Krabi province, Thailand Shipping Container Home


Krabi province, Thailand Shipping Container Home

container home thai
Here is another great example of a resourceful builder using shipping containers as building blocks. I recently had a chance to interview the owner who’s home is in Krabi province, Thailand.

Here’s the transcript:

What made you decide to build a container home?
We (my wife & I) have a small sandwich shop called Sandwich Market located on Aonang Beach, Krabi, Thailand. When the leasing contract was over, we had to find a new place. So we decided to rent land [that we could] build our home and also a small restaurant in the same place. We ended up with a 1.5 Rai (2,400 Sq mt) lease. We spent much time talking about what, and how we were going to build the home & shop (what we called it), [and deal with] the small budget we had. We love the idea of reusing material and green roof building. So the idea of using used container came up because I remembered that 5 years ago I suggested to my friend to build a small resort with old containers, but never happened. We were very exciting about the idea which urged me to do researching and studying.

We used 4 containers. The two downstairs are for the shop, kitchen and storage, while the other two upstairs are for living.

container home thai

What challenges did you face?
The most challenge I faced was how to deal with the local workers. I hired separated workers, such as concrete guys , welder, electrician, etc. To do what they’ve never done and seen before. As this was my first container home I made lot of mistake in details, such as the precision of the container dimension that relate to all construction detail.

How much did the project end up costing you?
The house itself is about 1.3 million Thai currency (US$39,000)

container home thai

Did you insulate the walls and ceilings? If yes, what materials?
No, I did not. But if i did, it would be drywall (metal stud with gypsum board or cement board and heat insulation like pu foam)

Did you face adverse objections with building permits / government regulations?
Not really [since] the house is small, they just want to see that the foundation can support the house. I don’t know about elsewhere, in Bangkok might be different.

container home thai

Do you have any funny stories or comments from your neighbors / family? Did they think you
were crazy to build out of containers?

Yeah, many of our neighbors are local people, most are Muslims. They passed by and not very sure what I was going do! They saw when I started putting the containers together and thought, “was this going to look good?”, “How hot was it going be?”, “How is he going to put the roof on?” The curiosity is also from my workers…they worked as I told them to do, but still question themselves all the time. But [in the end] my friends and family are really supportive. They love the idea and some of them want to build one now.

Can you tell our readers how you dealt with electrical / plumbing / heating?
Electrical work was not a problem at all. My local electrician [was very good]. There is conduit coming down from the ceiling and on the walls for switches and from under the floor for receptacles.

I [have] only one bathroom in the house. I did 7.5cm thick reinforced concrete over the container floor, with moisture barrier in between so I can put tiles on, and 15 cm high concrete rim to protect from water [intrusion]. For the walls I framed up with metal studs and cement board which can hide all the water pipes. In the shower area I put tiles on with tile adhesive.

Would you do it over again if you had to?
Yes, for sure!!

Any advice for anyone interested in building with containers?

The container home is not quite acceptable for people in Thailand even though there are more articles, discussions and exhibitions than [before]. It may be because of the old look of the container itself, or the confidence of the structural strength? Also, not many people are sure how to get it done. But I think if you want to have a small house, this is a great option. You can use two or three containers and make your own house very quick and inexpensively. Nowadays there are many great architects who can give you advice. Also, the idea of “reuse” is great [for] our planet!!

More images here

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