You will have seen hundreds of shipping containers on the move along motorways during your travels, you might have even caught sight of a container vessel whilst on a ferry journey! But how could one of these giant storage boxes be delivered to your site?
3J Services Ltd work with a group of specially selected, fully qualified container hauliers across the UK. Our trusted teams operate various types of vehicles, suited to deliver containers and cabins onto all sorts of sites, mainly using Hi-Abs to off-load.
Our most common method of delivering shipping containers and cabins to locations around the UK is by using a Hi-Ab vehicle. These vehicles are usually a flatbed or skeletal trailer, equipped with a hydraulic crane (The Hi-Ab) which is situated behind the drivers’ cab. The craned lorries can range from 20ft to 55ft in length. The crane is operated by the driver who will attach chains to the hook of the hi-ab and the four top corner castings of the container. He then uses a control pad lift to operate the Hi-Ab, off-load and position the container.
How can I move my shipping container once it’s on site?
Shipping containers can weigh up to 4T when empty and 28T fully loaded! They are bulky units but do have some handy options if you need to shuffle them around on site. Containers are equipped with extremely strong, load bearing corner posts with corner castings at the top and bottom. The standard way to off-load and move a container is by hooking chains through the corner castings and lifting the unit using a hi-ab mounted vehicle. This can be done at the top and bottom castings.
Another way to move a container is by the forklift pockets. 20ft standard shipping containers usually have forklift pockets at the side of the unit and at either short end. We recommend using 8ft long forks with an 8ft wide split.
The short answer is yes! But, like anything in life, that is very dependent on the funds available to you!
Modern media would have us believe that building a home out of a shipping container is a quick, easy and cost effective process, however, it is not quite as simple as this and a great deal of thought, legalities and permissions need to be considered.
Although shipping containers are temporary structures and so do not usually require planning permission (we do recommend you check with your local council even if you are only using your container for storage as rules vary between councils), if you are considering building a home out of one, it’s obvious that the container will no longer be a temporary structure! Therefore, planning permissions and all of the rules and regulations associated with it, and building control, have to be considered with shipping container homes in much the same way that they have to be considered with a traditional house build.
Whilst containers themselves as the ‘base structure’ are a cost effective item, it is the materials that have to be utilised to comply with building regulations such as lining, window and door specifications, drainage, fire safety etc.. that soon start to mount up!
Furthermore, you cannot just build a shipping container home anywhere, and much like a traditional build, the land is a substantial investment in the process, and that is to say that you would get planning permission to build on the land!
As a 40ft container is the largest standard type available, you would probably have to modify shipping containers to make your container home, you may be chopping sides out to join containers together to create a larger space, but, even if you are just cutting out a section of the container for a window or a door, you would be losing some of the structural integrity of the container. In so doing, the standard loading and stress calculations of the container would be void, meaning that a structural engineer would need to be involved to measure the revised loading and safety capacities of your converted container.
Container houses can also be difficult to mortgage, as technically they are a moveable structure.
In short, yes you can build a house using shipping containers, but, it should be carried out with great care, it is by no means a quick fix or a project to be completed on a budget.
The four corners of shipping containers must be level, if this is not achieved, the shipping container doors will ‘rack’ or become misaligned which will cause recurring issues in opening and closing the container doors.
Similarly, from a maintenance point of view, it is recommended that the container is elevated slightly from the ground to allow an air flow and to prevent the container sitting in a damp environment.
Therefore, the most successful way to site your container, is on a slightly elevated and level surface. It could however be considered overkill to place your container on a purpose built tarmac or concrete plinth! Years of experience have proven that the most successful method of siting is on robust sleepers or concrete slabs located on each of the four corners of the container – ensuring that the container is level with a spirit.
It is also important to note that when your container is delivered, it has to be delivered parallel to the location of the delivery vehicle (unless otherwise arranged). The delivery location should be accessible, no obstacles should be in the way (i.e. trees, hedges), there should be no overhead cables and there should be no drain covers or manholes in the off-loading area.
Although shipping containers may look like a simple steel box for storage, their initial reason for manufacture is to be stacked several units on high on a container vessel whilst being loaded with tonnes of goods of a wide variety. Therefore, there is much more to their design and manufacture than you may initially think!
The walls of shipping containers are manufactured from (usually) 2mm thick Cor-Ten steel, this may seem immensely thin, however, the corrugations of the shipping container walls and the properties of Cor-Ten steel make the walls immensely strong. The walls are joined at each corner by a formed corner post which is met at the top and bottom by a heavy block called a corner casting, these corner castings are what allow the containers to be lifted by vehicle chains from the top or bottom and to be stacked on vessels.
The floors of shipping containers consist of steel bearers at 12-18” intervals which provide the strength to the flooring – if evenly distributed along the bearers, a 20ft shipping container can hold up to 30T!! The bearers are then overlaid with a 27mm bitumen sealed marine grade ply-wood flooring.
Shipping container doors consist of two door leaves, the right leaf being the dominant opening, both are hinged to the corner posts and ‘lock’ into the top and bottom of the container using cams and keepers manufactured from cast iron. Handles are used to engage and disengage the cams and keepers which allow the doors to open and close with ease. Shipping container doors are surrounded by rubber seal to avoid water and material ingress.
Most new containers are also fitted with a lockbox to the container doors, this is a steel shroud which covers a lock lug providing increased security once the container is ultimately used for storage. Many new models of shipping containers also have the added benefit of three locking bars as oppose to four, and longer handles – this makes opening and closing the container doors much easier and is advisable for more regular access.
Often customers may comment that used containers have rust patches, whilst we may be used to this being a problem with used car sales and the like, it is important to remember that in the case of shipping containers this is to be expected! Cor-Ten steel is actually designed to rust – otherwise known as weathering steel, Cor-Ten is designed to create a rust barrier over time therefore negating the need for painting. This makes sense when you understand that many shipping companies can hold on to their shipping containers on contract for many years, up to fifteen in some cases, without any maintenance or painting programmes to further protect their containers.
This may sound obvious, but, shipping containers are designed and manufactured to be shipped around the world in high seas and in all weather conditions and environments. Thus, by their very design, shipping containers can only offer limited ventilation.
Shipping containers are manufactured with vents. Older, used containers tend to have four vents, two each side, they are covered by a shroud of steel to avoid water and material ingress at sea and in harsh environments, and therefore their ventilating properties are limited.
Newer containers tend to have twelve to fourteen vents in total which offers a little more air flow for your stored items. Nevertheless, ventilation remains limited and therefore, steps should be taken to protect your stored goods against the effects of condensations.
3J Services offer a condensation limiting product which is applied, by us, to the ceiling of your shipping container to reduce the effects of condensation and protect your stored goods. We still recommend further ‘common sense’ steps are taken to protect your goods, for example:
• Open the doors regularly to ‘air’ your container,
• Do not leave the doors open during damp or rainy weather,
• Wrap valuable goods in bubble wrap or plastic,
• Cover stored goods with tarpaulins or sheeting (ensure they are dry),
• Do not store wet goods or white goods which may retain water,
• Do not pack goods too tightly, ensure good air flow.
These simple and cost effective steps will assist in keeping your stored goods dry and well preserved.
New shipping containers tend to be available in various shades of blue and green in the UK. However, from time to time, other coloured units such as grey, black, red and white, can enter the UK market, although this is very rare.
Used containers however tend to be a wide range of colours, most commonly, Brown, blue, yellow and red. Both new and used containers can be repainted to any colour, to suit your requirements. 3J Services offer a mobile painting service so that your container (s) can be painted anywhere in the UK. Alternatively, we are able to paint containers before they leave our nationwide depots.
A number of other services are available to decorate your container, we can spray paint, graffiti, wrap, decal or sign write your container, the options are endless and this kind of modification can look extremely effective for a branding or marketing opportunity.
To discuss your needs further, please call us on 01543 373768.
Shipping containers are the perfect way to protect your items from the elements. The raised marine ply floor of shipping containers mean that they will not absorb water from the ground. The all steel construction of a shipping container makes them wholly weather proof, even the vents are designed to ensure that water cannot ingress. Shipping container doors are also surrounded by weather proof seals.
It is important to remember that shipping containers are designed to travel the seas in detrimental weather conditions and withstand high saline environments. Stacked containers on a shipping container vessel or in a container yard are not protected from the elements, anywhere in the world, yet the thousands of goods that they carry around the world arrive with us, undamaged by the weather!
So, how weather proof are shipping containers? VERY!
Shipping containers, like your home, car, or garage, are as secure as you are willing to make them! Like any belongings, we would recommend keeping your container close to a well lit area, if possible with CCTV cameras and high foot traffic.
We would recommend having a security lockbox fitted to your container doors. These often come as standard with new containers but you would need to purchase one, for around £60, with a used container. A lockbox is a steel shroud that is welded around the lug which houses your padlock on your container doors, the box shape covers the whole lug with the exception of the bottom rectangle which is where you would attach your padlock. The shroud is tight to the container making it extremely difficult to access the padlock area with bolt cutters or similar tools.
We recommend that you purchase your padlock from a container dealer. The padlocks utilised in the industry are very secure and insurance rated, they are also specifically made to work with the aforementioned lockboxes.
As standard, shipping containers are manufactured from Corten steel, just a couple of millimetres thick. Therefore, like your garage, if somebody really wanted to access it, they could, utilising a circular saw or similar cutting equipment. However, with a few preventative measures you can reduce the chances of such damage to your container. One measure which we find works particularly well is a number of simple stickers available from most hardware stores located around the container, stating that the container is storing flammable equipment. There truly is a risk of fire when cutting steel, dependent on the goods stored, and this small addition may cause prospective thieves to reconsider accessing your container with this kind of equipment.
Alarms and CCTV packages can be purchased online for shipping containers.
We hope you have found this information useful. Should you have any questions or require any further details, please call us on 01543 373768.
Contrary to popular belief, used shipping containers provide excellent secure, dry storage.
When purchasing a used shipping container, you can expect a sturdy, robust steel structure with no holes. You can expect a fully weather proof ex shipping container with fully working door gear, vents and a marine ply floor.
You can expect 10-15 years life out of your used shipping container as long as it is kept in a suitable environment, well maintained and not utilised to store corrosive materials.
You should not expect your used shipping container to be freshly painted or without dents, rust and markings. It is important to remember that this is a shipping container, it is made from Corten steel which is designed to rust, and, it has been utilised on hundreds of occasions to trans0rt goods by vessel around the world. It has been lifted on and off vessels and vehicles using heavy lifting equipment and carried tonnes upon tonnes of equipment. Not only does this mean that you should expect dents and marks, it also means that you are purchasing a vigorous piece of equipment that you can expect to keep your goods secure and dry for years to come.
This is a question we are regularly asked, and 3J have the perfect solution!
Shipping containers are made out of steel. As a result, when it is hot, they get extremely hot, when it is cold, they get extremely cold! These temperature swings twinned with the fact that storage containers are often full of items, some of which hold water, can cause condensation problems in shipping containers being utilised for storage.
There are a number of simple and easy steps that you can take in order to limit the amount of condensation that your container may suffer with. Ensure that doors are closed and remain closed when it is raining, ensure that items stored are dried off before being put into the container, do not store white goods that retain water (washing machines, dishwashers...) in your shipping container, make sure that vents remain uncovered, do not overfill your shipping containers, and, on mild and warm days, allow your container to breath by keeping the doors open.
However, many of our steel containers are sent to businesses and self store sites, they are used for construction projects with a high volume of people utilising the container. It is common that all of these steps to limit condensation in your container can not be followed at all times.
3J have the solution! We are able to apply a water based product to the roof of your container, either prior to delivery or on your site, called Grafo - Therm. Grafo - Therm prevents the effects of condensation inside your shipping container and is utilised heavily by the self storage industry.
Grafo-Therm delays the point at which dew point occurs thus reducing the window in which condensation can form, any residual condensation that does form within any given period is immediately absorbed by the Grafo-Therm coating, thus limiting condensation in your shipping container.
3J Services can offer a fully mobile anti condensation treatment service for your shipping containers on site, or apply to your container prior to delivery. For more information or for. Quotation call us on 01543 373768.