Building a container home comes with several perks. You have probably seen your favorite restaurant, pop-up shop, or neighbors use repurposed shipping containers. We know you might be worried about the legality of such structures. Here are some of the rules guiding the legality of container home permits.

Shipping containers provide property owners and construction companies with many possibilities. Whether it’s a restaurant business, real estates, gallery studio, or homes, there are so many things you can achieve with container homes. However, these durable and robust steel have different rules guiding the acquisition, depending on the area of use.

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Depending on the location or town, there are different rules set for getting a structure erected. Container homes are no other. Since this is a unique way of building living spaces, different container home building codes keep in mind.

This article aims to provide you access to the most relevant permits to build a container home. These rules will make sure you have the needed requirements to get started with building your dream space.

container home building regulations

Building Regulations for Shipping Container Homes

Whether you are using it as a residential space or a storage facility, shipping containers are subject to various rules and codes of the area.

You should also know that it’s not just about getting permission from the local authorities. A container home building code or permit also means that you get a city-certified building inspector to vet your construction plans’ safety. This inspector would check the location, position, and placement of your container. 

These checks are expected to cover several concerns. Some of these safety concerns include:

  • Surface stability. To ensure the land can sustain the container weight.
  • Snow loading
  • Structural safety
  • Risk of overturning or uplift
  • Proper anchorage
  • Wind resistance

The checks above are subject to different rating formats depending on your location. Here are some factors that may affect permits in your local area.

  • Local rules and regulations
  • The physical location of the container on the property
  • The usage time frame for proposed construction
  • The physical condition of the container
  • Effect of the container on the community/attitude of neighbors.

So, what are the relevant container home permit requirements you need to keep in mind? 

Container Home Building Regulations

Shipping containers, just like the traditional buildings, have specific regulations and permits needed to construct them. To ensure proper licensing, you should make sure that your structure is zoned correctly. 

Once zoned, you should keep the following in mind, depending on your city zoning by-law.

container home zoning

 Property Zoning 

Zoning refers to the segmenting of land into sections to determine the type of constructions that can be carried out. A process controlled by the government; property zoning helps to plan the growth of a geographical area. It’s an approach that allows the government to group similar structures to control density.

Property zoning is essential to any construction project. It helps the government avoid situations like keeping industrial buildings in specific areas of the city, liquor stores from churches, etc.

So, ensure to get the proper zoning rules of your proposed area as it may affect your shipping container’s location.

container home building codes

Building Codes & Permits

This is one of the most critical steps to take before constructing your shipping container. You must get a construction permit to prove that you comply with relevant building codes. By following the government building codes & permits ensures that all standards of construction are maintained. 

Building codes and permits are often based on the International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC). These standardized regulatory bodies have specific regulations for electricity, fire protection, and plumbing activities within constructions.

These codes are often updated every couple of years. Also, codes and permits for container homes may vary depending on the local authorities. So, ensure to contact your local authorities for the most updated regulation for you.

container home building codes

Mobile, Modular, and Manufactured Building Codes

It may be hard to distinguish between a mobile, modular (or prefabricated) or manufactured home. However, each building type has different codes governing their construction permit. 

Thus, you must endeavor to get the exact code for your specific building plans, whether mobile, modular or manufactured.

  • Manufactured Homes, which are sometimes known as mobile homes, are regulated by Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. You can find their requirements under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • Modular Homes are offend constructed in factories and transported to their proposed site for assembly. Such constructions are regulated by the International Building Code (IBC), not HUD.

Tips to Get Your Container Home Permit

We understand that getting the permits for your construction is never an easy process. So, we have created some tips to make the process a stress-free one. 

Here are some tips to get your container home permit faster.

The Shorter the Duration, The Shorter the Requirements. The shorter you intend to have a shipping container on your property, the fewer the requirements you might have to meet. In some areas, you might not even need to get a permit for short durations.

High Traffic Areas Attract Stricter Rules. If you are looking to have your shipping containers in high traffic areas, you may face more permit rules. This is because such sites are not synonymous with such constructions. On the other hand, rural areas don’t attract such strictness.

Hire a Permit Expeditor. Depending on the time you have to spare, your construction and expeditor’s location would do you right. This professional would help you save time when engaging local authorities. They will also handle the paperwork and ensure easy compliance.


In Conclusion

Getting a container home permit is dependent on the rules governing your location. Therefore, it is essential to look out for the most updated and relevant permit requirements per your local area. 

The information and tips above should set you in motion and help you stay on track.


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Go Sulex.

You are ready to start building a sustainable living towards a better future.

Click here to start making the world a better place.