Saturday, September 13, 2008
Building With Cargo Containers (introduction)
This blog has been created to answer questions about using conex shipping containers as habitable space. I'll be covering all the issues that came up when I built the structure located at 5135 NE 42nd Street Portland, Oregon. The City of Portland maintains a website called Portlandmaps.com, you can use this website and the above address to see which permits were pulled. Rather than sit and write a complete book about this project I will answer questions posed in the comments part of this blog, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post them to this blog.
I think a little personal information is in order so that you can judge the level of skills necessary to pull off a project like this. Most of my professional experience in the building trades came from 15 years in the electrical sign industry. I've been involved in all phases of the design and fabrication to the installation and service of large electrical neon signs in San Francisco. This experience gave me an appreciation of most of the basic skills required in the building trades. In addition to the practical experience of sign work I also worked as an account executive for various sign companies. In this capacity I was able to develop the skills that help estimate costs and manage projects to completion. I was also responsible for pulling permits and seeing the projects though the necessary design review processes that municipalities use to make sure that that a project is both safe and fits into the community.
I left San Francisco in 2000 and moved to New Orleans. I bought and remodeled a 1867 coffee warehouse into my home and commercial rental. In the next five years I went on to work on various projects from a 1870s fire house to the major reconstuction of an 1820s antebullum mansion in the Lower Garden District. I'm very proud of the fact that nothing I worked on in New Orleans suffered any damage by Katrina or any of the hurricanes that plauge the gulf coast. In each of these projects one of my first purchases was a shipping container. They provide me with secure storage for the tools and materials used in constuction. As the last detail of each job I finished out the shipping container as a guest house on the property. I'd sheet the exterior of the container to appear consistant with the main structure.
When I sold my property in New Orleans in 2006 I was given the full square foot value of the container as I got for the house. This caused me to consider constucting a full home from multipule containers. Eventually I settled in Portland, Oregon. I bought the old Hare Khrisna temple on NE 42nd Street. It had a garage that was racked and about to fall over so it was perfect for the project we are going to discuss in this blog.
I'd like to thank you for your interst in my project and I wish you the best of luck building your dreams. I'd be happy to do anything I can do to help you with the construction of your own container house.
Chris Radcliffe, September 2008