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Frequently Asked Questions

What does it cost to build a shipping container home?

There are various factors determining the project costs. Have a look at the following outline.


Who supplies the shipping containers that Cool Boxes! uses?

Big Box Containers (Cape Town) is the preferred supplier of shipping containers to Cool Boxes!  Founded in Cape Town in 1997, it is one of the biggest privately owned container rental, sales and conversion companies in Africa with branches in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria.


What do shipping containers cost?

Cool Boxes! prefers to use the second-hand shipping containers supplied by Big Box Containers (Cape Town). Currently a 12m (40 foot) high cube box costs R34 770 (VAT included) and a 6m (20 foot) box costs R25 650 (VAT included). 


How big is a shipping container? 

The interior dimensions of a 12m (40 foot) high cube box are: 12m long x 2.34m wide x 2.68m high. The door opening is: 2.34m wide and 2.58m high. 

The interior dimensions of a 6m (20 foot) standard height box are: 5.91m long x 2.34m wide x 2.38m high. The door opening is: 2.28m wide and 2.27m high. 

It is entirely possible to combine a number of boxes in a design to achieve the desired floor space that you want.


How long does it take to convert shipping containers into a house?

The project duration will be determined by factors such as:

1.      How quickly the site is ready where the containers must stand.

2.      How long it takes to finalise your design and lay-out so that plans can be drafted.

3.      How long it takes to finalise your plans. 

4.      The time that it takes for municipal plans to be approved. 

5.      How quickly a deposit is paid to buy the containers in order to secure a place in the job queue. 

6.      The number of other projects in the job queue. 

7.      The complexity of the conversion that is required. 

8.      The weather. (Rain can cause unintended delays.)


Are shipping container homes not very hot or very cold? 

They would definitely be if it is not well insulated. It is, without decent insulation, just a huge steel box! Roughly 50mm are lost on the available internal floor space per wall and ceiling as a result of the insulation that we use. As a rule of thumb: the better the insulation that you can afford, the more comfortable the shipping container house (or any other house for that matter) will be, and the less you will have to pay for heating or cooling your home. This is also the reason why it is a good idea to put a roof over your shipping container home. It provides an additional shield against heat, and allows rainwater harvesting. 


Are there restrictions with regards to where a container home can be build?

There are no automatic restrictions. Restrictions could be related to historical areas in a town, or the specific rules of a body corporate or rate payers association. You should check with the specific municipality in the area where you want to build a container house. Take into account that it may be possible to adhere to such restrictions by using cladding on the outside of the container home, which means that it does not look like a shipping container from the outside. 


Do shipping container homes adhere to the National Building Regulations? 

Cool Boxes! ensures that it does by drawing up municipal plans and submitting it to a municipality for approval. The design will adhere to the principle of “rational design” as outlined as any design by a competent person involving a process of reasoning and calculation and which may include a design based on a standard or other suitable document. We have both a registered draftsman and engineer as part of our team to ensure that all design aspects adhere to the National Building Regulations.


Do you have other questions?  Send us an e-mail.