the transportation of goods.

It is almost as if buying a shipping container to repurpose it has become the norm. We constantly see homes, accommodation, offices, storage, kitchens, bars, and more built within these sturdy metal boxes.

Shipping container homes are rapidly rising in popularity as potential homeowners seek housing alternatives different from the traditional multi-bedroom home sold on the market. This trend is becoming so popular that the market size for global container homes is expected to reach $73,070.5 million by 2025, which will be a compound annual growth rate of 6.5% from 2018.

The use of shipping containers as bases for homes is clearly popular for a reason. However, we could also say the same about building a house with traditional infrastructures. So, what is it about shipping container homes that have people so intrigued, and what are the potential cons or considerations you should consider before ditching the traditional home and purchasing a container?


While the name essentially speaks for itself, what exactly are shipping container homes?


When looking for a home to buy, you probably want to feel comfortable knowing it will last you a long time. So, how long do shipping container homes last?

When maintained correctly, shipping containers can last for 25 to 30 years. Proper maintenance includes not placing any weight on the middle of its roof, keeping the container on level ground, using sufficient insulation materials and ensuring that dust and rust are thoroughly cleaned.


Considering shipping container homes and traditional homes are situated very differently economically speaking, we can not compare depreciation at face value. While putting a specific resale value on shipping container homes is tough, this doesn’t mean they don’t hold value.There are ultimately many factors that can affect the resale value and depreciation of a shipping container home, including:

How Much Do They Cost?

Buying a home is often one of the biggest expenses people ever make. So understandably, shipping container homes aren’t necessarily cheap either but can become much more affordable with the proper knowledge.

Considering they can be built on land that isn’t always suitable for typical construction without much site work, they are generally cheaper than traditional homes. Perhaps you want to build on a rocky or steep area; container homes can simply be elevated using sturdy pilings rather than excavating and preparing the site for a hefty fee.


Ultimately, this factor is predominantly up to the homeowner. The flexibility of shipping containers allows you to get creative with your project and modify the traditional concept into your own structural vision.Your house can be uniquely designed based on the site, floor plan requirements and your budget. You can also invest in modular, ready-made container homes that you simply need to transport to your desired location.

In addition, purchasing the container as the base for construction is cheaper than buying traditional scaffolding and labourers.

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PROS OF Shipping Container Homes

While we briefly touched on the affordability and structural perks of shipping container homes, the list of benefits doesn’t end there.

One of the most tedious aspects of building a traditional home can be the highly lengthy process and the often unreliability of contractors. Contrarily, shipping container homes are rapidly constructed, as you already have the base (generally a 20ft or 40ft shipping container), where some contractors can build a container home in under a month. However, if you’re looking to avoid construction costs altogether, you can purchase a prefabricated container home that is nearly ready for you to move straight into.

Architecturally speaking, shipping container homes are highly durable, which is one of the main reasons why people began repurposing containers into homes in the first place. Containers are typically built out of corten steel, which is self-healing and can handle intense weathering better than traditional housing.

This next pro will be appealing for all the nomads out there. Increasingly in today’s society, people are becoming more hesitant to settle down in one place; however, they don’t necessarily want to compromise on having a place to call their home. Shipping container homes somewhat solve this problem, as they are mobile and can be relocated if you so desire with the help of a dedicated shipping transportation service.

Lastly, shipping container homes aid creativity. While you can certainly decorate your traditional home any way you desire, building a home out of nothing but a container is extremely exciting. shipping containers provide you with more potential and opportunities to display your personality and creativity in every aspect of your home.

CONS OF Shipping Container Homes

As much as container homes can undoubtedly be sustainable, they were not originally intended as inhabitable spaces, so they aren’t always eco-friendly. While purchasing a used container does make your container home a lot more environmentally friendly than buying a new container, they don’t always make ideal homes, thanks to previous wear and tear.

Like anything modified for its unintended use, there will be minor inconveniences. Specifically, it can be challenging to operate some modern appliances in your container home, especially if you plan to live off-grid. While it certainly is possible, you will have to find:

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A reliable, licensed electrician who happens to be familiar with shipping container architecture to install custom electrical setups in your home and;

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A plumber to install customised plumping work.

While containers are made of durable steel, making them an excellent material for a home, they still often require additional reinforcements. This means you will likely have to pay for modifications such as:

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Cutting holes for doors and windows,

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Load-bearing walls and a sloped rooftop, and;

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Air conditioning

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Indoor plumbing


If you’re looking for a creative, innovative and sustainable new home, shipping containers can undoubtedly be worth the time and investment. While there is certainly an extensive list of both pros and cons, their durability, low cost and flexibility make them much more appealing than pricey traditional homes that require a lot of time, resources, labour, and effort to construct.

Lending themselves to complete customisation from the inside and out, you may end up with a new home and a reignition of your creative flare after constructing your container home. While we’re all for creativity in shipping containers, we understand that it can be a big decision and investment to make.



There are a lot of reasons to get a sea container converted into accommodation. Maybe you’re going on a holiday and want a place that’s more flexible than a regular holiday home. Or maybe you’re getting your bedroom remodelled and find yourself without a place to sleep. It could be that your house is still getting built and you need a place to live until it’s done. Or any of the other hundreds of reasons.

Here at Tiger Containers, it doesn’t matter what your reason is. Whatever you want, we can provide. We will custom-create container homes to suit your exact needs. Whether you want a full home or even just a bedroom, simply provide us with your specifications and we’ll get to work converting the container just for you.

No need to worry about the container not having all the comforts of home. We take care of electricity, flooring, doorways, windows, and lighting. And most importantly, temperature control is not an issue, since we handle air conditioning as well.

For many years now shipping containers have become popular for other purposes besides transportation and storage. These days they are refashioned and repurposed for all manner of new ideas, and one of the most popular is using new or used shipping containers to build houses and home extensions. 


The fantastic thing about building with shipping containers is they go together like a Lego set. They are very uniform in shape and size and are really big rectangular blocks of steel. Much of the construction is already done before any conversion even takes place, and containers are built super tough.

As far as the size of your home goes, this really depends on your budget and how much space you have to work with. You can build a container home three storeys high if you like, or have the entire house on ground level. It’s up to you.

Some people choose to go the tiny house route and build a really small house from just one 20 foot container. This won’t suit everybody, but it’s doable. If you purchase two 40 foot containers, you can actually construct a fairly decent sized home. And remember, not all of the home’s construction has to be made up of shipping containers. You can add in some regular construction as well to expand the footprint of your home.

Container Homes Are Insulated

Just like with any other kind of home people build, a house made primarily from shipping containers can be insulated to regulate the internal temperature.

When you imagine a house built out of steel boxes, it’s only natural to assume that it would be blazing hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. If you lived in a container as is, that would be pretty true, but container homes are a lot more sophisticated than that.

Living in a home made from containers is just as comfortable from a climate point of view as residing in a conventional house. You’ll be warm in winter and cool in summer, so long as your house is also equipped with some climate control (air conditioning and heating).

The point is, a home built from shipping containers doesn’t have to be small and cramped, which is a common misconception. In fact, you can create a massive, spacious home out of brand new or second-hand shipping containers.

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So can you

Are Container Homes Noisy?

Whether a home is noisy or not often depends on how much stuff is in the house, whether the floors are hard or carpeted and many other factors.

Once your container home is built and decked out, it likely won’t just be a series of metal walls and ceilings. There will be coverings on many of the internal walls, such as plasterboard, just like a regular house. Floors might be timber, tiles or carpet, just like a regular house, and it will also be filled with furniture and possessions, just like a regular house. You’ll also have windows, curtains or blinds, and doorways, just like a regular house.

Will Container Homes Be Ugly?

This is another common misconception, where people think the interior and exterior will look like some rusted out metal box.

If you want some easy proof that container homes don’t look like gross metal hulks, just do a quick search of shipping container homes in Google Images and you’ll soon see an array of fantastic looking container homes, inside and out.

Some of the most stunning homes you’ve ever laid eyes on have been built with shipping containers making up the bulk of the construction. With many of the houses, you can’t even tell that containers were used.

why people build container homes

Shipping containers are a remarkable building material, and that’s why they’ve become such a popular idea in recent years when it comes to repurposing and recycling cargo containers. They are extremely versatile and very cost-effective.

That last point is the biggest selling point: using shipping containers saves massive amounts of money on construction costs, and because much of the build is already in place, construction time is shaved back quite a lot as well.


say yes to your new container home

As more and more people become aware of the possibilities of building with shipping containers, the more popular the concept is becoming.

It’s the dream of most people in the world to own their own home, and one of the most cost-effective and versatile ways to build a new house is by using containers.

Shipping container homes are just as comfortable and luxurious as any other home out there. It’s simply a matter of viewing some examples to discover what’s possible.


Duarte Geraldino, in an article published on, talked about this issue and how it’s becoming more difficult for young adults to move out of their parents homes these days. He attributes this to a combination of high rents and low wages which have left young adults with little option but to stay at home.

It is this growing need for affordable housing, according to Duarte, that has seen architects, developers, and builders tuming to cheaper methods of construction.

By using shipping containers for construction, costs can be kept to a minimum providing lower rent living spaces that are customised for twenty-something-year-olds. Concepts such as building basic living quarters that include a kitchen, bathroom, living and dining area, as well as common areas where tenants can hang out provide a low-cost housing solution.

Building these kinds of accommodations using shipping containers helps reduce the cost of construction by as much as halt. Because these lowered building costs can be recovered over long periods, rents become very low. And since on average there’re about 700,000 empty shipping containers lying idle in the country, this affordable building material is readily available for projects.

But it’s not only in large-scale developments where cargo containers are useful. They are also becoming popular in smaller applications such as creating the family and single-person dwellings. They also provide a simple way of extending your house as you can install a granny flat in your backyard for some extra accommodation space.


Container houses differ from traditional houses in the following ways:

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Construction cost - As mentioned earlier, constructing a house using cargo containers is significantly cheaper than using traditional materials.

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Construction time - Most of the modifications for transforming shipping containers into houses are usually done in a workshop offsite meaning that it’s only the assembling that takes place on-site. This reduces construction time significantly. While a normal house can take up to 30 months to build, a shipping container one will take a few days to a couple of weeks to complete.

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Building materials - While typical houses use materials such as bricks and timber for outer walls, cargo container homes – as the name indicates – are primarily made with shipping containers.

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Building regulations - Regulations used for building with traditional materials are not the same as those for building with shipping containers. They differ greatly depending on your locality, so make sure to check first.

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Eco-friendliness - Constructing a house using old shipping containers is a way to upcycle an item that would have otherwise gone to waste which helps conserve the environment. Normal houses on the other hand just consume new resources.

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Sustainability - People are starting to understand and appreciate the effect their lifestyles have on the environment. It is for this reason that more people are switching to a more sustainable way of living. Using shipping containers for home construction is helping in the re-use of these otherwise waste products. This is because shipping containers are rarely shipped back to the original exporter which results in a major disposal problem.

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Aesthetics - Cargo container houses also differ from normal houses in the way they look. A container house will have an industrial, edgy, modern look while normal houses look more traditional.

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Expandability - Container houses are easier to extend than normal houses. All you need to do when you need more space is to buy an additional container, have it modified, and join it to the ones you already have.

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Reduced construction times - Shipping container homes are manufactured in a factory which makes production quick and efficient. Once the shell has been completed, all that remains is the installation on your property and addition of other add-ons such as roofs and verandas. Your home should be ready in just a couple of weeks.

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Sustainability - People are starting to understand and appreciate the effect their lifestyles have on the environment. It is for this reason that more people are switching to a more sustainable way of living. Using shipping containers for home construction is helping in the re-use of these otherwise waste products. This is because shipping containers are rarely shipped back to the original exporter which results in a major disposal problem.

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Durability - Even with their lower construction cost, shipping container homes will last as long as traditionally built homes. Shipping containers are renowned for their tough construction which will remain even after the container has been transformed into a home.

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Good “temporary” structures - Shipping containers walk the line between permanent structures and temporary structures. If for any reason you are not allowed to construct permanent buildings on your property, a shipping container home offers a great solution as it can be moved when required without any damage.


Once in place, the container(s) can be configured in the way that best suits the home plan and after completion, the home is ready for moving in. With traditional homes, a foundation must be built and that requires time to be set up. Once that has been completed, stick frame construction can proceed and then all the basic construction must be inspected and passed by local building authorities.

However, when you are using shipping containers for houses, all you need to do is purchase the components and have them delivered. A cement pad may be sufficient to sit the containers on, or you may want to use some type of concrete blocks as a foundation. The containers can be welded together to keep them in place, but some people prefer to keep them moveable.

The interior of a shipping container is a blank canvas and it is a simple matter to add insulation and wiring to the interior, as well as to have the entire unit plumbed. When people use shipping containers for houses, they save a great deal of time and money. The container is already a self-contained structure; all that needs to be done is to install windows and the interior structures such as walls and doors. Once the building has been completed, it is often not easy to see that the building is actually constructed from shipping containers.

Cost To Build A Container Home

It’s many people’s dream to own a home at some point in their life. But with the ever-increasing costs of building a house in Australia, this dream is quickly becoming unattainable.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, house prices have been on a steady incline since the late 80’s averaging an increase of about 6.8% each year. The Bureau estimated the cost of building a new house to be $236,000 in 2008 from a low of $65,000 back in 1987. Now, some of this rise in cost can be attributed to the increasing size of houses being built but most of it is as a result of other market forces, other than consumer preference.

It’s this housing problem that has forced people to think outside of the box regarding building materials for constructing durable homes, that won’t leave them in lifelong debt. Welcome: shipping container homes.
Their original purpose was to securely transport cargo across rough seas and miles of road, but with their increasing popularity a new problem arose; disposal. Shipping containers were designed to reduce loading and off-loading times at ports by consolidating several small items into one big regular-shaped package. This increased efficiency at terminals greatly reducing shipping costs. But over the years shipping containers began piling up at ports and yards which led people to a new question: How do we reuse these idle resources? “Construction was the answer.

SHIPPING CONTAINER Homes Are Environmentally Friendly

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They offer an environmentally friendly solution - By using shipping containers to construct your home, you are using a resource that would have otherwise gone to waste. This helps preserve the environment by fully utilising available resources.

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They take less time to construct - Constructing a cargo container home takes less time as most modifications are made offsite. Only the assembly and installation of a few fixtures takes place on-site.

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They have a smaller footprint - This means they are lower maintenance, run on less energy and are more flexible in where they can be built, to reduce waste compared to regular homes.


If you are looking to build your home from shipping containers, just welding them together and cutting out doors and windows will not make for a comfortable home. A little more effort and creativity is required to transform these steel boxes into a comfortable home that you will enjoy living in.

Here are five easy and affordable things you can do to spruce up your shipping container home:

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Put some thought into the design - To make your cargo container home the best it can be, you’ll need to start from the beginning. Just like regular houses, shipping container homes also require some designing to make them more appealing and practical. There are two ways you can go about this: hire a professional architect or do it yourself.If you do choose to follow the do it yourself route, do some research. Check out existing shipping container homes to get an idea of what you would like your house to look like. Keep in mind that local building codes and environmental factors will also play a significant part in the overall design, so do some digging on them too.

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Build for comfort - Once you are through with the design stage, you can begin construction. For comfort at all times of the year, it is of paramount importance that you install insulation and adequate ventilation to the house as well as double glazed windows – if air conditioning is to be used. If the area you are building in is particularly sunny, consider constructing the house in a shaded area for cooler temperatures.

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Install appropriate flooring - Choose flooring material that works for your environment. For dusty places, use vinyl and wooden floors instead of carpets. They are easy to clean and will not absorb all the dust in the air like the fabric in a carpet would.

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Decorate the outside of the house - A shipping container is quite plain and unappealing without some decoration. A simple way to solve this problem would be to paint the outside of the house. Adding other materials to the outer walls such as wooden shingles could also do wonders. Attaching a sunshade will not only add to the aesthetic but also help keep the house cool. You can use solar panels for this instead of regular roofing material to get some free power out of it too.

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Landscape the grounds - Planting trees and bushes around the house will make your property look gorgeous while keeping your house protected from the harsh sun.

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Things You Should Know Before A Shipping Container Home

After careful deliberation and looking at many beautiful examples of homes made of cargo shipping containers, you’ve finally decided on making one for yourself. It sounds simple enough, and the advantages of having one definitely make it a worthwhile decision.

But before you even get started there are some things you should know, things that many aspiring homeowners tend to forget or disregard due to their unfamiliarity with using containers for building homes.


First off, you need to know exactly what type of steel shipping containers you will need. This task may seem simple but can be confusing once you consider the many shipping container sizes and variants available nowadays. The answer to the most basic question of ‘how much are shipping containers?’, also depends greatly on your choice of container.

You also have to consider where to buy shipping containers and how much you’re willing to spend on them. Sure, you can always go for really cheap shipping containers, but these may be old, worn and dented in places. While shipping containers, in general, are durable due to their material and build, their appearance and level of wear and tear will matter if you’re planning to turn them into a home. Excessive wear and tear could mean added costs to make the container look like new. Some older containers while cheaper can also have toxic chemicals applied to them. It’s best then to purchase newer ones and from a reliable source like Tiger Containers.


Shipping container homes may have gained some popularity in recent years, but that doesn’t mean that every contractor has worked with shipping containers or knows how to properly create a home out of one. It’s important that you work with a contractor or company that has successfully built container homes or structures. Not only will they have the knowledge and experience to help you fully achieve your dream container home, they’ll already be aware of the specific regulations and best practices involved.

Tiger Containers is one such company, having accumulated years of knowledge and experience in constructing shipping container homes. We can provide you with strong, safe containers and all other aspects to make your container your brand new, comfortable home. That includes installing electric wiring, flooring, lighting, plumbing and more. Get in touch with Tiger Containers today to know more or get a free quote.


First off, you need to know exactly what type of steel shipping containers you will need. This task may seem simple but can be confusing once you consider the many shipping container sizes and variants available nowadays. The answer to the most basic question of ‘how much are shipping containers?’, also depends greatly on your choice of container.

You also have to consider where to buy shipping containers and how much you’re willing to spend on them. Sure, you can always go for really cheap shipping containers, but these may be old, worn and dented in places. While shipping containers, in general, are durable due to their material and build, their appearance and level of wear and tear will matter if you’re planning to turn them into a home. Excessive wear and tear could mean added costs to make the container look like new. Some older containers while cheaper can also have toxic chemicals applied to them. It’s best then to purchase newer ones and from a reliable source like Tiger Containers.



Because of their rectangular and rather block shape, building a home with shipping containers can be a lot like making a Lego house, but on a much larger scale. Some homes people design are only made from one 20 foot container and are really small, but you can group containers together, such as side by side, end to end, or spaced out in a pattern such as an L shape or U shape.

There is even the option of going up, as containers are designed to be stacked high on the decks of container ships, so they slot together perfectly.


While there will still be work to be done on-site, with the shipping container portions of the house, much of the remodelling and construction can be done off-site, handled by the company doing the shipping container modifications. These sections are then transported to the site when completed and added to the build.

What this does is help speed up the process, as builders don’t have to travel to your site every day to work. Plus, when building with containers, much of the construction is already done, like the walls, floor and ceiling. The containers just need modifying


Although they start out as rectangles, shipping containers can be sliced up to form any shape home you like, really. As an example, you could cut a side off two 20 foot containers and join them together, making the internal space twice as wide.

There are no rules stating the containers have to remain their original shape and dimensions, which means you can get really creative with designs and options.


How many people can claim their homes are built primarily from solid steel?

Well, that’s what you’ll have if you use cargo containers as the main building material for your new home. However you utilise the containers and put your home together, you will have peace of mind knowing your home is super strong and basically impervious to most weather conditions.

Another key point to note is pests like termites don’t eat steel.


If you choose to buy some good quality used shipping containers that have basically been put out to pasture by the transport companies, then you are saving these containers from either sitting around the docks rusting away or, even worse, being dumped somewhere or ending up at the local tip.

There is far too much high-quality steel in a shipping container to let it go to waste, so when you make the decision to reuse these abandoned containers by repurposing them, you’re doing your part to help the planet.


You can really make a statement with a shipping container home. In fact, it will likely become a cool talking point in your neighbourhood, as well as with the people you know.

Combined with a little imagination, the versatility of shipping containers as one of the main building materials means you can create a very unique style of home that is like no other.

If you do some online research for shipping container homes, you’ll discover some really cool and distinctive designs. It’s a good way to get those creative juices flowing.


The financial aspect really depends on how smart you are with your planning and building. If done right, you will potentially save many thousands of dollars by buying shipping containers and converting them into a home.

On the flip side, if you get super extravagant, then the cost will naturally go up, but you’ll still find the final price tag is cheaper building with containers than if you built that house in the same design with traditional building methods and materials.


How many people can claim their homes are built primarily from solid steel?

Well, that’s what you’ll have if you use cargo containers as the main building material for your new home. However you utilise the containers and put your home together, you will have peace of mind knowing your home is super strong and basically impervious to most weather conditions.

Another key point to note is pests like termites don’t eat steel.


After you build your shipping container home, if you discover you need an extra room or two, then adding an extension is really as simple as having your shipping container supplier modify another container for you and having it delivered and installed.

It can be an extension of your home or even a stand-alone granny flat out the back.


If you’re a builder, or handy with tools and know a bit about building a home, then using shipping containers can certainly make that DIY building project that much simpler. You’ll still need to call in tradies for some of the work – plumbing, electrical – but between your skills and those of the company converting your containers for you, you’ll have an awesome looking house in no time.

Container Homes 7



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:

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Roadside kitchens, diners, cafes

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On-site offices

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Retail stores

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Ablution blocks

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Workshops and backyard sheds

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And more...

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Home offices

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Mobile food trucks

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Man caves

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Granny flats

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.

How Environmentally Friendly

Are Shipping Container Homes?

Invented in 1956 by Malcolm McLean, shipping containers were intended to be used as a vessel for international shipping. Recognising the potential and value of these containers, over 30 years later in 1987, Philip Clark filed a patent for the “method for converting one or more steel shipping containers into a habitable building.” The concept of ‘shipping container homes’ was then born.

Container homes truly became a widespread trend in the late 2000s when the concept hit the US. Californian architect Peter DeMaria built the first US shipping container home in 2007, which inspired the trend to grow internationally.

After a tragic flood destroyed Australian couple Todd and Di Miller’s home in Australia in 2012, they decided to take a leap and build their new home out of shipping containers. What they ended up creating was a beautiful 6,000 square foot mansion that they called Graceville Container House. Constructed with 31 containers, the home was featured on television and quickly inspired the masses to consider the possibility of such a versatile shipping container home.


While the concept of container homes we know today may have originated from ideals of novelty, portability, and durability, they also function to benefit the container industry.

Approximately three billion shipping containers are produced annually, and each last for 12 years before they are then recycled or repurposed. Transporting empty containers back to their origins is an extremely expensive process, and often it is easy to leave them in their ports of destination. However, this means that they are occupying huge spaces and creating a large surplus of empty containers.

Shipping container homes are a great repurposing method to clear up some of the excess containers while redesigning a technical artefact. Some would also consider their use as an environmental protection strategy as it minimises the materials that need to be produced to build a home.



Repurposing in any scenario reduces the need to outsource or produce new materials. Materials used in conventional house construction have an impact on almost every aspect of sustainability. Using shipping containers as bases or a substitute for traditional timber-framed home construction reduces the need to outsource a large amount of raw and non-renewable materials, leaving them to thrive in their natural environment.

Not only is this act of repurposing environmentally friendly, but coincidentally, the containers are already manufactured in standard dimensions suitable for housing structures. They have the ability to be easily customised with built-in properties and partitions, making them excellent modular structures.

So, while containers are recyclable, repurposing them means reducing the amount of non-renewable resources that are generally required for traditional homes. Reducing waste, and optimising resources, no wonder containers homes have become such a trend.


Based on the logistics of shipping containers, a container home can be constructed of about 75% recycled materials. While the containers themselves can be recycled, they aren’t made of decomposing materials and cannot be turned into compost for landfills.

This means that for containers to be recycled, they must be melted using basic oxygen furnaces (BOF) and electric arc furnaces (EAF), both of which consume huge amounts of energy and emit greenhouse gases. Specifically, recycling a shipping container can require a massive 8000kWh of energy. Whereas, repurposing the container into a home only takes 400 kWh of energy, and comparatively 5% of which it would have taken to recycle.

In their essence, repurposing container homes have substantial effects on energy efficiency. In the wake of their popularity, recent developments and technologies have developed more eco-friendly features suited for container home architecture that make them even more environmentally conscious. This includes:


Taking full advantage of the potential of the shipping container home trend, an Australian couple converted just three shipping containers into a beautiful 530-square-foot, solar-powered dwelling on their family’s farm.

After rethinking their lifestyle in 2015, the couple were drawn to a more minimalistic and sustainable lifestyle they could truly be content with. They decided that a container would be the perfect beginning to this journey.

Their goal was to build a sustainable, cost-effective and stunning home. Through meticulous and careful construction they achieved this goal, producing a home with thermal efficiency and a 7.1-star energy rating.

The couple installed additional filters including a rainwater harvesting system that allows them to collect water in large tanks connected to the home. A sustainable home would not be complete without solar power, so the couple successfully installed solar panels on the home to contribute to energy efficiency. For the interior infrastructure, they chose low impact materials like FSC certified, zero-formaldehyde timber and natural sealer.

Countless environmental considerations were made throughout the design process, yet creative freedom and true aesthetic personalisation were not compromised. The outback masterpiece is both environmentally friendly, and a comfortable place to live.


Although repurposing holds many benefits, as containers were not originally intended as inhabitable spaces, there are considerations that need to be made to ensure they can make a suitable home.

Although optimising shipping containers for housing purposes clearly has environmental benefits, they do still require a level of operational energy to make them habitable. Like any home, energy will be required to regulate temperature and insulation. However, it is still much less energy expenditure than traditional homes.

Secondly, container homes are generally considered to be better suited for smaller living or granny flats. Repurposing a container into a tiny home can be an extremely environmentally friendly and sustainable way to live, however, if a large space is what you are looking for, the environmental benefits won’t necessarily remain.

Depending on the history of their use, used shipping containers are more eco-friendly. Whereas new, modular container homes are produced in factories and take away from the appeal of recycled materials. Ultimately, if you are considering building a larger container home, stay away from the factory produced, modular homes, and opt for second-hand shipping containers instead. Purchasing a newly produced container intended for a home takes away from the novelty and environmental benefits, meaning you may as well have built a traditional home.

For more information on how to repurpose a shipping container visit Tiger Containers today. If you are interested in starting your eco-friendly container home journey or require any inquiries, tips or advice, take a look at our blog or contact us.