As cities seek innovative solutions for more sustainable urbanism, used shipping containers have emerged as…
If you’re preparing to receive your new shipping container, you want things to go as smoothly as possible. Understanding all the steps involved with a shipping container delivery will ensure your container can be delivered and ready for use without delay. Here we look at five things to do before your shipping container is delivered.
1. Site Selection & Ground Conditions
The first thing to do when purchasing a shipping container is to determine where the container will be installed. The choice of location is very important to ensure the longevity of the container and maximize its use.
Here are some tips to help choose the right site:
- Ground: The ground has to be stable enough to support the weight of the container. If the ground is not stable, you need to lay a foundation, which we discuss in more detail below.
- Slope: Slope is very important as you don’t want to place your container at the foot of a slope where water pools. The best-case scenario is to arrange to have your site properly graded to avoid damage to the container’s foundation.
- Access to Utilities: Depending on how you intend to use your shipping container, make sure you have access to local electrical, gas, cabling, and plumbing.
- Growth: Although you might be limited in the space you choose, you might want to find a site that allows for expansion.
- Orientation: Consider which direction you want the container to face. The delivery team of your shipping container will need to know which way you want the doors to face. If you’re using the actual container doors, you need to make sure you can open the doors, so they don’t run into the ground and hit obstructions.
- Clear Path: If you’re using the container for storage, you’ll need a clear path to it so you can easily store and remove items obstruction free.
2. Accessibility to the Site
Even if you think you’ve found the perfect site, receiving the shipping container requires enough space for the delivery truck to maneuver safely.
As you prepare for your container delivery, consider the following:
- Space to maneuver: Trucks make wide turns. Will they have enough space to do so? Check to make sure there are no obstructions in the way, such as gates or other potential obstructions.
- Space to deliver: Tilt trays are the most common delivery method, which means the container is lowered at an angle as the truck moves forward. Therefore, you need enough space for the length of the container, as well as an area for the truck to move the container up and down the site.
- Hard surface: Imagine the truck arriving at your site. Will it have to drive over soft surfaces like mud or wet grass? Delivery trucks can weigh up to 45,000 pounds, putting them at risk of sinking and getting stuck. Make sure the ground is prepared for delivery.
- Clear of obstructions: The container is lowered by lifting the tilt tray. Make sure there are no obstructions such as power lines or tree branches that could get in the way.
3. Site Preparation & Types of Foundations
Once you choose your site, you will have to prepare the ground and/or install your foundations. If you place the container directly on the ground or grass, it will affect moisture drainage and ventilation.
Crushed gravel makes the best base, as it is affordable and can also be easily leveled and compacted to create an even surface. During the shipping container delivery process, although you want the spot for the container to be level, you also should add height to slope your site to allow for runoff. You can then choose from the following types of foundations:
- Concrete Piers: Concrete piers create a stable foundation in areas where the ground is nice and compact. They must be placed in the exact right locations so the delivery team can drop the sea can in place with support on the four corners based on the shipping container dimensions and weight. Longer containers over 40’ should also have a few additional piers to provide more support along the length. Piers are an affordable option that also offers moisture protection with space between the container and the ground. Just keep in mind they don’t take on as much weight as a full concrete slab.
- Pile Foundations: Concrete pile foundations are the best choice for sites where the soil is too loose. These cylindrical foundations come in concrete or steel and are hammered deep into the ground to provide support. They are topped with concrete blocks and are placed in the same position as piers.
- Concrete Slab-on-grade Foundations: This is the best long-term solution whether you have soft or firm soil. It is poured as a slab for added stability and even distribution of the entire container.
- Wooden Beams: Wooden beams are more affordable than concrete and steel but won’t last as long. Wood beams are only recommended as a short-term solution or for containers that won’t bear much weight. You definitely need a gravel bed to manage moisture and avoid early rotting when choosing wooden beams.
4. Plumbing and Electricity Hook-Ups
If you plan to use your shipping container as an office, workshop or even a home, you may need to consider accessibility to local utilities such as plumbing and electricity. Confirm where the plumbing and sewer lines will run and what kind of amperage will be needed to accommodate your container’s electrical needs.
On the day of delivery, or a little later depending on your type of installation, you will need a licensed electrician and plumber to perform the hook-ups for your plumbing and electrical.
Make sure you find out from your town or municipality what permits are required for your shipping container. Are you allowed to have one on your property and if so, what are the requirements?
Regardless of how you intend to use your shipping container, they are still subject to local building codes and zoning by-laws. Consult with your local Building Division so you understand the laws and don’t find on delivery day you actually can’t set your container in the spot you’ve chosen. This gets more complicated in residential areas. You want a city-certified building inspector to check the site and verify everything is good to go.
Issues you are likely to run into without permits include:
- Property zoning: Zoning determines what structures can be built at a site. This impacts how you can use your shipping container. For example, chances are you can’t open a coffee bar or restaurant in your backyard.
- Building codes and permits: This relates to construction standards to ensure you remain compliant with safe practices. Your project also has to be approved based on the plans for your structure. Because these standards change often, it is best to ensure all your paperwork and approvals are in order before you plan for your delivery.
As you can see, there’s more work involved at your end than you might expect. Following these steps will help ensure all your ducks are in a row to receive your shipping container delivery and start using your new space without delay.
Conterm’s team of experts will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the delivery of your shipping container, whether purchased or leased. Please contact us now for more information and advice regarding the purchase and delivery of a sea container.