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Shipping Container Site Prep

Posted on September 25, 2020 by Container Stop
Open Shipping Container Living Unit

Shipping containers have come a long way since their humble beginnings as a way to transport goods/materials by sea. With the tiny house craze in effect for nearly a decade, many are turning to shipping container homes because a durable shell is already in place. They are also easy to personalize.

The number of uses for shipping containers seems to grow exponentially. Extra storage for businesses with excess inventory, concession stands for school or minor league sports parks, or even ticketing offices at fairgrounds and other events. We’ve even created a rooftop bar out of a shipping container!

Something every shipping container needs, however, isn’t even part of the structure: a proper place to put it is foremost. Not only is making sure there’s enough space to have a container delivered important, but also the surface underneath. Imagine the weight of a shipping container pool: will the ground underneath support that much weight?

Shipping Container Site Considerations

Shipping containers themselves are made from steel and designed for durability with little to no maintenance. Even with a series of professionally placed windows, doors, and utilities, these units are manufactured to “stand up to any storm” as we like to say. But the same can’t be said for the ground underneath.

In some cases, little to no site preparation is needed. While shipping containers can weigh between four and five tons, if a surface is already paved, you should be set. That’s why shipping containers are so attractive for use in manufacturing or commercial situations: the site prep is already done.

In some situations, the hardscape may be pitched slightly to keep rain flowing away from the building. Depending on the contents of your shipping container, you may need “shims” to level things out. If you are only using the standard container doors for access, if the container is somewhat level, they can be difficult to open.

Even though shipping containers are wind and watertight, keeping the unit off the ground is advisable. Water could pool along the edges, which may lead to rust. Placing railroad ties underneath the container would solve that problem, and they’re made to handle huge amounts of weight and weather.

Don’t Forget To Look Up
If used in town or for heavy-duty industrial applications, chances are you’ll be dealing with power lines as part of the delivery. Hi-box shipping containers are around 9 ½ feet tall, so there won’t be an issue there. If you are using a crane to place the container, that’s a different story.

A tilt truck, forklift, and other rigging equipment may be used to place the container. Keep an eye out for awnings, overhangs, and other obstructions that may get in the way, however. The container may be less than 10-feet high, but the trailer could add another three or four feet.

Being able to lift the container also needs to be considered, especially if using a tilt truck. Some containers may be too big for a forklift, so a crane will have to be used. Make sure you and the crane operator devise a safe lifting-plan before the container arrives on site.

Other Site Prep Situations

Construction Office
A business park, apartment complex, or industrial facility can take a year or longer to complete. Which makes a shipping container a great choice for a job site office. They are heavy-duty, weather tight, and easy to secure at night. With access to forklifts, cranes, and a host of other equipment, moving the office into place should be a snap for your crew.

Because the site has already been graded, leveling the container shouldn’t be an issue. You may need to put down a bed of gravel, pour a concrete pad, or even compact the ground to keep it level for the coming months. By placing the storage container on top of large pressure-treated lumber or concrete blocks, rigging will be easier if you need to move the container during phases of construction.

Agricultural Use
During the growing season, farms will use huge sprinkler systems to keep the crops healthy and growing. In the offseason, all of that equipment needs to be protected. By placing a few shipping containers, you won’t need to worry about bringing everything back to one location.

Chances are, the area is already level. But the solid may not be firm enough to keep a container above grade due to settling. Railroad ties can be used here as well, although it might make more sense to pour a concrete slab. By elevating the container, pooling water won’t be an issue.

Order Your Container from the Pros

Customizing shipping containers is our specialty at Container Stop. Offering a variety of doors, windows, vents, and even kitchen or bathroom fixtures, we can make your dream a reality. We make site evaluations whenever possible. In those instances where we can’t be on-site before delivery, we use satellite images to scope out the situation.

However, that may not give us the whole picture. Delivering a shipping container to the middle of a field is no issue. But delivering in town or up in the hills could prove problematic. When requesting a quote from us, make sure to give us a detailed description of the surroundings and we’ll do our best to deliver your customized container. We look forward to hearing your ideas!

Our Box, Your Dream!

We’ve built cabins, garden sheds, and tack rooms with our containers. Have an idea for your shipping container? Let us know!

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