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FAQ- Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions from our readers and ISBA Members …

Questions About Container Home Construction

Q- Aren't shipping containers just hot ovens when they are used for homes or offices?

A- Absolutely not!  Sure, if you don't know what you're doing and don't insulate. Like every structure base, such as wood, concrete, block, or steel panels, they all require insulation. The reality is, that the new Ceramic spray insulation is most effective when applied to metal. In fact, if you build a home, office, emergency shelter or storage unit using Ceramic Insulation paint (spray) the structure will probably be more energy efficient than a conventional home.

Q- Why can't I get architectural or CAD drawings from shipping container manufacturers?

A- As we've all experienced, the shipping container manufacturers, shipping companies and ISBU distributors do not offer the detailed drawings and parts measurements.  And, in fact, are a bit unhappy to discuss it when requested. They only deal with large companies like Maersk and OOCL who already have their own architects to create the container designs for them. In early 2008 our ISBU Association contracted with one of these experienced architects in Asia to make the drawings for us. After 2 months they were completed and became available in April 2008. You can find them at this link.  [ Architectural Drawings ]

QI see big stacks of shipping containers in many locations near us but I am having

      difficulty buying any of them.  Why?

A- Most people think that all stacks of shipping containers are surplus. That's not true. The shipping companies keep reserves (inventory) so they will be immediately available for export shipments. So when you see all the shipping containers that doesn't mean they are surplus or for sale.  Usually they only sell the very old containers to the public.

Q- Why are mobile homes and RV trailers being used at emergency locations like Hurricane

     Katrina instead of ISBU homes?

A- We have no idea. To us it is quite ridiculous also. An ISBU home is safer, stronger, lower cost, and as mobile as you want it. ISBU Emergency homes and shelters should be the "only" housing sent to disaster location.

Q- Your website recommends the use of the NASA type Ceramic Insulation Paint for use on

     ISBU Homes, isn't the Ceramic Insulation too expensive for that type use?

A- No, it is actually less expensive than fiberglass or foam insulation. The basic cost of the Ceramic Insulation Paint material is about $700 per 40' ISBU Module The paint is applied to the exterior surface and allows more space inside the home if needed.

Q- Aren't Prefab homes and Emergency Homes lower priced when made in China?

A- No. The cost of shipping the Prefab or ISBU home to the US. adds too much expense so it usually compensates for the added cost of American labor when the home is built in the US, Canad,a UK, Europe, Australia, or elsewhere. In this situation, China is not a better option unless you buy Flat Pack containers or large quantities of custom ISBU modules.

QWhat about rust and corrosion? Won't a metal shipping container rust quite easily?

A- No. Remember, an ISBU is a Shipping Container used for ocean shipping, humidity and saltwater. A shipping container is a special, non corrosive Corten steel; then, when coated with the Ceramic coating, it becomes virtually rust proof and also prevents mildew, mold and is highly antiseptic. There will be no rust problems if you use an ISBUA Certified Member to build your home or advise you.

Q- Who wants to live in a home that looks like a Cargo Container?

A- Most of the homes do not look like a Shipping Container. The ISBU is only the super-structure shell. It can be covered with any surface,  Wood, stucco, vinyl siding, or anything. Second, the Cargo Container look is also becoming a bit trendy and some prefer all or part of the home to remain natural. ...it can be any look you want when finished.

Q- What cities would ever allow Shipping Container homes allover the neighborhoods?

A- Any intelligent Planning Commission will approve such homes and development. They are already being accepted without issue. An ISBU module is already superior to meet any Building Codes. The exterior design can become any look you want. A conventional home design can be made of multiple ISBU modules for economy and super strength. Then the exterior looks very normal. So it doesn't matter whether you use wood walls or ISBU walls, the exterior will be the same. With proper education by the ISBU Organization they will be readily received in cities and towns globally for many reasons.

Q- Are ISBU homes tall enough to comply with building codes?

A- Building codes usually require 8' ceilings. An ISBU is 8.6' tall externally. If you want a higher ceiling you can buy HC containers which are about 12" taller than the standard ISBU Module. So yes, the standard ISBU is even taller than necessary.

QI read that an ISBU Home is Hurricane proof. Is that true?

A- Yes, ISBU Homes, either single units or multiple units connected, can withstand 100 MPH winds on a foundation, or 175 MPH winds when easily anchored with pylons. ...extremely solid in Tornadoes or Hurricanes. This has been proven time after time in many ‘real life’ situations.

QIs it true an ISBU Home is Earthquake proof?

A- Basically yes. Even in a direct hit, he structure my possibly roll around a little but certainly not collapse. It would be the most perfect safety cocoon in an Earthquake. It would be at least 100 times safer and stronger than a conventional housing structure. ...in any earthquake, I'd rather be in an ISBU constructed home or office.

Q- Why promote the use of ISBU modules in home and office construction?

A- ISBU shipping container modules are the most logical structure base for multiple reasons.  -Strongest pre-made structure. Stronger than wood, concrete, and even stronger than normal   steel buildings.  -Lower cost per square foot than other base structures.  -Truly Eco-Green structures: they are 85% recycled steel, and fully recyclable if demolished.  -Energy Efficiently because the metal is so cohesive to the Ceramic coatings and Closed Cell   Spray foam insulations they are #1 in energy efficiency.  -Their use reduces any surplus of Shipping Containers being stored near our harbors, ports    beaches and even inland cities.

Q- I recently bought a Tuff Shed ™ at Home Depot.  Now I see you recommend using ISBU for

     storage sheds.  Why?

A- Tuff Sheds ™ are very strong and economical, BUT, for nearly the same price you can have an ISBU shed, easily add the outer wood panels, windows and small roof for decor if you wish. Even if you pay for the modifications the cost will be the same; the look will be the same, but your ISBU Shed will be 100 times stronger, and theft proof. ...and easy choice. NOTE: For more detailed explanations and regularly updated Member FAQ please login to the Member website.

FAQ- Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions from our readers and ISBA Members …

Questions About Container Home Construction Q- Aren't shipping containers just hot ovens when they are used for homes or offices? A- Absolutely not!  Sure, if you don't know what you're doing and don't insulate. Like every structure base, such as wood, concrete, block, or steel panels, they all require insulation. The reality is, that the new Ceramic spray insulation is most effective when applied to metal. In fact, if you build a home, office, emergency shelter or storage unit using Ceramic Insulation paint (spray) the structure will probably be more energy efficient than a conventional home. Q- Why can't I get architectural or CAD drawings from shipping container manufacturers? A- As we've all experienced, the shipping container manufacturers, shipping companies and ISBU distributors do not offer the detailed drawings and parts measurements.  And, in fact, are a bit unhappy to discuss it when requested. They only deal with large companies like Maersk and OOCL who already have their own architects to create the container designs for them. In early 2008 our ISBU Association contracted with one of these experienced architects in Asia to make the drawings for us. After 2 months they were completed and became available in April 2008. You can find them at this link.  [ Architectural Drawings ] Q-  I see big stacks of shipping containers in many locations near us but I am having difficulty buying any of them.  Why? A- Most people think that all stacks of shipping containers are surplus. That's not true. The shipping companies keep reserves (inventory) so they will be immediately available for export shipments. So when you see all the shipping containers that doesn't mean they are surplus or for sale.  Usually they only sell the very old containers to the public. Q- Why are mobile homes and RV trailers being used at emergency locations like Hurricane Katrina and Haiti instead of ISBU shelters and homes? A- We have no idea. To us it is quite ridiculous also. An ISBU home is safer, stronger, lower cost, and as mobile as you want it. ISBU Emergency homes and shelters should be the "only" housing sent to disaster location. Q- Your website recommends the use of the NASA type Ceramic Insulation Paint for use on ISBU Homes, isn't the Ceramic Insulation too expensive for that type use? A- No, it is actually less expensive than fiberglass or foam insulation. The basic cost of the Ceramic Insulation Paint material is about $700 per 40' ISBU Module The paint is applied to the exterior surface and allows more space inside the home if needed. Q- Aren't Prefab homes and Emergency Homes lower priced when made in China? A- No. The cost of shipping the Prefab or ISBU home to the US. adds too much expense so it usually compensates for the added cost of American labor when the home is built in the US, Canad,a UK, Europe, Australia, or elsewhere. In this situation, China is not a better option unless you buy Flat Pack containers or large quantities of custom ISBU modules. Q-  What about rust and corrosion? Won't a metal shipping container rust quite easily? A- No. Remember, an ISBU is a Shipping Container used for ocean shipping, humidity and saltwater. A shipping container is a special, non corrosive Corten steel; then, when coated with the Ceramic coating, it becomes virtually rust proof and also prevents mildew, mold and is highly antiseptic. There will be no rust problems if you use an ISBUA Certified Member to build your home or advise you. Q- Who wants to live in a home that looks like a Cargo Container? A- Most of the homes do not look like a Shipping Container. The ISBU is only the super-structure shell. It can be covered with any surface,  Wood, stucco, vinyl siding, or anything. Second, the Cargo Container look is also becoming a bit trendy and some prefer all or part of the home to remain natural. ...it can be any look you want when finished. Q- What cities would ever allow Shipping Container homes allover the neighborhoods? A- Any intelligent Planning Commission will approve such homes and development. They are already being accepted without issue. An ISBU module is already superior to meet any Building Codes. The exterior design can become any look you want. A conventional home design can be made of multiple ISBU modules for economy and super strength. Then the exterior looks very normal. So it doesn't matter whether you use wood walls or ISBU walls, the exterior will be the same. With proper education by the ISBU Organization they will be readily received in cities and towns globally for many reasons. Q- Are ISBU homes tall enough to comply with building codes? A- Building codes usually require 8' ceilings. An ISBU is 8.6' tall externally. If you want a higher ceiling you can buy HC containers which are about 12" taller than the standard ISBU Module. So yes, the standard ISBU is even taller than necessary. Q-  I read that an ISBU Home is Hurricane proof. Is that true? A- Yes, ISBU Homes, either single units or multiple units connected, can withstand 100 MPH winds on a foundation, or 175 MPH winds when easily anchored with pylons. ...extremely solid in Tornadoes or Hurricanes. This has been proven time after time in many ‘real life’ situations. Q-  Is it true an ISBU Home is Earthquake proof? A- Basically yes. Even in a direct hit, he structure my possibly roll around a little but certainly not collapse. It would be the most perfect safety cocoon in an Earthquake. It would be at least 100 times safer and stronger than a conventional housing structure. ...in any earthquake, I'd rather be in an ISBU constructed home or office. Q- Why promote the use of ISBU modules in home and office construction? A- ISBU shipping container modules are the most logical structure       base for multiple reasons.  - Strongest pre-made structure. Stronger than wood, concrete, and    even stronger than normal steel buildings.  - Lower cost per square foot than other base structures.  - Truly Eco-Green structures: they are 85% recycled steel, and fully    recyclable if demolished.  - Energy Efficiently because the metal is so cohesive to the Ceramic    coatings and Closed Cell Spray foam insulations they are #1 in    energy efficiency.  - Their use reduces any surplus of Shipping Containers being stored     near our harbors, ports beaches and even inland cities. Q- I recently bought a Tuff Shed ™ at Home Depot.  Now I see you recommend using ISBU for storage sheds.  Why? A- Tuff Sheds ™ are very strong and economical, BUT, for nearly the same price you can have an ISBU shed, easily add the outer wood panels, windows and small roof for decor if you wish. Even if you pay for the modifications the cost will be the same; the look will be the same, but your ISBU Shed will be 100 times stronger, and theft proof. ...and easy choice. NOTE: For more detailed explanations and regularly updated Member FAQ please login to the Member website.
End Q&A                                 ___________________________________________                                                                                ___________________________________________                                      Copyright © 2006-2016 ISBU Association.                                                               All Rights Reserved.   Contact  •  RSS  •  Legal  •  Privacy  •  Terms Of Service   •  Join   •  Media
Container Home information, plans, drawings, designs
Intermodal Steel Building Units and Container Homes