Shipping Containers: What You Need to Know Before Building a Home

They are the heavy metal boxes dotting properties across the country that have morphed into self-contained coffee shops or boutique food outlets.

Until recently they have more frequently been used as a place to store tools, paints and machinery.

In a few instances they have also been stacked together, modified and sculpted into an architecturally-designed home.

Here are some things you might want to know about shipping containers before you move in to one:

Am I allowed to live in them?

Yes. But before you rush out and spend between $1,500 and $2,200 on a used shipping container as your new home, it is worth noting that conversion is probably not as easy as you think.

For starters, every local government region in Australia has its own rules around living in a shipping container.

Most of them are similar, but you need to do your homework before you pop the box on your block.

Almost all councils treat a permanent shipping container almost exactly like they would any other building on your property.

That means you will need all the proper approvals, engineering, plans, and inspections just as you would for a granny flat or similar building.

That is the same deal for the container you want as a backyard shed.

What’s more, you will have to modify your container in order to live in it — because you probably want actual doors, windows, fixtures and plumbing.

Everything you change about the container brings a risk that you’re making it weaker, which means it may need reinforcing.

Dr Vidy Potdar from Curtin University in WA explored all of these options as part of a project to find out what it takes to build a container home in Perth.

“They don’t know what it has experienced in the past — maybe it was dented or hit.

“And the moment you switch from used to a new container, the price blows away — it becomes very expensive that way.”

For a new container, expect to pay at least $5,000.

What if I just want one for a little while?

That might be allowed, but temporary use generally means for a few months, not years.

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Council just reinforced its own rules around containers, meaning no approval is needed for 30 days’ use in an urban area and up to 90 days in more rural areas.

An exception is made for construction workers using a container as storage, but once construction is completed the container has to go.

In Victoria, Cardinia Council requires a permit if you put a container on your own property, while South Gippsland Council does not allow them in any residential area.

In New South Wales, Wollondilly Council went to the Land and Environment Court in 2016 after someone refused to move an “unauthorised” container from their front yard.

In north Queensland, Mackay Regional Council has threatened people with fines over unapproved containers in a rural area.

The common theme here is that neighbours complain and councils respond, not just for aesthetic reasons but because containers are also potentially dangerous.

Is my shipping container trying to kill me?

Maybe. The issue with shipping containers is that you usually have no idea where they have been.

Used containers may not have a detailed history, so buyers do not necessarily know what potentially deadly materials have been inside for long periods of time.

For instance, a container could have been used to carry fertiliser, poisons, food or stuffed toys.

Dr Potdar said while some might be structurally perfect, others could have been dropped from a great height.
This article was originally published by ABC. Click here to continue reading.

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Australia is not building enough houses for the future

Australia needs more homes – and new figures show we’re not building enough, especially where we need them the most.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week show a drop in new residential construction in the 12 months up to December 2017, continuing in the last quarter of 2017.

This all comes despite record population growth, immigration, and interstate migration which continue to push Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and now Hobart well into a more populous future.

The ABS figures showed a 3.3 per cent decline in residential construction in trend terms, with the last quarter of 2017 recording a 0.7 per cent decline.

The weak market outside of Australia’s south-eastern corner is being pointed to as dragging down overall property numbers.

Many would have noticed the growth of cranes on our city skylines. This growth in construction is set to slow as the housing market runs out of puff. But population growth will continue.

Rising population means we need more houses built Photo Getty

Commsec Senior Economist Ryan Felsman said Brisbane, with it’s noted oversupply of inner city units was acting as a drag on residential construction figures as developers hold off on breaking new ground.

Mr Felsman said Commsec expected the market to continue cooling and housing construction to fall away from record highs in 2016, down more than 20,000 new residences to 203,000 in 2018.

But he said Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney all ran the risk of running short of residential properties, despite their record housing construction.

If you look at Melbourne there’s 120,000 people moving to it per annum, but only 75,000 houses being built.”

AMP Capital’s Shane Oliver told The New Daily the slow down in residential construction risked pushing Australia’s housing market into under supply.

Originally Published by The Original Daily, continue reading here.

Australia Ranked Third Least Affordable Housing Market Globally

Australia’s housing affordability crisis has not gone unnoticed, with Sydney and Melbourne among the top five least affordable major housing markets in the world.

The average Australian mortgage has reached half a million dollars, and Australians are paying nearly 13 times their annual income to afford a home, a global study has confirmed.

Results pulled from the 14th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey has revealed that Australia is the third least affordable place to live in the world.

Providing housing affordability ratings for 293 housing markets with data from a population over one million, Demographia ranked Sydney as the second most affordable housing market, behind Hong Kong. Vancouver, London and Toronto made up the top five.

Continue reading here.

The Future is Prefabricated

Prefabricated construction is in its infancy but with increasing demand on tradition construction and speed and sustainability benefits of prefabrication, could this new manufacturing industry change the way Australia builds?

The collapse of Australia’s automotive manufacturing industry has been devastating, with up to 40,000 workers estimated to ultimately lose their jobs.

Yet with a rapidly growing population and cranes dotting our city skylines, a new manufacturing industry is on the cusp of a boom: prefabricated construction.

Image: article supplied

Researchers at the University of Melbourne are looking at how this burgeoning industry can provide safe, affordable and sustainable housing, while also offering the opportunity for former automotive manufacturing workers to transfer their skills.

The Melbourne School of Engineering is leading a new push to grow the prefabricated sector’s market share within the construction industry from 5 per cent to 15 per cent by 2025, contributing to around 20,000 new jobs and $30 billion of growth. They are supporting this research with large scale testing and training facilities at their recently announced new campus, to be built at Fishermans Bend.

Professor Tuan Ngo, Research Director of the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Advanced Manufacturing in Prefabricated Housing and the Asia-Pacific Research Network for Resilient and Affordable Housing, leads much of this work.

He says Australia has a lot to learn from European countries like Sweden, where prefabricated modular housing makes up 70 per cent of the construction industry.

Extreme weather, in particular long cold winters, can make building outside difficult there, so prefabricated components are created in manufacturing plants instead.

Why prefab in Australia?

Professor Ngo says supply is unable to meet increasing demand in the traditional Australian construction sector. Meanwhile, costs are rising, contributing to the housing affordability crisis affecting many Australians struggling to buy their first homes.

This was originally published by Architecture AU.

Click here to read the entire article.

IKEA’s New Innovation Lab Is Researching The Future Of Co-Living

Ikea’s future-living research lab, Space10, has launched a research project into the future of co-living, One Shared House 2030.

A collaboration between Space10 and Brooklyn design studio Anton & Irene, One Shared House asks members of the public to imagine a co-living community in the year 2030, defining their preferences for the type of people they wish to live with, the way the community is organised and things they would be willing to share with others.

The project aims to provide information on whether co-living could offer potential solutions to current housing issues such as rapid urbanisation, loneliness and the growing global housing affordability crisis.

 IKEA’s New Innovation Lab Is Researching The Future Of Co-Living
Image: article supplied

“Our cities have never been more attractive to so many people,” Space10’s Guillaume Charny-Brunet said.

“Yet in the context of booming urbanisation, rocketing housing prices, shrinking living spaces and increasing social disconnects, ‘sharing’ will be ‘caring’ more than ever.”

Co-living isn’t new, but as both space and time are increasingly becoming a luxury, the concept needs a revamp. [Space10] is going on a journey to explore the potential of co-living to better the lives of city dwellers across the planet.”

Australia’s population is expected to grow to over 70 million in the next century and the idea of shared living spaces could provide the solution to many current housing issues.

According to Ikea, high-density living and environmental pressures will drastically change the way Australians live, eat and work by the year 2100.

A shared living environment is far from the traditional Australian dream of a standalone family home in the suburbs, but according to Kate Ringvall, Ikea Australia’s sustainability manager, Australia needs to be more open to the concept.

“Our research shows that Australians need to be more open minded to new ways of living. We are at a pivotal moment in history [in] that we can create cities that suit our future, as opposed to inheriting legacies from past generations.”

This was originally published by The Urban Developer.

Click here to read the entire article.