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Modular Homes: More than just a cool way to re-use containers

You’ve probably seen a few of these cool (-ish) rustic looking shipping container homes pop up in your Facebook feed or on Pinterest if you’re like me – always on the hunt for the next project challenge. What you might not know, is that they’re not just for people who are choosing to go ‘off the grid’ in terms of power or other urban services.

Residential Construction and Modular Homes

You see, the idea of modular (or prefabricated) construction has been around for almost 200 years! Yep, and what’s more, one of the first documented examples was put into use in South Australia!

The basic idea is that whatever structure is used to form the house or part thereof (module) is completely fitted out and made ready for occupation and services connection off site, then when the site is prepared, they’re assembled on site – like lego really!

Whether the modules are shipping containers (most commonly), branded modules of a custom size from a module manufacturer or even re-used school de-mountables, the benefits in environmental sustainability, cost of the building structure and speed to construct on site are (usually) all there for the owner.

In Australia, depending on your location you may encounter some issues, like council approvals, insurance flexibility and insulation (depending on where you live). Thankfully, the obstacles are coming down and some innovative architects are designing modular solutions for knock down or re-build projects. Hurrah!

– Alex Johnson