Super Cubes LOVES container homes.  That is no mystery to anyone who reads this blog.  But most of the time we repost pictures and stories about container homes and buildings that we had no part in.  Not today!!!  We are SO excited that a Super Cubes customer is making an 8-container home using Super Cubes containers!  The customer was so generous to let us come on over for the big crane day to lift the containers into place.  Check it out!

The couple first approached us back in January about containers.  They had their own architect and structural engineer as well as welders to do all the work on the home, they just needed to add containers.  After going through all the necessary hoops to get everything approved, the land surveyed (twice!), and the usual weather delays, they were finally ready to get going.  We staged the containers at a location a couple of miles from their new home.  This allowed us to get the containers nearby and speed things up for the big day.  Even with lots of planning, we staged the containers in the first half of April and weren't ready for them until May.

Crane rentals are VERY expensive.  You are paying for a crane, but also several operators and workers necessary to make sure everything goes smoothly and safely.  For that reason, it was critical that we got all the containers in place in one day.  We encountered the typical construction problem - a snag with the timing.  The steel beams that support the containers on top of the foundation were late coming in, which meant that not only did we need to get the 8 containers placed in one day, the beams had to be placed and welded as well. 

Luckily, the homeowners had a great crew at the ready and everything moved along at a great pace.  We were a couple of hours late starting on the containers, but still managed to get them in place in one day. There was a slight rain delay at one point and some severe weather, but They all got in!

The homeowners are an amazing couple that had a real vision of what they wanted and went about it in just the right way - working with an architect and structural engineer to design the house.  They found the welders and other sub-contractors that they will need to do the work on the house, as well as working on it themselves. They were also realistic in that the container is a great building material, but it has limits as well.  They had to make some tough choices on their original wish list and the final design, but finalized a great open-plan house that will be stunning.

Below are pictures of the project with some descriptions.  It was great to get to be a part of this project and we can't wait to see the final house! 

Container forklift picks up the container from the top 2 corners

Container forklift picks up the container from the top 2 corners

I was recently talking to a customer about moving around 20' containers and different ways to do that.  He was asking how we do it, what kind of equipment we use and what options he would have to move them around himself.  It is a great question because the 20's are perfect for moving around and being more flexible than the 40's, particularly on construction sites or other places where you need temporary, secure storage.  20' containers are flexible and durable, so they can be moved in a variety of ways. 

In the container yards and depots, container forklifts are the most common way to move them around, like pictured above.  The forklift picks up the container by the 2 corner castings on the top of the container that the forklift can reach when picking it up from the side.  These forklifts can also extend the arms out to pick up a 40' container as well.

If you are having your container delivered to you, an easy way to have it moved to the right spot is by having it delivered on a tiltbed truck.  The truck backs into the spot where the container will go, the back of the trailer tips down.  There is a winch that lowers the first end of the container off the truck.  Then the driver pulls the truck forward and uses the winch to finish setting it on the ground.  However, to do this, we need enough room for the truck to maneuver.

Here are two one-trip 20' containers loaded on a tiltbed truck, all ready to be delivered.

Here are two one-trip 20' containers loaded on a tiltbed truck, all ready to be delivered.

20' containers with forklift pockets. 

20' containers with forklift pockets. 

The container floor is made up of steel cross-members with a wood floor over it.  The underside of the flooring is coated to make it moisture and bug resistant.

The container floor is made up of steel cross-members with a wood floor over it.  The underside of the flooring is coated to make it moisture and bug resistant.

More standard style forklift can do the job.  However, a few modifications are in order to make that go smoothly. 

  1. 20' containers come with forklift pockets.  However they measure 69" from the inside of one pocket to the inside of the other pocket.  This is noticeably wider than what most standard forklifts can handle. 
  2. If your forklift can't spread out that much, the other option is fork extensions.  If you have forks (with or without extensions) that are at least 8' long, then you can pick up the container from underneath it. If your forks are less than 8' long, the forks will come up through the floor of the container, and that would not be good.
Top corner casting

Top corner casting

There are plenty of other types of equipment that can move a 20' container:  backhoes, cranes, tractors, or really anything else that can move 5,000 pounds.  Containers have corner castings on all 8 corners of the container.  You can chain to those castings by running the chain through the holes on either side of the casting and/or the hole on the top of the castings on the top of the container or the bottom of the bottom castings.  From there, you can lift or drag the container around from there, depending on the capabilities of your equipment.

If you want to stack your container, you can use any of the different types of equipment listed above.  Standard 20' containers are 8'6" high, so you will need to have equipment  that can lift that high.  When you are placing them on top of each other, stack them corner to corner.  The corner posts of the container and the floor are where all the strength is.  The walls and roof are not as strong.  Also, the corner castings drop a little lower than the rest of the floor and a little higher than the rest of the roof.  When you stack containers corner post to corner post, you can see a space between the containers. It is a good way to know you have them lined up right.

No matter how you move and/or stack your containers, please make sure you check out that the equipment you are using is rated to handle the weight of the container.  That includes chains.  Also, be very careful that no one is in a location where they can be hurt by the container if your calculations are not 100% correct.  5,000 pounds of steel is very heavy.

Bottom corner casting (with some ice)

Bottom corner casting (with some ice)

One-trip 20's stacked up.  Notice the space between the containers since they are stacked corner post to corner post.

One-trip 20's stacked up.  Notice the space between the containers since they are stacked corner post to corner post.