I love the Irish… the sights, the sounds… the Containers…

19 Nov

You know, for years  when I thought about Ireland, I remembered times spent in my youth amongst those red-haired vixens with lilting voices who sang like angels.

(You thought I was going to regurgitate trips to famous architectural sites in Belfast of Dublin, didn’t you? Hello? It was in my YOUTH… Curvy red-headed girls who sang like choirs echoed from heaven easily trump St Pat’s Cathedral in Dublin or a legion of Norman or Anglo-Irish Castles…) :)

Now,when I think about Ireland, I think about a beautiful country filled with hard-working people, united in the task of rebuilding themselves.

Now please excuse me. This album of Celtic Women singing isn’t gonna listen to itself! Now, where did I put that Guinness? :)

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Walking Padded planks? NAY I SAY!

19 Nov

We’ve gotten several requests for additional information since we ran our post on RenaissanceRonin.wordpress.com and Containerhomeconsultants.com about Vinyl Plank Flooring.  We discussed it’s use as a durable, affordable, easily installed replacement material for hardwood flooring.

We also showed you a few videos that details the Vinyl Plank Flooring material and it’s installation.

While we battle weather-inflicted delays here in ISBU-ville (I’ve decided that I hate the Arctic – she can keep her storms), I thought that I’d take a moment to address them;

Most of the emails we’re getting point out the fact that we’d apparently forgotten to discuss the different pads that are laid beneath the vinyl plank flooring to cushion it.

There’s a reason that we didn’t discuss it.

You DON’T use a pad under most types of vinyl plank flooring. vinyl plank floors. This is due to the created potential for movement that a cushioned pad allows. While you normally use a pad under hardwood flooring, vinyl plank flooring has a small and flexible contact tongue and groove surface area that will actually separate under the flexing and movement of the pad.

If you choose to use any type of underlayment, it must be VERY THIN. The last thing you want is to spend the rest of your days repairing flooring that has separated.

Keep in mind that the surface of the concrete or sub-floor MUST be smooth to perform the best.

Man, I can’t wait for a good night’s sleep in my own bed! :)

Till next time…

Walk the Plank, bub…

18 Nov

As our 2014 ISBU season begins to come to a close, we’re getting calls from families finishing up their residential projects before the weather turns ugly.

Some of those calls are to pile blessing on our houses. Some of those calls are to ask us how to extricate all the relatives who helped build them.

SOME of those calls are from families who have had a change of heart and are looking at making some last minute changes…

Here’s one we got last week that we thought we’d share;

Hi Alex,

We’re making terrific headway. The way you’ve laid things out, building a home using ISBUs is like building a children’s toy out of Lego Building Blocks.

(4) ISBU containers, 2200 square foot and it’s working like magic. Neighbors who originally cussed us are now showing up with tools, to help out.

It’s gone really, really  well, up to now. SO well that Momma has decided to bump the build up a notch and we’re no longer at Lowe’s looking for appliances.

She keeps using words like “Viking” and “Sub-Zero” and she’s not talking about the temperature or Sweden…

Now, I’m a big subscriber in that guild that believes “Happy wife, happy life”, so…

I need to find more money in our build.

That means that our hardwood floors are out the window. There’s no more budget for them. Man, I loved those floors…

And now, I’m looking at a “house half blessed with hardwood”…

I know that you guys love polished concrete floors, but I need something a bit “friendlier” as Momma has laid down the law.

Her exact quote was;

“You better lay down some cool flooring or you can find yourself another place to lay down…”

Help Me, Obi  Wan Kenobi… you’re my only hope…

**

Relax Youngling, just as soon as I finish this “Midichlorian Mai Tai”, I’m gonna hook you up. In fact, it’s been said that I was conceived by midichlorians… or was it “people that had  gone medieval on each other”?  I forget… :)

Here at the shop, I have to admit that we’re big fans of hardwood. But we’re also big fans of eating and sleeping without looking for poison in our foods or a skillet crashing into our heads.

You’ve said that you have budget for  “half a houseful of hardwood”. We suggest you use that hardwood in the place where it’ll make the most impact. Start at your foyer and work your way into your living room and family rooms. If you can swing it, continue your hardwood into your hallways. Use carpeting in your bedrooms in lieu of hardwood with rugs.

Now, go find that old coffee can that you keep your beer money in. Can you afford .99 cents a square foot?

I am a big fan of vinyl plank flooring; While it’s true that some folks are concerned about vinyl in general and released VOCs, sometimes, you make compromises. Vinyl Plank isn’t really that much of a compromise, frankly. Not only is it easy to install and replace, it is also economical, durable, and has a lot of resistance to the water damage issues that affect laminates or hardwood flooring materials.

And relax… I’m definitely NOT talking about that crappy vinyl material that comes in rolls. You don’t cut it to fit and then glue it down.

Vinyl Plank FlooringIt is a vinyl plank material where each piece snaps or lays into the one before it.

There are two basic types of vinyl planking. The first is “easy click” where the material clicks into the edge of the piece of the material next to it. The second is called “loose lay” and it lays right next to the piece next to it, as the name implies. I favor the “easy click” flooring as it creates a “more positive” locking floor surface.

It LOOKS like wood flooring. In fact, some of it is so good that it’s hard to tell from a distance if it’s real wood or not.

The floor is “floating”, so there’s no glue on the floor (or your hands, or the dog)  which makes it easy to install and repair. Installation is easy. Even your “idiot brother-in-law” can do it. Seriously, I’ve taught 14 year old girls how to install it.

And that’s part of vinyl plank’s charm. In rooms where sharp things will be dropped (like kitchens or crafts rooms) and locations where liquids are spilled regularly (like kitchens or bathrooms), a durable  and easily repaired flooring material may be a pretty good thing – unless you like surrendering time spent on the sofa watching footballs games on Cable for time spent “cursing and hacking” at damaged flooring while your head fills with glue fumes or sawdust.

If you have kids, pets or are prone to spilling things and you like the look of wood, vinyl plank is an excellent flooring choice. It’s durable  and inexpensive.

Try places like Lumber Liquidators to find great deals on flooring.

(NO! We’re not affiliated with, nor do we receive compensation from these guys. We’ve just seen many, many families get outrageous deals from them. We LOVE saving our families money. That way, somebody get’s ambushed by their significant other about what the savings can be applied to! What can I say? We’re just evil that way…)

Muwahahahah! ;)

Truth be told, while most of my own farmhouse is scheduled for hardwood flooring, I intend to use Vinyl Plank Flooring myself in places where the floors are going to take a beating – like my mech room, my mud room, my workshop and my guitar lab…

You know where to ship the beer… You know what we drink. It starts with a “G” and ends with a “ness”… We’ll be waiting…

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Second Lives for Shipping Containers – Student Housing

12 Nov Israeli Student ISBU Dorms

When I was in Israel, I met with several people about using ISBUs (Shipping Containers) to provide student housing. There was a LOT of interest.

Here’s one project that is ready to go on-line in the Southern Israeli desert. It’s a good example of exactly what I was talking about.

Israeli Student ISBU Dorms

According to Israeli News sources;

“The containers have been cleaned of rust, given a lick of paint and recycled into chic but cheap living space, replete with two bedrooms, a living room, kitchenette and bathroom. Stacked atop one another, the worn boxes now constitute Israel’s first student village made solely of retired shipping containers.”

While this is the first village built entirely of shipping containers, it’s not the first ISBU structure in Israel. There are several. I know this for a fact, as I personally built several of them.

Globally, the “student dorm/housing” market is ripe for this solution right now. In fact, we’re involved in “The Agridorm Project” to do exactly this in the US for a University in the Midwest as I type this, with several more interested schools currently in “negotiations”.

“In Israel, where hundreds of thousands of people led by a group of university students took to the streets in 2011 to protest the high cost of living, converted containers are being used as a solution to the dire shortage of affordable student housing.

“There are millions of these containers that can be used. They are usually discarded after only two or three years and the companies don’t know what to do with them,” said Effy Rubin, director of partnership at the nonprofit student organization Ayalim, which encourages young people to move to the Galilee and Negev desert regions.

Rubin said the containers were bought from Israeli companies for about $2,000 each and were transported this year to two locations in Israel — Sderot in the south and Lod in the center — to form the basis of the country’s first two container villages.

Renovations to turn the containers into a livable space — two containers were fitted together for each apartment — cost a little more than $40,000 per apartment and took less than six months to complete. In Sderot, a city that sits in close range of rockets fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, the container village includes interlocking stairwells with reinforced concrete to provide bomb shelters.

Both villages — Sderot, which initially will house up to 86 students, and Lod, built for 36 — are set to open Dec. 1. Rent for the two-person apartments will be no more than $160 a month per person.”

This solution could be used to house seniors, create shelters or provide housing for seasonal/factory workers easily.

IMHO – With so many in need of shelter, it’s time this solution was mainstreamed.

RR Avatar Image and article excerpts credits – http://www.jewsnews.co.il

Is “bigger” always better? IMHO – Not with ISBUs…

10 Nov 4 meter home

I’m getting barraged lately by people who are posting photos and floorplans of “Container Homes” that use custom built, extra wide “4 meter” containers.

4 meter home

They want to know which “container yards” you can find these in, for sale.

People, you CAN’T.

These wider containers (usually called “4 meter boxes”) are CUSTOM BUILT for the housing industry by specialty builders or architects. You have to special order them, you have to pay a big premium for them and they aren’t “repurposed, recycled or reused”. They are brand new boxes and they are usually custom manufactured in places like China or (gasp!) Australia.

4 meter home1Admittedly, they ARE cool. But in our view, these aren’t “container homes” because (by design) they are “another” direction in “modular construction”.

One of the “core values” in using ISBUs for us was that you were taking something “cast-off” that no-one wanted and affordably and efficiently converting it into something that you couldn’t imagine living without. You were giving it “new life”.

Here are some thoughts about “4 meter” boxes;

You don’t buy them from salvage yards.You buy them brand new and built to specification, direct from a  Container Contractor or representative.

You’ll pay a premium to get them delivered to you from China or “The Land Down-Under…” The reason for this is that they don’t fit the traditional footprint on the container ships.

You’ll pay a huge insurance premium increase to get them shipped to you once they’ve been modified, if you can get them shipped to you at all.

You’ll pay a huge premium to truck them to your site because they’re so wide. You’re going to need special permits and you’re  going to need pilot cars and extra personnel.

MANY of the more “popular” Container Hotels you see on the Internet use these wider boxes. Using these wider boxes means that you can pre-build (in factories) your hotel suites and then just stack them up on site to assemble your hotel. It makes good economic sense, but it’s NOT “Shipping Container Construction in the “usual flavor”.

It’s (financially) well beyond the reach of most “modern mortals” trying to build Shipping Container homes on a budget. :)

I actually see these hotels as being “modular constructs” more than being “container buildings”. In fact, in my view, they aren’t “really” containers at all. They’re “reasonable facsimiles thereof”.

Since the early ’70′s, the “Shipping Container Housing Movement” was BASED on reusing or repurposing AFFORDABLE shipping containers that had been retired from service traveling the high seas. The idea was to take something discarded and then breathe new life into it. I personally know this is true because I was THERE (we’ve been doing this, hand’s on, since 1977).

So, to those of you who keep asking me if I can build these “newer, wider models”…

My answer is YES, but I WON’T.

In summary;

They’re too expensive, they involve too much red tape and expanded transport costs and they violate my principles about building alternative housing using “repurposed” materials. They aren’t affordable. They aren’t reused and they aren’t recycled.

Seriously, buying a pair of High Cubes here in the States is cheaper than buying one of these “miracle” boxes overseas and then waiting for it to arrive… eventually… to your construction site. And I’ll point out that if you do it MY way, you end up with more square footage. :)

If you have money to burn or you’re simply building to “one-up the neighbors”, then kindly disregard this message. I’ll be happy to refer you to a design house that will build these monstrosities for you.

That is all…

RR Avatar Image Credits: Container Homes of Sydney Australia

Need Affordable Housing? Here’s why Shipping Containers are worthy…

7 Nov

Recently, we talked about a new ISBU (Intermodal Steel Building Unit) housing complex that we have in process, a University Housing Project built from shipping containers.

We were almost immediately buried in email by readers who don’t understand WHY ISBUs are a good solution for a project of this magnitude.

What many people envision when you say “shipping container housing” is the remembrance of news stories of refugees dying inside oven temperature shipping containers as they try to smuggle themselves into the United States.

They picture microscopic spaces – long and skinny – where claustrophobia runs rampant.

They picture “Apocalyptic” scenes where “graffiti covered steel slums are illuminated by rusty steel barrels filled with garbage burning in the front yards”…

They picture visions of “slow talking Cable TV Reality Show Rednecks armed with torches and welders hack steel boxes willy-nilly as they thumb their noses at modern society”.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s all myth.

At RR our ISBU – shipping container – home and building designs and the structures that follow adhere to strict standardized  guide lines to produce exceptional and inspiring industry recognized spaces.

The benefits of Corten Steel container homes and buildings have been recognized worldwide. In Europe, ISBU (Shipping Container) housing is commonplace and has become a sustainable, affordable and efficient solution offering students and others  affordable housing and homes.

Many Internet blogs are buzzing with details about the blossoming global hotel industry as it explodes with container-based lodging and ISBU-based destinations.

While once scoffed at, these “container hotels” have found themselves recast as “media darlings” and they have found themselves cast in luxury top-end categories throughout the hotel industry.

In the case of our AgriDorm Project, each ISBU (Intermodal Steel Building Unit – commonly referred to as “shipping containers”) based apartment unit measures approximately 320 square feet and contains a living room, bedroom, bathroom, tub shower and kitchenette. Note that the bedroom uses standard queen sized storage pedestal beds and has full length Organizer Closets as well as a built in desk.

By using a pair of High Cube (because they are taller than standard shipping containers) 40′ × 8′ shipping containers, a 40′ × 16′ foot module is created in the production facility. All of the doors, windows, utilities, built in furnishings and finishings are applied during this process to create (2) 320 square foot  (approx.) finished apartment units.

Upon completion, the ISBU units are disassembled and the 40′ × 8′ foot modules are then shipped to the site (by truck or rail) where they are reassembled.

These ISBU modules can even be stacked onto other modules to make a finished single or multi-story housing complex.

Using these ISBU (shipping container) modules, this housing/dormitory/apartment building can be scaled to create virtually any size building required – from as little as 8 units to as many as 32 or more units.

Because of it’s modular nature, the housing building can also be added on to at anytime in the future.

If an 8 unit housing building finds that it has an increased demand for 24-32 units and the site has room to support it (extra parking areas, etc…), more units can easily be added onto the existing building or be added as separate buildings on the same lot.

There are many advantages to shipping container housing:

Because these modules are “factory created” on assembly lines, production time is decreased and quality control in increased. This process also increases worker safety and minimizes waste. This means that the “time to completion” can be a fraction of the time a traditional “brick and mortar building” will take. This also means that production delays are minimized.

Because the completed modules are transported (trucked) to site for assembly, fewer trades workers are required to complete/assemble the building. It also means that the construction site has much less “worker impact” on the surrounding neighborhood.

Because the building arrives as “modules”, the housing units are “weathered in” as the modules are assembled.

With the ability to set modules in as little as less than 15 minutes each, this means that your building is assembled and protected from Day One. This saves time and materials losses due to the impact of weather events on your site.

The modules origins as Corten Steel Shipping Containers means that the units are immediately secureable as they are assembled on-site.

Shipping containers are designed to be resistant to heavy weather on the high seas. The use of that same durable Corten Steel box ensures the safety of a container home.

In addition (contrary to popular belief) ISBUs (shipping containers) are actually simple to modify using plasma cutters, grinders, welders or torches. Cutting, reforming and modifying shipping containers has become a reasonably simple and inexpensive procedure.

The contents and materials are secure against loss or theft from Day One.

ROI (Return on Investment) times are decreased due to lower cost per square foot production costs and shortened build periods – which require less labor.

While the media casts “Container Homes” as the “new” GREEN, we sit at our desks and laugh.

You see… here at RR (since 1977) we knew it all along… in fact, when we first realized it, most of us still had hair… and hot rods… :)

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There’s something about Elections that makes people think about the future…

5 Nov Amirage ISBU Guest Studio - 4x20HQ plus steel and SIPs-SSMR

As I sit here watching the poll results start to come in, I can almost feel America holding it’s collective breath.

Imagine my shock when one of my “arch-nemesis” (“I’d never live in a metal box…”) rivals called me on the phone to ask my help.

He has a guy (who lives in California) who wants a small hunting and fishing cabin built on his riverside lot on the Salmon River, not 60 miles from me. The client wants to get out of California “before the politicians force it to fall off into the sea”.

He drives by one of the largest shipping container storage yards in the United States, located in Long Beach, California on a regular basis. Those trips past “the boneyard” inspired him, those big metal boxes called out to him. He WANTS a Shipping Container cabin built and he wants it built “by people who know what the hell they are doing”.

So his architect, my “naysayin’ pal” called me.  He’d recently seen my “Architect’s Cabin” on our CHC website. We’re building an ISBU (Intermodal Steel Building Unit – also commonly referred to as “shipping container”) based cabin for a Project Manager who will live on-site monitoring an extremely large construction build-out that sprawls across more than a  thousand acres.

In the originally executed design, the cabin is a contemporary 2 story structure with a large loft bedroom over a spacious 2 story high “Great Room” style cabin complete with a large ceiling fan.

(In my personal version, the second floor bedroom opens to a covered three season rooftop terrace, that could easily be converted to a four season space.)

Amirage ISBU Guest Studio - 4x20HQ plus steel and SIPs-SSMRThis design exceeds the needs of the hunter/fisherman that we’ll be speaking with. He wants a smaller, more compact  single-story solution.

So, we just convert the “workspace” into a multi-purpose space that includes a bedroom. A queen sized bed will fit into that space easily.

Small remote cabins usually suffer from the same haunting malady – the small footprint fails to supply adequate storage space. As a result, I build storage lockers into the floor (just like you’d find in a sailboat) and capitalize on every space possible to provide additional storage. As the client had specified that he have a separate workspace for his computer work and hobbies. I’d definitely use a “library style” Murphy Bed system so that the space could be seriously multi-tasked.  I can  easily picture  fold down tables on the front of those bed cabinets that could be used for fly tying or reading/working, possibly even with a large LCD monitor and a laptop computer docking station.

library-murphy-bed-in-oak-walnut

library-murphy-bed-in-oak-walnut-openThe client also has a large dog (a retriever) that travels with him everywhere. Rather than just sharing the couch or the bed with his beloved hound, I’d suggest something like this;

murphy-bed-for-dog2

murphy-bed-for-dogI’d actually mount the cabin’s primary  LCD Television above it and use the interior storage space for DVDs and his PlayStation video game system.

Those relatively simple modifications made, I’d flip the closet so that it opens into the “bedroom” zone, install a tub in the bathroom to replace the washer and dryer, slap a SIP (structural Insulated Panel) gable roof  – covered with a waterproof membrane and SSMR (Standing Seam Metal Roofing) on top of it  and voila, you have a quickly built, energy efficient, very affordable, “instant” Retreat Cabin.

Oh yeah…

I’d splurge a little bit on the bathroom. If it was me, it’d get a “walk-in” tub, for relaxing and soaking those tired muscles at the end of the day.

walk in tubThis same cabin (with lofts created at either side of the SIP roof structure) would actually support a small family spending vacations and holidays in the woods or by the beach.

And… with some planning and forethought, this cabin could easily be lived in, year round. I could “homestead” this cabin, easy. This small cabin would function flawlessly just about anywhere a loft style home is applicable. It’s small, comfortable, affordable and easy to build.

People, I can’t stress enough that ISBUs (shipping containers) are just “modular boxes”. They’re just massive steel frames waiting to get welded together to form skeletons. Once you get the boxes in place, it’s pretty much a “conventional” build supplemented with enough “tech” to take the home “off-grid”.

Building a home (or even a commercial project) using ISBUs isn’t “rocket science”.

You embrace your project in the same manner as you would any other type of  construction:

  • Start with good design principles.
  • Do your homework. Learn everything you can about what’s happening. Information is the purest form of power.
  • Define your needs and wants clearly.
  • Define your budget early on and stick to it.
  • Choose quality materials, reusing, recycling and repurposing materials where you can to keep your budget manageable.
  • “Multi-task” every area you can.
  • “Friends in the trades” make light work. Call in favors. Buy Pizza and coffee. Apply beer liberally. :)
  • “Light makes Right”. You’re  not building  a cave, you’re building  your home. Use as much glazing as you can.

Remember that building small spaces means building spaces capable of being “multi-tasked”. Use space for as many purposes as possible. The more you do this, the smaller your home  requirements become.

“Capture” as much light as you can. There are those that believe that “Container life” means living is a small metal tube. NOTHING could be further from the truth. Great windows make great homes. Sunlight means airy, enjoyable  spaces. Sunlight means heat. Sunlight makes you happy. I like “happy”.

If you design well, define with diligence and stay focused on the details, you’ll build a successful project.

And in places like Montana, Idaho and Colorado, as long as you have a sustainable, energy efficient ISBU home that basks in the sunlight, a water well and some firewood combine to insure that winter isn’t going to give you any trouble at all. Trust me.

Stay tuned. This should be a fun one.

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Were you born in a barn? ISBU Student Housing gets a new face in the USA…

2 Nov

The use of ISBUs (Shipping Containers) as University Dormitories has been well documented overseas. In places like Denmark and Germany, ISBUs are used regularly to provide housing for students and faculty.

Here in the United States the use of ISBUs as Student Housing is just beginning to take off. Over the last few years, we’ve seen ISBU Student Housing Projects in several American cities as Commercial Real Estate Investors begin exploring the marketplace.

Recently, I spoke with University Administrators to discuss the potential for the creation of “Modular” Dormitories for married couples attending school.

What normally occurs in these situations is that the projects are “Design by Committee” type projects and as a result, nothing is ever accomplished. Politics, in-fighting and squabbling generally derail these projects.

In this case we were pleasantly surprised when the Regents basically gave us “carte blanche” to construct a prototype (to be used in an Agricultural Research Facility located off campus), provided we met their basic criteria and matched the existing structures on the campus site.

Okay, the proposed site is covered in barns and Agricultural outbuildings. So, we’ll do “barn”.

AgriDorm Project - 10x40HQThe units are to be “all-inclusive” 1 BDRM and 1 Bath apartments that will be provided to students with all utilities and services included.

Photovoltaic Power
Solar Hot Water
Radiant In-Floor Heat (Potential)
12.5K BTU Mini-Split AC/Heat units
Basic (Dish based) Cable and Internet

While the Regents want Radiant slabs to provide heat, we’re pushing for the use of Mini-Split AC/Heat units. They’re energy efficient, easy to install and cost effective.

In a project of this size, labor will need to be tightly controlled to insure success. Mini-Splits are far less labor intensive.

Further, to meet budget requirements the prototype units must be constructed using skilled students currently enrolled in the University’s Sustainable Architecture and Construction Technologies programs and they must be built in existing Campus facilities.

Let’s talk about heat and AC for a moment;

We’re huge fans of Mini-Split AC/Heat units. They’re ductless, they’re quiet and they’re energy efficient. An easily sourced 12k system would easily condition and heat an approximately 320 square foot apartment with power to spare.

Combine this heating/cooling unit with high-performance energy efficient windows, SPF (Closed Cell Spray Foam) Insulation (or PolyIso rigid insulation) in a structure topped with a SIP (Structural Insulated Panel) roof and you have a tight, energy efficient envelope that will last for decades without heavy maintenance requirements.

A smart team would clad this high-performance building using durable Hardiplank, virtually insuring the same levels of high performance and low maintenance requirements for many years to come.

(Hmmm… I spec and use so much Hardiplank that James Hardie should be sending me checks!)

A few years back (we were still in the South helping families recover from Hurricane Katrina) CHC (Container Home Consultants)  designed a series of “small footprint” 4-plexes using ISBUs. A few of these were actually constructed and then implemented as “Senior Housing” in Louisiana and Alabama. Another was built by a team in Georgia who needed to create a Woman’s Shelter for women undergoing occupational training. The design works flawlessly.

That design, with a few subtle twists is perfect for this project.

This gives us the ability to not only utilize “Sustainable Architecture” curriculum that we participated in creating, we get the opportunity to mentor students by providing “hands on” training during the build-out processes.

It doesn’t get a lot better than this. It gives us the opportunity to help these young students to “lead by example” as they create the housing that fellow students require.

We’ll actually build these modules in the University facility this winter (in weather-controlled environments) and then truck them to site in the Spring for erection and project completion.

This exact same design could be used in urban areas to create worker housing or even in rural tracts for use as “seasonal labor housing”.

Additionally, since these units are “stackable” (by design), you could go up three or four levels high without difficulty. In today’s marketplace you can imagine the potential for capitalizing on rental profits with projects like this one.

And mark my words that in the future, some kid will look at his/her mom and dad and answer that age old question;

“Hey! Were you born in a barn?”

“Nope, but I was conceived in one!” :)

Stay tuned because this is going to be exciting.

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It’s a big Sea… so get out of my way!

3 Oct

How in the vastness of the sea, do two titans collide?

The sea may be vast… but that channel certainly isn’t. The Suez Canal is a treacherous place. Or so it would seem.

Watch the video carefully. It looks like the ship to starboard tried to go around and then probably came to the grim realization that she was about to run aground. Then she took to hard port without reducing throttle.

The rest is obvious. BOOM! She hit the opposing ship.

Boys and girls… when these ships are loaded, the wind pushes them around like giant sails.  You can’t just slam on the brakes. These aren’t pleasure yachts. The ships are so large that they take miles to stop, not to mention the fact that the prop turbulence created by these emergency maneuvers actually exerts so much force that they destroy the ship’s rudders.

Observers nailed  it when they said that the collision was inevitable from the moment they started filming.

ISBU (Shipping Container) Barn Raising, Anyone?

25 Sep ISBU Barn

You cannot believe how busy we are right now as families race to complete ISBU Homes before winter tries to wreak havoc with home completion.

As our families build out their Corten Compounds”, one of the things we’re getting asked about more and more is “ISBU Outbuildings”.

We talk on a regular basis about using ISBUs to create Poultry Houses, Rabbit Houses and even processing shops for everything from poultry production to wild game processing and meat smoking.  The nice thing about using ISBUs (Shipping Containers) for out-buildings is that you’re creating easily placed, easily secured buildings  that can actually be moved if required as your site plan evolves.

But what about building BARNS out of ISBUs?

We’ve seen those Youtube clips of the Amish doing high-speed “barn-raisings” that would give most contractors an aneurysm. I mean, they build these massive monuments to livestock in a weekend. It’s  just incredible.

But, what if you used ISBUs (Shipping Containers) to do something similar. If you took a pair of  40′ High Cube ISBUs and then placed them apart from each other to form “walls”, you could top them with trusses and create an enclosed barn in no time flat. ISBU Barn2

These barns get built in less than a WEEK. I’m not kidding. A WEEK.  And remember, the shops inside the ISBUs are already weathered in from Day One.

Consider this:

ISBU BarnWe’ve even used concrete highway dividers to set the boxes as  foundation. That means that you get a 12′+ roof in the garage and you get room above for an office, a shop, or even a guest apartment by using attic trusses.

When you need more space, you simply sister more boxes up to the sides.

We even have a small rural “Sustainable Community” that built one of these ISBU barns to build their “Tiny Houses” for their residents within. When they’ve finished their home construction, they’ll convert the “build barn” into a community space.

If you need help figuring this out, just ask…

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