Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Build a Free House - Almost....

I was having a conversation with my partner yesterday about building our own house.  He bet me I couldn't figure out a way to build the entire thing using Freegle.  I bet him I could.  

We had to agree on a few things though....  there was no way I was ever going to find the stuff to build the structure of the house - at least not to modern building code - on Freegle.  So it was agreed that I could have £50,000 to build the structure of the house, electrical, plumbing, gas, windows & doors.  No money for flooring, plasterboard, furniture, fixtures or fittings.  And not including the cost of land, footings/foundations or having any utilities connected. 

I have a cunning plan..... 

Yep.  I am one of those crazy people who think you can turn a steel shipping container into a house.  In fact, if I ever get the chance, that's what I'm going to do.

Now... you may not know that there are literally millions of these things hanging around in dockyards all around the world.. unused.   I have done some research and found out that every time one of these babies makes a trip overseas, it's never used again.  That's a whole bunch of wasted steel.   In fact, there are enough shipping containers rusting in storage yards to make homelessness obsolete.  

So why not?

Here's what I've got so far. 

There are 3 standard sizes for a shipping container.   They are always 8ft wide and come in 10ft, 20ft and 40ft lengths.   The interior dimensions are going to be a bit smaller of course, once the finishing goes in but for arguement's sake, these dimensions are easier to work with for now. 

The going rate for a used shipping container in water-tight condition is on average - $2800 or £1650.  However, I also know you can purchase damaged, dented and rusty containers for less.  Even as little as $10 depending on the condition.    Pay attention to where windows and doors will go and which sides of the container will be hidden in your design and choose your containers carefully.   It could save a small fortune!

So, that means if you were to use 10 shipping containers to build your house,  it would cost roughly $28,000 or £16,500.  That's less than a new car. 

So I got to designing.   I used 3 8ft x 40ft containers to design this....

The garage outer dimensions are 16ft wide x 20ft long and has enough room for a car and storage.  Behind it, are the laundry facilities, home gym and the stairs to the main floor, also 16ft x 20ft.   To the side,  a 40ft long music room for my partner's obsession..... including vinyl racks on both sides, seating area and credenza at the top end for the stereo equipment.    Cost = £4950 for the containers and probably another couple thousand for the structural work to reinforce the containers once the walls are removed.   I've seen one website selling structural steel beams for £58 per metre... so a couple thousand for just these three rooms, including labour is probably pretty close. 

Everything else has to come from Freegle.  

Should be an interesting bet.