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A place to live while building your primary home

Generally speaking, while building your main permitted home, most people will not complain if you have a shipping container on your property. Contractors routinely put shipping containers on a property where they are actively building. Living in one is not the same, but many do it. The bldg dept on Hawaii island seems to be getting difficult with people doing this. Sadly, we cannot guarantee that you will have no problems. If attempting this, it is advised to place it where no one can easily see it. If you don’t have acreage, that is not possible. It used to be ok to camp out on your land while bldg, but now the county is cracking down on this because things are getting out of control in their eyes in puna and elsewhere.
We also have a great video on setting up a really first class tent built on plywood covered pallets to get you “high and dry”, constructing a running water toilet outhouse that goes into your permitted septic system or cesspool or doing a composting toilet, and putting together a private outdoor shower with on-demand gas hot water heater. This is actually the best way to go if you can handle the austerities. It can be made very comfortable at a lot less cost than building out a shipping container to live in temporarily. We are not responsible for any bldg violations you might encounter doing this without permits. Check out this deluxe  single container structure that we built for a client with 10' X 20' covered lanai and 3- 5' sliding glass doors. It is very cool!  Many of our clients have been issued building permits for single 40’ container homes, we can do the same for you.

This is what we recommend:

Single 40’ 1-trip "new" Hi-cube container with-

Silicone elastomeric coating on entire exterior to reflect heat if in direct sun, and the silicone coating is the best protection against rust, it's no longer a problem.

3 windows- 6' x 4' vinyl sliders and a 36” exterior door.

Basic 36” x 36” or a nicer 34” X 60” shower stall, toilet, sink and basic bathroom hardware/accessories.

Efficiency kitchen with single counter top and lower cabinets, sink.

Overhead led lighting (4 lights), 7 electrical outlets. (We are not wild about fluorescent lighting, similar looking LED fixtures now are reasonably priced and recommended) Going with no insulation and drywall will save you quite a bit of money, but it can get very cold at night. We can insulate, install drywall and paint for about $6k. It is a big job which starts with light gauge steel studs welded through out the interior walls and ceiling. Wiring on insulated models is all inside of the drywall and looks much nicer, plus the corrugated walls are now covered up and completely flat, and square to the floor, making it much easier to clean the floor. This economy model’s flooring is the wood floors that come with the container, sealed and painted with floor enamel coating.

Total cost as outlined above is about $30k with bath and kitchenette, and without heat reflective coating, insulation or drywall. COST ABOVE IS NOT FOR A LEGAL PERMITTED PERMANENT HOME. Shipping and trucking is additional. Price is an estimate and does not include a shed roof structure.
Cost varies depending on which island and what specific location you are at. These costs quoted here do not include any permits or drafting. A shed roof structure does offer you the ability to catch water, and it shades the structure. These are agood thing, but costs more and is not absolutely necessary for a temporary living structure. You can build a legal, permitted home on the big island without a formal roof structure added.

The final choices are made by you after kicking around the various options and costs. After your main home is ready to occupy, we can sell your temporary container home for you, hopefully recouping most of your investment, or you could permit it as a guest home if you do not insulate and drywall it. Call or email us to discuss your options. Again, the county these days is generally not ok with living on your land while buidling your main home, we are not responsible for any zoning violations that may or may not occur.

Our legal & permittable single 40’ container home

The Cheapest Possible Home?
Many customers have been issued building permits for single and also multiple 40’ container homes. There are not a lot of built-ins or counter tops etc. This is because there is a law which states that there is a minimum number of unencumbered square feet to qualify as a legal home, so we have designed it to meet the legal minimums. From this, you can add-on later with another container structure that connects to it, and have a small efficiency apartment with bathroom and kitchen to live in while building your dream home or future addition connected to this single container home base. From this, you can add-on later with another container structure that connects to it, and have a small efficiency apartment with bathroom and kitchen to live in while building your dream home or future addition connected to this single container home base.
Don’t forget- you could permit this as a guest home later, and forgo the kitchen so you would also be able to build your dream home on the same lot and also be able to keep this shipping container structure on your lot permanently later as a legal guest home. The home shown directly below incorporates the cargo doors into the home, which requires a rather large concrete landing and steps, you can lock down the doors and forgo the cost of landing and stairs if you wish to. We are expert at advising you on recommended design for your home. Call or email us. We do get very busy, so your patience is appreciated!