Integrated Buildings & Structures

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Shipping container Architecture/Structural Engineering

  • 1.  Shipping container Architecture/Structural Engineering

    Posted 11-15-2020 04:09 PM
    Could anyone recommend me a good electronic book (e-book or pdf) to learn about shipping container architecture (I mean, from the space distribution and architecture philosophy design)?

    On the internet I found a lot, but I'd prefer advice from experts like you.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Fabricio Ortiz
    Honduras
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  • 2.  RE: Shipping container Architecture/Structural Engineering

    Posted 11-16-2020 11:30 AM
    Shipping containers seen to be a good idea to some.  However to meet building code requirements, insulation you generally have to build walls inside, and a ceiling for insulation electrical run etc.  Also you need a proper foundation.  Large openings require reinforcement.  So bottom line they work out to be a siding replacement>

    John Stensgaard, PE

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    John Stensgaard P.E., M.ASCE
    PRESIDENT
    S2E Consulting Engineers
    Thornton CO
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  • 3.  RE: Shipping container Architecture/Structural Engineering

    Posted 11-16-2020 01:24 PM
    There are some ASCE or AISC webinars on the design and guidelines for reuse of shipping containers.  If one can limit on the modifications and the use is industrial, there are some innovative uses as these containers are very strong if not modified.  So large openings, especially for the sides if the container is to be lifted or supported on its ends is a concern.  The floor has substantial strength to allow for the payload and forklifts, but normally it is undefined wood that could be subject to fire and insects.  There are a number of container designs:  size, layout, capacities, and materials of construction.  For even your typical steel (usually CorTen) 40' by 8.5' high end opening (only) shipping container, it may appear to be same in design as all others, but even out of the same plant (and there are many in China) the design can vary over the years.  The welds may not be approved by AWS, not that they are not adequate.

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    James Mackenzie S.E., M.ASCE
    Burnaby BC
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  • 4.  RE: Shipping container Architecture/Structural Engineering

    Posted 11-17-2020 02:48 PM
    John,
    Your description of shipping containers as a "siding replacement" is wholly inadequate to describe their function in a building environment.
    1. A shipping container is akin to a "grey shell" with structural roof, walls and floor elements. 
    2. Interior framing is generally done with drywall metal studs or 2x wood studs.  Neither are required to meet structural requirements. 
    3. Framing around window and door openings is generally done with light gage tube steel or wood buck systems.  A wood structure also requires framing around openings.
    4. Full side openings are framed with structural tube to offer the advantage of double or triple width structures. 
    5. Shipping container foundations are generally spot footings or piers.  They are required at the corners only unless a full side opening occurs.  Every structure needs a foundation including shipping containers but shipping container foundations are generally more cost effective, 
    Shipping container construction is often a good choice in remote locations, areas with short  construction seasons and places where the "industrial look" is desirable.  They are not for everyone but should not be discounted as mere siding...

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    Richard Warren P.E., M.ASCE
    Senior Engineer
    S3 Engineers LLC
    Henderson NV
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  • 5.  RE: Shipping container Architecture/Structural Engineering

    Posted 11-17-2020 03:19 PM
    Really didnt mean it in only a structural sense, as stated to meet code requirements.

    Your #2 and #3 both state you need more structure, which brings it back to "siding".

    Sure, they are good for some applications, but I get many people who come to me and say they were given one of these and for virtually no money, they now have a mountain get away.

    I just think people need to know what it really takes to make it a habitable structure.
    ​​

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    John Stensgaard P.E., M.ASCE
    PRESIDENT
    S2E Consulting Engineers
    Thornton CO
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  • 6.  RE: Shipping container Architecture/Structural Engineering

    Posted 11-17-2020 03:21 PM

    Fabricio,
    I am sure that you have noticed there are literally dozens of books on shipping container architecture. Many describe space layout, design and construction means and methods which are all very important.  There are also hundreds of images to stimulate the imagination.

    Most builders prefer the Hi cube containers as they increase headroom.  Containers come in grades - New (one trip) - CWO (cargo worthy) or WWT (wind and water tight).  WWT comes in grades A and B.  WWT Grade A is usually the best choice for building and storage as Grade B are rated as damaged.  Some commercial facilities may use one trippers as they do not have a lot of surface imperfections.  The most obvious difference between New and WWT will be the price....

    Stairs are a critical item for structure.  Cutting the floor system in a two story unit for stairs is not a good idea.  Stairs are generally placed on the outside of the container envelope.  Look at the images and you will see this is almost universally the case. Shipping containers can be turned vertical and stairs or elevators built inside for towers or multi-story units.  This is not common but is possible in commercial or multi-residential applications.

    Full container sides can be opened and two containers put together for greater width in the space. Containers can be spaced and a structure built between for the Great room concept or industrial space.  Stacking of containers can be done in multiple ways - directly on top - staggered - or perpendicular.
    See my post below to John for more detailed structural information.

    Places that are quite wet and humid may need to have improved exterior coatings to prevent rusting.  Check with local practices for coatings.

    Good Luck!
    Rich



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    Richard Warren P.E., M.ASCE
    Senior Engineer
    S3 Engineers LLC
    Henderson NV
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  • 7.  RE: Shipping container Architecture/Structural Engineering

    Posted 11-23-2020 08:48 AM
    I was a Warren Engineering student, so I might say something, because if you look at Warren college itself, it is just like a shipping container complex, only they built it in Blocks.

    Each Warren apt. was suitable for IIII = IV students and had the kitchen separated from the rooms; just like Richard is saying [two Boxes aside].

    And then the Engineering building is just like the precursor to stacking Shipping containers.  I recommend to google Warren College Engineering Building.

    But what I really think is that you should take the shipping containers as material matter to be "EXPLODED".  I mean you should cut the shipping container to separate it out like you would probably think of the nursery school Caterpillar that fits together piece by piece.  Then you pull it apart to construct.  Then reinforce it as required.  Because, generally, 8x20 is "claustrophobia" ...

    I hope it seems normal.

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    Refugio Rochin P.E., M.ASCE
    Asst. Eng.1
    Naxutl, Inc.
    Albuquerque NM
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  • 8.  RE: Shipping container Architecture/Structural Engineering

    Posted 11-19-2020 09:03 AM

    ICC G5-2019 Guideline for the Safe Use of ISO Intermodal Shipping Containers Repurposed as Buildings and Building Components

    https://shop.iccsafe.org/icc-g5-2019-guideline-for-the-safe-use-of-iso-intermodel-shipping-containers-repurposed-as-buildings-and-building-components.html



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    Graham Brasic P.E., M.ASCE
    Project Manager
    Pruitt Eberly Stone
    Atlanta GA
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  • 9.  RE: Shipping container Architecture/Structural Engineering

    Posted 11-26-2020 09:21 AM
    I really appreciate all your comments and suggestions. Thanks a lot! Graham Brasic, Refugio Rochin, Richard Warren,  John Stensgaard, andJames Mackenzie.

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    Fabricio Ortiz
    Honduras
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