Shipping Container Houses and Legalities…

6 Sep

Somebody I “sorta” admire once reminded me that I should say:

“I should warn the handful of people that might actually read this blog that I am not an architect. “

And, it seems I am destined to fulfill that wish, and make the statement, if only “just for the record.”

I recently received an email from an attorney, that reminded me that once you put something into print, you become liable. Now, it was in response to something I said about buses full of lawyers going off a cliff, and woefully empty seats… but… LOL!

Although I actually went to Architecture School, the fact that I am not “an architect” is an embarrassing confession that I must get off my chest so we can proceed on this expedition with complete honesty. Life offtimes takes strange turns, and the river I’m riding took twists and turns that led me away from “the life I wanted,” only to be replaced by “the life I actually live…”

When I attended those “hallowed halls,” mini-skirts were “in,” “muscle cars” were all the rage, only outlaws rode “Harleys,” and energy was cheap. A lot has changed since then.

I have all the degrees required. I have decades of experience, building shelter. However, I also have decades of experience blowing said shelters up. And I do love “fireworks!” But “that life” is a topic for another blog, in another time…

Suffice to say, the dwellings I’ve built, were usually out of necessity, or to test a theory or application. In most cases, I was successful, according to those who are paid to know about such things. But occasionally, I’ve met my fate, as “not quite enough” and have been forced to step back, and reconsider a path, or find a new option.

And every failure led to a success, once the obstacles were overcome. Because, my friends, sometimes in order to do it right, you have to do it wrong first. Failure is sometimes the spur, for the “evolution of a good design.”

What this translates to is this “I’m an educated fool. I know enough to be really dangerous.” Any facts displayed here, should be double (and even triple) checked, to insure that they are accurate for your use. And then, unless you’re positive that your head is properly attached and fully functional, check with licensed, practicing, professionals, to make sure you’re not doing something stupid… They took all those courses in college for a reason!

I understand the “techno-speak.” I even understand the marketing mumbo-jumbo. What I strive for, is to understand “the actuality” that exists somewhere between “manufacturer promises” and reality.

My house project is not “the usual tract house.” In fact, the only thing it has in common is that it got here on “tracks.” Using ISBU’s (shipping containers) as a starting point is both unconventional, and “horrifying” to the neighbors.

Like most “students of architecture,” I like the cool glass boxes of the modern era. But let’s be honest, okay? In Coastal Mississippi, because of the climate, that is just silly. Glass doesn’t insulate very well unless you have deep pockets for “the good stuff,” and condensation can be an issue in the winters. On top of that, I don’t look like I used to in my boxer shorts come late December after the holidays are over, for all the neighbor’s wives to envy. So unless I’m investing in curtains, it’s not looking like I’m gonna build a fishbowl.

So, what’s left? Everything going up around me is “pumped concrete,” and it reminds me of the igloos that the Inuits live in.  Although the igloo is an absolutely amazing structure, I’m not planning on hunting any seals anytime soon either. Seals are way too chewy!

So what kind of housing should people in both hot and humid, and as cold as your mother-in-law on one of her weekend visits (that last a week) be living in?

For the record:

The blog is going to start getting more “technical,” as we begin to explore the systems and methods used to build this beast. The progress demonstrated is executed for MY house, and may not apply to your project.

The hope is that by showing you how I’ve faced obstacles and overcome them, you may find information you can use, to win your battles, too.  But remember that in most cases, I’ll be speaking “specifically,” and not in “generality,” in many areas of construction and technology, in direct reference to MY project.

Your mileage may vary. You’ve been warned.

Stay tuned, because there are a ton of questions I hope to answer, as we pursue this project.

One of which is undoubtedly about the current state of my “sanity…” LOL! Oy!