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City Hall and shipping containers

by Allison Ashcroft last modified Mar 02, 2011 11:37 AM
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City Hall and shipping containers

Posted by Allison Ashcroft at October 05. 2005

I live in Victoria and am looking to customize a 20ft shipping container for an accessory building (home office) in my backyard. The dimensions, etc. all fit my zoning and building restrictions, however since the square footage is greater than 100sq.ft. I am required to obtain a building permit. Additionally, electrical and plumbing will ensue.
Surprisingly, in trying to get informal preapproval, the Victoria licensing dept's chief building inspector has all but told me not to bother trying, that they will throw structural engineers, etc. and tear my plans apart if I pursue this building to the extent that the cost/benefit wouldn't be worth it even if the container were bequeathed to me!!
Apparently, he is unable to apply current building code to such a structure and is uncomfortable with this proposal.
I think the department just doesn't know how to deal with it, perhaps don't like it's aesthetic, and don't want to be forward-thinkers. i've shown them pictures and told them how common they are in California, etc., but that's not helping me.
To get them more comfortable, I'm looking for some regional precedent, if I insist on being the maverick to help get these plans through city hall and am looking to anyone in BC that has been successful with shipping container homes
Main concerns of building inspector are bearing points, necessary footings, structural support and building design and manufacturing, and roof drainage. he has already indicated that plumbing and electrical will also apply extra scrutiny should I insist on proceeding.
Look forward to your guidance and suggestions.

Re: City Hall and shipping containers

Posted by john parnell at October 08. 2005

i live in a loft in gastown, vancouver and am looking at the shipping containers as i write. awesome idea!! i have searched for a local precedent that used a container as habitable space but had no luck thus far. i can only imagine the difficulty trying to sell this proposal to city hall. however, i'm sure with the right presentation (drawings) and the necessary professionals backing the project (architect and engineer) you could convince the city. i'll keep looking and let you know if i find something. good luck.

Re: City Hall and shipping containers

Posted by Keith Dewey at April 08. 2006

I am currently building a new home out of shipping containers in Victoria BC. The process has not been without its challanges, but I expect it will have some fabulous results.
You can keep track of the progress of what I am calling Zigloo Domestique on my website:
I'll be happy to fill you in on the challanges at the city hall level some time.
[url href=][/url]

Re: City Hall and shipping containers

Posted by Mark Schembri at March 02. 2011

I think that shipping containers make the perfect home materials don't you!  But if you live in a tropical climate, do you think that it's going to be a burden?  I've asked the Storage Masters but they don't seem to know!

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