Which States Allow Shipping Container Homes?

Which States Allow Shipping Container Homes? (8 States)

States that allow shipping container homes are California, Alaska, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, Tennessee, and Oregon, etc., but you must make sure to acquire the necessary permits needed before erecting the shipping container home in these States.

A shipping container is a container strong enough to handle shipping, heavy handling, and storage. They can be made of steel, wood, or corrugated aluminum. Containers used in shipping are called intermodal shipping containers.

Shipping container homes are built from these containers that are primarily deployed to convey goods and services from place to place using trucks, trains, sea vessels, and airplanes. The containers can also be used to create offices, retail outlets, studios, bars, etc.

In recent times, these containers have gained widespread use as an alternative to the well-known building materials in existence like cement, sand, gravel, water, and wood. They are now being used as houses, office spaces, and retail outlets.

Countries like France, Denmark, the United States of America, New Zealand, England, etc. have accepted shipping containers as construction vehicles in various projects.

States that Allow Shipping Container Homes

Here are the lists of 8 States that allow shipping container homes in the United States:

1. Texas

Generally, Texas is renowned for having a lenient regulatory environment which also applies to building regulations. As can be seen in the plenty of shipping container homes of various sizes already in place there, Texas obviously proven to have a good track record as a wonderful location to build a shipping container home. It would be easier to gain approval for a shipping container home in the rural and suburban parts of Texas which are more open and accepting of such than the large cities like Houston.

2. California

The state of California is famous for its strict land use policy but being a progressive place, it bends its rules and accepts shipping container homes with open hands provided it is legal and safe. Proof of this can be seen in the many residents who own hybrid container homes and possess all the needed approvals and permits. The premium locations for shipping container homes in California are the north or inland from the coast as they sell structures with reasonable price tags built in areas with less constricting ordinances.

3. Louisiana

Louisiana is the most generous state when it comes to land freedom in America. It has a liberal approach to zoning regulations and the ways people can build their houses as the local authorities have a hands-off approach to such. According to the Cato Institute, Louisiana is ranked as number one for land freedom in the United States. The shipping container home can be built to the owner’s preference without governmental interference in Louisiana.

The only standard followed in Louisiana is the measurement of local land and making a reference to the local land use regulatory climate when shipping container homes are concerned.

4. Tennessee

When compared to other states in the United States of America, residents of Tennessee enjoy land freedom. Local interference and building regulations are relegated to the most minimum levels available thereby making the state a perfect location for shipping container homes.

Many lands in Tennessee have good access to clean water thus reducing the cost of production drastically and giving low-income earners a better opportunity to build shipping container homes.

Moreover, shipping container homes are cheaper in West Tennessee. The rural areas are perfect for off-the-grid living and the weather is ideal as Tennessee has all four seasons- winter, summer, autumn, and spring.

5. Missouri

The local zoning codes in Missouri value shipping container homes as affordable living alternatives. One can build a shipping container home here without needing a building permit.

With its warm summers and mild winters, Missouri weather is an enjoyable one, making the state a perfect environment for shipping container homes. The weather also helps one save cost because terrible weather will require expensive insulation to be installed. So, with the good weather, one won’t need to spend much money fixing the shipping container to make it habitable.

6. Oregon

In Oregon, shipping container homes can only be built on land already designated by the locality as single-family homes. Although Oregon has strict builder regulations, it is quite progressive where alternative construction is concerned. It is perfect if one wants to live off the grid without external interference.

7. Alaska

With its wide terrain and low population density, Alaska is perfect for people who desire their own container homes. Low-cost housing is not zoned in Alaska and many shipping container homes have already been built there. The land is also reasonably affordable in Alaska.

8. Florida

Florida is one of the States that allows container homes as long as you have the permit to do so. So before acquiring or constructing a shipping container home in Florida, you need to first make sure your local and appropriate authorities approve it so you don’t waste your money and efforts doing something that will be pulled down.

Nevertheless, provided local rules and regulations are followed from start to finish, most states in the US are not against the building of shipping container homes. States have their local zoning laws that must be followed for construction of any nature to be approved. Zones are divided into local and residential areas, each of which possesses its individual regulations.

Why Do States Allow Shipping Container Homes?

States allow the construction of shipping container homes to shows how progressive and open-minded they are. These homes are a recent phenomenon and a deviation from the norm of traditionally built homes made of brick and mortar. By showing how accepting they are of these modern construction methods, the states signal to investors that they are open and adaptable to change.

However, by bending their stiff land laws, states like California tell investors that rules and regulations that are not profitable will be relegated to the waste bin.

States also allow shipping container homes because they provide a worthwhile solution to the problems of housing. A state like New York with a high rate of homelessness and high housing costs will benefit from the construction of these homes. Being affordable and small, young adults can easily get one for themselves and live comfortably.

Advantages of Having of Shipping Container Home

  • They are Affordable: Needing fewer building materials and labor to construct, shipping container homes is more cost-effective than traditional homes. They can be purchased for as low as ten thousand dollars. Where the home is to be sited in a place with wonderful conditions, one spends even lesser money because there would be no need to install air conditioning fixtures.
  • Quick Construction Time: Shipping container homes can be built in less than a month. This is a very minute fraction of the time taken in building conventional homes because they do not require many raw materials. With enough labor, the construction could take even lesser time.
  • They Are Easily Customizable: These homes can be modified to fit one’s spec, one can even combine a number of them to create different rooms as would be seen in a regular house.
  • Durability: The steel used in constructing shipping container homes is self-healing. Thus, the individuals purchasing it are sure that their home can withstand the effects of terrible weather.
  • Mobility: These homes can be moved whenever one gets tired of being in a particular location. This feature makes living apart from the distractions of the modern world very easy.

The Disadvantage of Having a Shipping Container Home

  • Difficulty in Obtaining Permits: In some places, getting the permit and approval to build shipping container homes can be quite difficult.
  • They Aren’t Always Eco-friendly: These homes are hailed for being a great way to recycle old containers and save the environment but the reality is that they are made with dangerous elements like lead, arsenic, and chromate.  Some of them may have been used to transport toxic chemicals or sustained damage while conveying goods. This makes them unpalatable to buyers considering a purchase.
  • Installation of Fixtures can be Difficult: Things like electricity and plumbing can be quite difficult to install in a shipping container home as the owner would need the services of artisans conversant with container architecture to install these fixtures otherwise he would be stranded. If he plans to live off the grid, the service of a solar electricity contractor would be required and this will cost big bucks.
  • Insulation: These containers are boxes made of steel. So, they trap a lot of heat making them uninhabitable. This problem can be solved via insulation. Unfortunately, insulation reduces the already small space available.
  • Limited Spaces: One would have to make do with living in a small box with a limited length and breadth which really isn’t convenient.

Are Container Homes Legal in My Area?

Container homes are legal in places like Oregon, California, Alaska, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, New Zealand, England, etc. Therefore, to find out whether the construction of a shipping container home is legal in your area, inquire from your local authorities or from the appropriate authorities.

Do not begin the construction of a container home without first enquiring from your local authorities and getting a permit to avoid landing yourself into some serious trouble.

How to Know if a Container Home is Legal in My Area

To know if a shipping container home is legal, you should make inquiries at the local city planning office to get information on building codes, zoning restrictions, and permitting requirements.

Shipping Container Home Rules

Shipping container home rules are: 

  • Zoning Codes: These separate urban land into different categories that guide the type of structures put up in a particular place. The shipping container must be within its designated zone.
  • Building Codes: These are concerned with the construction process. The materials used in constructing the container home must be in accordance with the rules laid by the state in that regard. In certain places, one would need a permit to purchase or build a shipping container home. It is best to know what applies before proceeding.

Final Thoughts

Shipping containers like every imaginable concept has their advantages and disadvantages as regards their use as a home. It is best to weigh both properly, bearing in mind the local rules guiding them before making a purchase.