About Container Home Consultants

Container Home Consultants was born out of a passion for “Buildings That Matter“…

… to the homeowner, to the community, to disaster relief agencies, to local business owners… to anyone that needs safe high quality structures, at extraordinary efficiencies of time and cost.

Shipping Container, or “ISBU” (Intermodal Steel Building Units) home and structure construction has seen explosive growth with skyrocketing demand for everything from single family home designs, FastTrack emergency housing for disaster relief and reconstruction (Haiti, Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam), to large scale commercial projects.

As I write this, we’re erecting a (56) ISBU Agro-Industrial complex in rural Montana that includes a three story worker housing module.

“A New Building Technology… New To Everyone But Us.”

We have 35+ years of in-house expertise in the design and building of homes, cabins, and large scale buildings and structures built with shipping containers, or, as our industry calls them, ISBU’s .

Here at CHC, we provide full service design/build/site consulting, as well as fabrication services for structures utilizing re-purposed ISBU’s. Our project design and build expertise leads us to implement quality, building safety, and an attention to detail that greatly exceeds others in the industry.

Despite the surge of interest in ISBU construction, most architects and structural engineers have little or no experience in this “emerging technology”. (It feels strange to use the term “emerging” when we’ve been doing this for 35 years). Too often, these other guys are funding their education “on your dime”, and making the mistakes that all rookies make… mistakes that cost you, the family, the client, more money, and lead to budget and scheduling overruns.

“We design and build the way others should!”

Leave us a comment to contact us if you wish to learn more about our consulting  services!

38 comments for “About Container Home Consultants

  1. March 9, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Hello Mr. “Ronin”,
    We are interested in exploring the use of shipping container
    as homes in Tonga, the So. Pacific; the concept would be to provide this
    product to individuals in several ways (1) to load household goods in
    the U.S. or Canada, then shipping to an island site in Tonga, (2)
    shipping ’empty’ to the island site for clients and (3) having a number
    available as ‘spec’ homes to purchase on the island site.

    Could you please provide additional data such as interior/exterior
    options, pricing, etc. and how you see us working together. We have the lost in “Paridise” and you have ISBU experience !

    Personally, I would place a model/my container home 20′-er on a large deck with ocean views;
    the deck would be large enough to add a 2nd 20′-er 90 degrees to the 1st,
    either at the same time or later. I like the idea of a fold-down side, which
    would open to the deck or close when away sailboat cruising. and I’ve seen
    some round windows, which offer a nautical look.

    Looking forward to hearing from you !



  2. March 12, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Hi John,

    Alex here.

    We’ve done what you’re talking about doing, for “ex-pats” down in Costa Rica and parts South… all the way to the US Virgin Islands.

    Effectively, you’re stocking the container with components to be assembled on location (including furnishings), after it arrives. Using a 20′ box is easy, as you can haul one around with a pick-up truck (or even a farm tractor), quite easily (by simply putting the box on something that resembles a single car hauler trailer).

    It makes delivery to site both flexible and cost effective.

    Using a 20′ ISBU does mandate putting the insulation OUTSIDE the box. Otherwise your cavity gets really tight. If you’re reading the blogs I write, you know that I opt for spray-on closed cell foam whenever I can. In your case, you might use rigid polyiso foam, and then put siding (like hardieplank) over it, to simplify construction. This can easily be achieved by local workers.

    Pricing is based on “whatever you want to spend” and what level you want to participate at. I’m assuming that your goal is to establish local manufacture, once the “parts” arrive.

    I’ve assisted homeowners in building cabins based on (1) 20′ box for $10,000(US). And I’ve built them for $25,000(US). Your mileage may vary, depending on your tastes and level of finish.

    One thing is for sure, however. A securely attached 20′ ISBU (to pilings or a foundation) will confront most of what Mother Nature will throw at you, and provide an affordable, sustainable, SAFE home/shelter/vacation home.

    Adding a fold down side is a neat touch, but has to be accomplished on YOUR end, due to shipping insurance requirements. It’s just not cost effective to modify the box itself, on this side of “shipment.” You’ll find difficulty finding a reasonable shipper, and your box will get damaged. Trust me on this.

    Better is to remove the corrugated wall on your side (I love plasma cutters!), and then use that “corrugation” as part of your overhanging “cover” construction material. Then, just build your deck so that part of it swings UP to close off the container, in case of “incoming…” If you think it through, your two “covers” will overlap. Double duty, double strong.

    I do this on mountain cabins (all the time), and vacation homes that are remotely located, to allow the homeowner to “secure the house” before they leave for the season.

    Additionally, I don’t like to juxtapose 20′ boxes. Here’s why:

    When you juxtapose a 20′ box (to form a “T”), you kill off a huge part of it, in providing access to that second box.

    You’ve effectively “shotgunned” it.

    20′ boxes are much better served to be used as “side entry” units. It’s a much more efficient use of space. It’s better to place those same boxes a distance apart (say about 10′) and then roof or “gazebo” between them to reclaim the space you just created. It’s cheap square footage, and it allows some separation. Use 1 box for “systems and support” (kitchen/bath) the other for sleeping. The new space in the center becomes “common space.”

    You’re still talking about a small footprint, one easily held up in the air by an easily constructed platform.

    I’d suggest that your step would be to enter into “pre-design” talks and further define what you’re after as an ISBU based solution. What you’re talking about is quite “doable.”

    We’re definitely available for this kind of project. It’s what we live for…

    Look forward to hearing from you,

    Alex Klein

  3. Matt B
    March 15, 2010 at 4:36 am

    This absolutely fascinates me. I just found out about this tonight and it seems to offer a lower cost and creative way for housing. What kind of work do you do in regards to consulting? What kind of price do you charge? I’d like to be in touch should my wife and I decide to go this route.

  4. March 17, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Hi Matt,

    Our “mission” is to take the home builder from the pre-planning (Pre-Design) stage, all the way thru to the Certificate of Occupancy, or any and all points in between.

    The more good information you have in the beginning, the easier it is to garner success in your project. We don’t just talk this “ISBU stuff” to reinvent ourselves because the economy is suffering, we’ve been doing it for thirty years. Not many companies can say that.

    Our fees are quite reasonable (about half the industry standard). Our goal is to help FAMILIES, not feed a “large-overhead” corporate “monster” operation. You can get started for just a few hundred bucks. And we will guarantee you that we will save you the cost of our fees easily, in the cost of your project. Our goal is to “over-deliver.”

    You can literally save yourself thousands of dollars, by spending a few hundred on the phone in comprehensive consulting calls…

    We look forward to hearing from you!

  5. Franklyn Granstaff
    March 25, 2010 at 3:27 am

    I’m happy !It is simple to see that you are passionate about your writing. Looking forward to future posts.Thanks!

  6. Ms Hanson
    March 25, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Like Matt, I just stumbled onto this a few weeks ago, when a local business converted a stack of ISBU’s into 2 offices in Seattle’s Georgetown. Following my nose, I come to rest at your blog, and what a wealth of information! I can’t wait to get moving on my new home! Of particular value is the simple dollar estimate offered up. Living near a larger port facility, and being marginally attached to the construction industry, I have vast resources at hand to move me forward.
    Yes, you will be hearing from me.

    Ms Hanson
    “Boss Lady”

  7. April 1, 2010 at 10:01 am

    I have been trying to acces this post for a while. I was using Chrome then when I tried Firefox, it worked just great? Just wanted to bring this to your attention. This is really a greatblog. I have a bunch myself. I really admire your layout. I know this is off topic but,did you make this theme yourself,or purchase from somewhere?

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    April 2, 2010 at 12:49 am

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  9. Fatima Roney
    April 2, 2010 at 7:04 am

    Als Newbie bin ich immer auf der Suche online nach Artikeln, die mir helfen kann. Vielen Dank Wow! Danke! Ich wollte schon immer in meine Seite so etwas schreiben. Kann ich an Ihrer Stelle zu meinem Blog site?

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    April 2, 2010 at 9:14 am

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  11. April 4, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Guten Tag, Fraulein Roney…

    Feel free to quote my blog posts on your site. I hope they help you!


  12. Alden Zerring
    April 9, 2010 at 5:11 am

    amazing stuff thanx

  13. Maris Jungers
    April 19, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing …

  14. April 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I always enjoy reading quality articles by an individual who is obviously up to snuff on their chosen subject. I’ll be following this thread with great interest. Keep up the good work, see you next time

  15. I.S.
    June 26, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Well, this is my third visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and beginning a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us worthy info to work on. You have done a incredible job!

  16. Cami
    September 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Alex-
    Just found your website less than a week ago and bought the book and LOVE everything! My husband and I are in a small mid-century modern home on a little over half an acre about 30 mins outside D.C. in Northern Virginia and are quickly outgrowing our home as we now have 3 kiddos. We love the idea of using ISBUs for an addition and have been researching the idea which is how we found your website, blog, and book. Have you ever designed additions using ISBUs? Do you know any competent builders near D.C. who do container home construction?
    Thanks so much for your help!

  17. Troy McClure
    November 12, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Alex. Great website! I’m info gathering stage for having a container home built in Western North Carolina. What is the best way to talk 1-on-1 with you?



  18. November 13, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I regularly do consulting sessions over the phone with ISBU families.

    Watch your email for details.


  19. Susan Reed
    June 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Alex,
    I’m looking into creating a mixed-income sustainable container-based housing development to help with homelessness and poverty in my local urban area. We’d like to do a 30-unit construction with 3-4 bedrooms each and make them as cost-effective as possible. I’m still in the initial brainstorming phases before doing initial fundraising, and I was wondering if you might be willing to give me some suggestions on where to get started with cost estimates. Any help you can give would be most appreciated. I’m also going to bop over and pick up your book.
    Thanks for all the info!

  20. Fanny Martinez
    January 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Hello Alex,
    I would love to seek your advice about an orphanage in Kenya I am trying to rebuild using containers. I just became a member of ISBU Association.

  21. The Smiths
    April 25, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Alex and team,
    We want to make telephone contact to hear more about your services. Please reply to email with contact information ASAP.

  22. Igor
    July 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Hi Alex,
    I read Introduction to Container Homes & Buildings book several times.
    I think I’m ready to do a next move.
    This Friday I’m going to see a lot in PA that is part of community , the idea is to build vacation house first , see how this “small” project will go and if succeeded invest in larger project prime residence.
    I’m planing to build 2-3 bedroom “wee” house for my family.
    What will be the next step to get consulting session …

  23. Luetta Glarson
    July 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    You are stunning! I really dig this site. Thank you for doing this and helping me!

  24. Donna
    September 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    I really need some help on how much, and how long does it take to build a container home? In the heart of America Indianapolis, in I,ve decided that this is for us please contact me some as you can. Thank you for your time.”

  25. Vernicia
    September 7, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Are you still offering consulting services? Vernicia

  26. June 13, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Yours is a prime example of informative writing. I think my students could learn a lot from your writing style and your content. I may share this article with them.

  27. Bryce
    June 26, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Greetings Alex,

    I stumbled across this blog in my internet travels, and I’m beyond intrigued. I have a concept for building an ISBU house, but would like your opinion as to feasibility. Concept is this: using (10) 40′ containers, wanted to submerge (but not bury) 5 of them to form the basement/downstairs, then stack the remaining 5 on top to form the ground floor. In essence, a two story structure that appears to be single story. structurally, would this work?

    the second part would be to convert an 11th container into a built-in swimming pool. here’s where I’m going (further) off the deep end…

    Is there a way to have one wall of the pool be glass/plexiglass, and either join the basement or be separate but visible? My vision is to have it be basically a huge decorative aquarium, for lack of a better way to put it.

    any opinion and insight you can offer is greatly appreciated. I’mbarely in the infancy stages of planning, but would rather know what cant be done before getting too excited lol. you may email me a response or post it here, at your discretion. Cheers!

  28. Jose bautista
    September 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Love ur blog. Just purchase ur book ( love it) let me know how to contact you im ready to start a consulting session. Thanks

  29. October 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Hi there,

    I’m interested in a consultation. I’m looking for someone to design a custom layout.
    I didn’t see an office contact number.
    Any help would be appreciated.

  30. jon
    January 16, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I am also interested in any services you provide. I am looking to build this summer, and have informal plans for a house done, and a barn plan just completed, and containers already purchased (3 x 40` containers placed to form a 60×40 foot barn)


  31. January 23, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Hey Jon… check your gmail account.

  32. Elena
    February 4, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Hello Alex!

    i just purchased your ISBU and will be spending my day off tomorrow reading through it!.
    Although i wanted to know if it was possible to build shipping container homes or buildings in warm climates such as in Kenya.
    I plan on starting a shipping container project at the end of 2015


  33. February 6, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Hi Elena. We’ve recently participated in ISBU home/structure builds in Kenya, S. Africa, Angola, Algeria and Ghana. It’s quite possible to build an ISBU home in Africa. Contact us if we can help. 🙂


  34. Bill
    March 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    We purchased your ebook in January, we have read it a few times. If we are interested in specific plan (core project one.five) in the book with a modification can you provide the documents needed to build the home?

    Thanks and love the ebook!

  35. March 16, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Bill, Check your email. 🙂

  36. November 19, 2014 at 6:12 am

    Jeff, check your email. 🙂

  37. Eric D. Woolridge, MSW
    October 28, 2016 at 10:37 am

    I would like to speak with a consultant for designing a homeless veteran community! Could you please provide me with your contact information!

  38. Alyson S Probst
    January 3, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    I would like to learn more about designing and building a home from containers in Denver

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