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16 Things You Should Know About Shipping Container Housing In Nigeria

16 Things You Should Know About Shipping Container Housing In Nigeria


If you are looking at alternative home construction methods, converting  shipping containers into homes can be a valuable opportunity because they are strong, portable, and easy to construct. They are basically cheaper and can be built so fast. If you are considering a shipping container house, some of your questions have been answered below. Feel free to add more questions as a comment.


  1. How much does it cost?

For containers in good condition and suitable for house construction the average costs are:

20ft (6m) –   N 450,000

40ft (12m) – N 600,000

These cost includes transportation to site and is more applicable to Lagos and its environs.


  1. Container Specifications

The exact dimensions may vary, but bear in mind that the average specification is

Length – 6m (20 foot) or 12m (40 foot)

Height – 2.5m

Width – 2.4m

They have corrugated walls on the top and bottom sides and are welded to the rails and end frames.

Note:  The normal headroom for residential houses is 3.0m, so bear in mind the container height is lower.

  1. What is the Average Construction Duration?

Depending on the size and complexity of the project, shipping container homes on an average takes a couple of weeks or months to be up and standing. In comparison with normal concrete and block wall construction of regular dwellings in Nigeria, it is about 20-40% faster to build. You can construct them on the site or if there is a shortage of space you can construct them offsite and move them to site with a truck.


  1. What is the cost/schedule Comparison with Concrete?

In comparison with normal concrete and block wall construction of regular dwellings in Nigeria, it is about 20-30% cheaper depending on your design and style. It can also be more expensive if you go for the high-end designs. If you want to have an idea about the cost of your dream container house, you can use our estimator here and get your results in less than a minute.


  1. How safe is it for living considering our security issues in Nigeria?

Building multi-storeyed houses with containers is safe even for the Nigerian environment. Container structure is designed to be exposed to heavy loads, and regular rough handling, which perfectly solves the safety concerts. It is very strong and robust and can’t be broken into with ease.


  1. What About The Structural Safety And Lifespan?

They are mostly made from Corten steel. Corten steel containers are stronger than traditional steel and are less prone to corrosion. Containers are the strongest structure available–stronger than wood, concrete, and even regular steel buildings. Whether single units or multiple connected units they are resistant to any natural disaster available, including tornadoes, earthquakes, and even hurricanes. The bottom floors are constructed from hardwood such as birch or teak, which can hold massive weight. They can withstand harsh weather conditions and salt water, and have very long lifespan.


  1. What Is The Adoption Rate In Nigeria ?

Container housing is on the rise in Nigeria. In recent times the increase in cost of concrete based construction materials has increased the demand for alternative construction processes of which container housing solves the cost and time problem effectively. Shipping container housing has also been adopted by people who want innovative housing solutions beyond the architectural masterpieces carved out of concrete and hollowblocks.


  1. What Are The Existing Building Regulations Regarding It?

Most States in Nigeria do not yet have regulations for container housing. Some consider it to be temporary structures not requiring permits. You may go ahead with your construction, however as its becomes more popular, building permits and other regulations may be introduced.


  1. Can The Interior And Exterior Fit My Design?

There is no limit to your creativity with shipping containers. You can get exactly the kind of home you have in mind with more open spaces, fancy facades, amazing terrace designs and with electricity supplied by solar energy from your solar panel roof. Shipping container architecture is meant to reflect exactly who you are – the innovative and the bold. Let your home stand out from the street, a shipping container home is sure to get you noticed.


  1. Can I Just Buy The Materials And Get A Contractor To Build It ?

Only do this if you have a good idea about what you are getting into. Some used shipping containers are old enough for scrapping and rust may become more common place. So rust may become an annoyance when you use the recycled material. During transport process, the protecting layer weather resistant paints can be scratched and damaged somewhere and not sufficiently repaired leading to potential rusts. Also, some cargo containers were never intended for reuse in residential forms, these containers may have had harmful paints and solvents during their manufacturing and usage. If you do not know the history of the container or its physical suitability it may be better you let you contractor handle the purchase.


  1. What Is The Design And Construction Process Like?

Shipping container designs are flexible, its construction works are quite technical though, as it will require someone with the sound knowledge working with steel and modular housing to make the best out of it.


  1. Is It So Hot Inside?

Shipping containers are made of metal which conduct heat very well. Containers have to be properly insulated otherwise the temperature inside the containers would be so low during the rainy season and high during our dry season.


  1. Can I Build It Myself? Are There Companies Who Specialize In It?

Containers are boxes of steel. For starters or those with complex design it is best you go with companies or professionals with sound design experience and competent structural engineering knowledge. Contractors with vast knowledge in modular or container finishing will reduce the cost of your project and increase the quality. They help you prevent insulation issues, water leakages, and other issues which can be very unbearable.  It is better to find one contractor to help the whole process versus having one for getting and modifying the containers, and another to finish out the interior.


  1. Can Shipping Container Homes Be Made Big?

Shipping container houses can be as big as you want them. While the individual units may be small, you can combine as many containers together to have more horizontal space and also stack them on top of each other to multiply the spaces. Containers can go up to 7 floors, though we normally limit it to 3-4 floors for residential projects for our client. Dream big if you want to, just observe the costs, as the budget rises with the design complexity.


  1. Additional Benefits? Flexibility

Your shipping container basically comes with the walls, floor and decking (ceiling) for your home; you just need to apply insulation and redesign the interiors/exteriors to suit your style.

However, while the basic structure can be cheaper than concrete based housing, your selection of finishes and design can make your project more luxurious and consequently expensive. So it is up to you, you can have it cheap and plain or amazing and expensive.


  1. Any Other Advice?

Like all construction alternatives, it has its benefits and challenges, if you want to do it then just go for it.  It is safe, strong and an entirely new and rewarding experience.


If you are considering building a container house, contact us, we love working on shipping container projects.