Shipping Container home (s) are drawing more interest in Toronto
Costs of Building Homes from recycled materials match price of traditional home construction
By: Tracy Hanes
Special to the Toronto Star
Five years ago, there had been virtually no interest in shipping container homes. Times have changed. “I get two to three queries a day about shipping container homes,” says David Pali, director of business development for Storstac (www.storstac.com), a Toronto company that modifies shipping containers and fabricates portable buildings. While most of Storstac’s business is for commercial or industrial clients (it has created a Tesla showroom and a shop for the Moss Park Market), it also creates residential projects, such as the addition to a Toronto residence/restaurant and a four bedroom house slated for downtown Hamilton.
Most shipping containers are used only one or twice to ship cargo before being abandoned in industrial yards or shipped back to China, where they are manufactured.
Storstac has been in business since 2003. Its president and founder, Vincent Ruggiero, has 40 years experience in the industry. He created ways to recycle discarded shipping containers. He also invented the first portable mini storage units and the first portable wireless telecommunication shelters for the companies that became Rogers, Telus and Fido; created hazardous material storage systems for Ontario Hydro; and created shelters for the Trans-Siberian Pipeline.
Toronto architect Jason Halter of Wonder Inc. Designed both the Hamilton home and two man caves for Hollywood producer Dan Lin, fabricated in Storstac’s yard and shipped to Los Angeles. Halter says shipping container buildings have been around for 25 years in the US.
While raw shipping containers are relatively inexpensive – about $17 a square foot – the other costs are similar to traditional home construction, so these types of homes don’t cost less to build, Pali Says. For example, “you have to do steel work, plus you still need interior stud walls, insulation and mechanical systems.” The Hamilton house for example, will cost about $175 a square foot.
The homes also have to meet zoning and building code requirements.
Storstac only uses containers made of corten (or weathering) steel. which is more resistant to atmospheric corrosion then cheaper “mild” steel. Storstac also has a Ministry of Environment-approved paint booth on site that warms the containers so paint will adhere properly and not peel.
Pali and Halter both expect interest in shipping container houses to continue to build. “they are fantastic building block,” says Pali. “They are stackable modular and movable.”
(On the weekend of Saturday October 1st 2016, Storstac was featured in 3 separate articles (including the front page article) in the Toronto Star Homes and Condos section regarding the shipping container homes and tinyhomes/bunkies we have built over the summer. This article featured here was a “special to the star” that was an in print exclusive)