Shipping containers become homes | Herald of the Deccan

Anabelle Viegas’ home near Nandi Hills is turning heads. It’s not your usual cement structure, but a shipping container turned into a living space.

Yes, at 320 square feet it is smaller than most 1BHK apartments in Bangalore. But it’s big enough that Viegas, her husband and their little girl stay there whenever they take a short vacation.

“We didn’t buy this house just because it’s made from a container or because tiny houses are all the rage. My husband and I are people who love the outdoors and being stuck in the city because the pandemic was affecting us. We were looking for a house that could be built quickly, ”explains Viegas, herself an architect.

His house was fabricated off-site and delivered in 90 days last December. It came with a living room, kitchenette, bedroom and toilet, and a coat of baby yellow paint on the outside. It was unloaded onto four concrete plinths and connected to electricity, water and sewer connections. The ground was done, and two days later he was ready to move in.

Houses built from disused shipping containers are not a new concept, nor are they foreign to Bengaluru.

Twelve years ago, Kameshwar Rao co-built a house for his family in Ramamurthy Nagar, using four containers. He was probably the first in India to do so. His company then built eight of these houses, in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

So, will this newcomer to container houses last? The Habitainer, the Bengaluru construction company that built the Viegas house, is optimistic. “We have delivered 20 container houses to families in Kanakapura, Sakleshpur, Nandi Hills, Hosur and Mysuru,” says a representative of the company.

Now they’re developing nine more that developers can install in their gated communities. “We could do 60 more by the end of the fiscal year because we received a lot of requests, 1,500 in fact,” he said.

Buyers are mainly manufacturers, technicians and architects in the 35-55 age group. They own land and seek alternative ways of life.

“They choose a container house for their second home outside the city, like a farm, like a man cave. A woman gave it, instead of a tent, to her daughter, ”said the representative. Viegas calls their Nandi Hills home “a doll’s house” – a gift for her daughter Arianna.

Others want to build Airbnb “container” rentals in the mountains to overcome the complexity of building cement houses.

The biggest draw is the speed at which these can be manufactured, delivered and installed.

Take the case of 49-year-old businessman Arun Choudhari. He had booked a 1,000 square foot 3BHK container house for his nephew near Kempegowda Airport. This was a conscious choice to avoid the hassle and delays of builders in purchasing conventional homes in India. The Habitainer team plans to deliver it by the end of the year.

Then there is the advantage of flexibility. Preetham Daniel says he built a 20-foot container house near Nandi Hills to hang out with other bikers after their rides. The idea fizzled out when the lockdown eased and people started cycling further away.

Now the 42-year-old is setting it up as a weekend rental home for those who
want to experience a minimalist life. If this idea does not hit the mark, he will have his house picked up and drop it off on a motorbike.
training center he runs 11 km from the city, and uses it as an office.

A container house is a container at the end of the day. You can load it onto a truck, transport it to another city, and start living almost immediately, because the interior remains intact.

However, it may not work as quickly when houses are built in a hybrid style, using containers, concrete, lumber and more.

Can container houses become permanent houses? Daniel doubts it: “It didn’t even happen in the West.

But the representative from The Habitainer is more optimistic because he says, “At least 20% of our customers have moved in permanently.”

Know this before you buy one

How big are the container houses?

The containers come in two sizes – 20ft and 40ft.

A 20 foot can serve as a 1 BHK house while a 40 foot can be used to create two rooms. You can tie more containers to the side or stack them on top to add rooms. Keetwonen, a student housing project in Amsterdam, is made up of a thousand shipping containers arranged in multi-storey blocks.

How much weight can it support?

The containers are designed for shipping so that they can withstand much more weight than is required in a conventional home. The body of a 20-foot container weighs 3000 kg and can support a payload capacity of 25,000 kg.

How long do these houses last? Do they rust?

The container body is made of corrosion resistant steel (called corten steel). It usually lasts 30 to 45 years.

Do the walls make a noise like metal sheets?

Yes, that’s why your architect should work on soundproofing the house.

Is it hot inside?

It depends on the design. Architects usually add large and multiple windows for cross ventilation.

Do they need maintenance?

Like concrete houses, they require occasional paint, plumbing, and electrical repairs.

Are they a good investment choice?

Reselling the container earns you the same price as the scrap metal. Considering the current rate (30 to 35 Rs per kg), it can bring in 90,000 Rs per lakh.

Be careful…

Make sure that used containers are no more than 15 years old, broken, or structurally weak.

(Contributions provided by experts)

More prefabricated house options

Manufactured homes are those whose parts are built in factories and assembled at the destination lot. They save time, promote recycling and are known to be cost effective.

In India, prefabricated houses are made from shipping containers, bamboo, plastic, and light gauge steel framing. The Tata Group has launched a line of prefabricated homes called Nest-in. The market is expected to grow 8.5% between 2021 and 2026.

Portfolio factor

A container house can cost anywhere from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 35 lakh, depending on the number of containers used, and the customization and sophistication involved. Shipping is extra.

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