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Our legal & permittable single 40’ container apartment

We have successfully obtained building permits for many shipping container homes on the big Island. The home shown below is a single 8 x 40' container home with a nice 10' X 20' lanai, and a roof covering the container and the lanai. He opted for 3 - 6 foot sliding glass doors to give this small home a nice open feeling. Most people on the big Island get their water by catching it from their roof, And so even though Hawaii County does not require a roof covering the container, if you need to catch water then you need to build some kind of roof system that is rated for water catchment. That is almost always a metal roof. They are the least expensive and generally the most reliable and long-lasting. If you don't need to catch water, in Hawaii County you can get away with just the roof that comes with the container. We recommend at least to install awnings over your doors and windows if you decide not to go with a secondary roof system so water doesn't constantly get inside your home, and so you have an easier time living in your new home. The Eastside of the big Island rains almost every day at some point, so it's nice to have an overhanging roof So you can walk outside without worrying about getting wet.

In Hawaii County, you are not required to insulate the inside of your home. We actually recommend our customers to apply some kind of heat reflective coating on the exterior walls to prevent heat from even generating in the first place, and designing a lot of ventilation built into the house via Windows and ventilating skylights. For anyone wanting to insulate inside a container home, we recommend building with our new all-steel modular homes because they come with insulated walls already, and the entire building process is faster, easier and less expensive. That being said, the lowest cost legal home possible would be a 40' shipping container that is not insulated inside, and does not have an additional roof covering the container home. We often put together temporary homes made from a single 40' shipping container for people to live in while they build their main home. We are expert at advising you on all the options available for that situation, take a look at our video index for videos that we have produced on this subject.


The home below was built for a retired gentleman whose original home was in need of replacement. As you can see in the photos, it is not insulated inside, and we installed a nice 3 x 5 shower and full bathroom. We also installed a solid wood 8' base cabinet and countertop. Notice the original container floors are simply painted with a dark brown floor enamel for a very low cost, and nice looking, clean and simple home.






Please take some time to familiarize yourself with the information on this website. That will allow us to more effectively work with you on your home, workshop or office ideas in person, or on the phone. Thank you!

Below is one of our most affordable container home designs.

The Cheapest Possible Home?

Affordable Portable Housing

Oahu office in Kailua town – free, no-pressure consultation - 808-339-5639

Container modification facilities at Kalaeloa, Oahu. (Near Campbell Industrial Park.)
By appointment only.

Direct sales to all Hawaiian islands and the Pacific Rim.