The day you walk into your local building department and say: “I want to build a home from shipping containers…” What do you think will happen? For jurisdictions that have no clue what you are talking about or just aren’t open to the idea, you are facing an uphill battle. What to do?
From talking to visitors to this site, even if you have credentials in design like an architect or engineer, that is no guarantee that you will get even a toe in the door of getting your home plans considered; let alone, a building permit. I personally haven’t had the pleasure of this experience yet and I guess I do dread that day. It will be a real nail-biter if I really like the area for maybe picking up a few acres. Common sense tells me that if you go equiped with some pictures, drawings and maybe even some professional-looking renderings of your proposed home, you could get them to look and listen to your ideas. What would be great is if you establish a good contact at the building department–this will better your odds immensely.
Of course, before you even consider buying land for the sole purpose of putting up a container home, you had better check with the building department before you lay down any money. Why get stuck with a piece of land you can’t use for your building plans, right?
Where do you turn? I would download some images of nice homes built using shipping containers like the Redondo Beach home and some others. Hire a person to draw up your design; even just an exterior rendering. It could be worth the money to get things rolling in the right direction. If you are computer savvy, you could use Sketchup from Google to design your home. Do all the research you can and prepare yourself so that you can field any questions they throw at you without looking clueless.
Be armed with all the ammo you can get. There are a bunch of people out there who have never heard of a container home.