Shipping container architecture or “cargotecture” as it is commonly refereed to in the shipping container industry has become quite popular in North America over the last few years. Using shipping containers as the frame work to build shipping container houses, bars, kitchens, cottages, offices etc. is currently more widely accepted and is gaining traction in North America. With this increased appeal and demand for modified shipping container structures there are more and more people out there using high end renderings to try and get their foot in the door in this growing industry. Typically, these prefab container re-sellers are small scale operations (1-3 people) made up of architects and sales professionals that use these renderings to sell prefabricated houses and cottages (among other things) to potential buyers. What most people don’t realize is the fact that these prefabricated buildings, although sold locally, are manufactured and prefabricated on an assembly line in China by a few large shipping container manufacturers (these re-sellers will often refer to the Chinese factories as “Their factory” or “Our Factory”). Although the price tag on these prefabricated shipping container projects is usually somewhat attractive (compared to modifying and fabricating the same thing in North America), that’s pretty much the only positive aspect of buying a prefabricated container building from china as apposed to buying it and having it modified and fabricated locally in North America.
- Shipping Container…think again – Prefabricated Shipping Container Structures (including houses, cottages etc.). ARE NOT made from real shipping containers. They may look like real shipping containers, but they are not. They are built using different grades of steel and different grades of paint because they are not intended to be shipped on the ocean with cargo. Also, they are built with the various openings in place, they do not take a standard shipping container and cut the openings into them (say for windows, doors, staircases etc.). This means that over time, these prefabricated shipping container buildings will not age the same way a standard shipping container will age as they do not use the same grade of Corten steel that they use on their cargo bound shipping containers
- Build Quality – China is known for mass producing various goods cheaper then anywhere else in the world. This is positive for things like electronics, clothing and other low cost goods, but China should be the last place you want your new home or cottage to be built. Overall building standards and quality of materials are much lower coming from China, then they are if they are sourced and built locally in Canada. China is NOT KNOWN FOR MANUFACTURING QUALITY GOODS, they are known for manufacturing goods for the LOWEST POSSIBLE COST. We have first hand experience with prefabricated shipping container structures and can attest to the fact that the over all build quality is extremely low. Prefab structure from china use only Chinese made products and materials. This means the interior and exterior materials like your siding, insulation, walls, floors, electrical, plumbing, kitchens, appliances, bathroom fixtures etc. will all be made in China (compared to a local fabricator like us who will source locally made insulation, walls, floors, electrical, plumbing, kitchens, appliances, bathroom fixtures etc. simply because that’s what’s available for purchase in North America).
- Material Quality – As mentioned previously, prefabricated shipping container buildings from china are made with Chinese parts and steel. Here at Storstac all of our shipping container modifications use Canadian made parts and steels. Things like our doors, windows, steel (used for things like framing openings and reinforcing when required) are all made in Canada. This is a huge bonus because generally anything Made in Canada/ U.S.A. is usually superior then the same item Made in China regarding overall quality, durability and longevity. Also, if your brand new window has a defect, but its from china, how do you warranty that window for replacement?
- Standards of Building – Building standards in Asia are vastly different then in Canada and North America as a whole. Door sizes, hallway widths, staircase clearance and even minimum clearances of doors and washroom fixtures are different in Asia then they are in North America and Canada. One overlook on say the size of your washroom or the position of the door, and your door might be opening right into the toilet or sink, (literally, we have seen this happen in the past).
Still not convinced that a locally designed and modified container structure is right for you? Feel free to pass by our office to talk with one of our modification experts on why your next project should be built right here in Toronto, Canada.