The ‘tiny living’ trend has become such an international phenomenon that it even has its own reality television series.
For a lot of people, living in smaller spaces is a way to leave less of a carbon footprint. It’s also a cheaper way to own property and build a home. These homes are usually constructed using old shipping containers, and the results are stunning.
In South Africa, tiny living is taking hold for the same reason. As economic pressures increase, shipping containers look like they could be the solution to low-cost housing.
Tony Clarke, MD of the Rawson Property Group, spoke to BusinessTech about shipping containers and affordable living:
“We’ve already seen some very forward-thinking container solutions going up in places like Maboneng, and I think the opportunity is there to leverage this type of construction for a number of other applications.”
Another benefit of container properties is their compatibility with off-grid solutions like solar power, solar lighting and rainwater-harvesting systems.
Clarke says this ability to function without municipal connections makes them an ideal solution for desperately needed rural facilities like clinics and schools.
“Building anywhere outside of the normal reach of municipal infrastructure can be very difficult and costly, not only because basic services would need to be installed, but also because transport for construction crews and equipment gets very expensive,” said Clarke.
Shipping containers are mobile and can be converted into homes at an off-site factory. They are also a quarter of the price of an equivalent brick and mortar property.
“Shipping container homes are not just affordable, they’re also dramatically faster to construct, and can normally be built to 90% completion in an offsite factory,” said Clarke. “That means more homes can be built for the same amount of money, in a shorter period of time, and can be delivered to site virtually complete, minimising the risk for potential vandalism.”
People have also pulled off some very creative designs.
You can check out some of the container houses already up in South Africa in this video from last year:
In a lot of ways, the shipping container is proving to be the most versatile building material out there at the moment, so it’s easy to forget where it comes from.
A shipping container starts its life travelling all over the world – just ask the experts at Berry & Donaldson.
The South African-owned logistics company has been helping importers and exporters navigate the labyrinth that is international freighting for over half a century, mapping out and ensuring the safe departure and arrival of shipping containers at their destinations around the world.
So if you’re thinking of building your dream container home, it’s kind of nice to know that it’s had an interesting history.
Add that to the reduced cost and limited impact on the environment, and you’re on your way to better living.
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