As modified shipping containers continue to grow in popularity for their versatility and affordability, we have seen them transform into many different creative uses. With the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen many shipping containers transformed into home offices, helping people “work from home” without being in their houses.
We have also seen incredible houses, tiny homes and cabins created out of shipping containers. People are also using shipping containers to create pop-up shop businesses. Sales offices, beauty salons, art galleries, cafes, and bars are just some of the different ways we have seen businesses convert shipping containers into pop-up shops at events and markets around the world.
If you have considered purchasing a shipping container for your own property or worksite, it is important that you find out if you need a permit to put a shipping container on the property. Every municipality has its own building codes and regulations that will determine if you are allowed to put a shipping container on your property. With proper planning and research, you can avoid any building code violations or fines.
The goal of this blog article is to outline some standard factors and rules that might affect your ability to get a permit to put a shipping container on the property. We will go over what factors are important in getting a permit such as if it is a temporary or permanent structure and the location where you will be putting the structure. We will also give you some helpful tips to hopefully make the permit process easier for you.
Whether you’re looking for extended living space or more storage, you should find out if your local Building Division requires you to obtain permission to put a container on land, before you purchase your shipping container. The regulatory requirements to get a permit to put a shipping container on the property vary from city to city and typically require a city-certified building inspector to verify that the structure will not violate any building codes or local zoning by-laws and ensure that there are no safety or health concerns. Getting a building permit for shipping container will often consider things such as:
Ground Stability: Before you are granted permission for portable storage container construction, it must be confirmed that the ground where you want to put the container won’t collapse under the weight of your shipping container. Are you are looking to put it in your yard on dirt or on your driveway where there is concrete and a solid foundation?
Structural Strength: Getting permission for portable storage container structures will require that your structure meets requirements with wind and snow loads and has adequate structural reinforcements. Safety is definitely a priority when trying to get a permit to put a shipping container on the property. Luckily shipping containers were built to withstand extreme weather conditions at sea and are made from steel making them very strong and Wind and Water Tight. Want to learn more about wind and water-tight shipping containers (WWT)? Read our blog post here.
Community Presence: Permission to put a container on land in your neighbourhood may be affected by your container’s appearance. Your chances of getting a permit could be affected by the externally viewable parts of the container, such as: colour, condition of the container, and materials used for walls and roof. This will also be affected by where you want to leave your container. Can you even see the container from the street or is it on a more hidden part of your property? This may also be in important when you are deciding if you want to purchase a new shipping container or used shipping container, at Coast Containers we offer both, new and used containers.
Neighbourhood and Location of Shipping Container: If you live in a neighbourhood that is residential or high-traffic, getting a building permit for shipping container structures may have more restrictions than if you lived in a low-traffic or rural area. In some cases, local residents may put pressure on city governments to influence their zoning laws because they are concerned with how a structure may affect their property value.
If you are applying for a temporary permit for your shipping container you may be able to get one for the road in front of your house but this will depend on the city or municipality that you live in.
Do i need a permit to put a shipping container on my property? Each city or municipality will have different rules and regulations that will determine if you are granted permission to put a portable container on the yard of your property. It can often take anywhere from ten to twenty days to get your permit to put a shipping container on the property and it is imperative that you obtain it before you begin. Generally, the building codes and permits of most developed countries are influenced by the International Building Code and the International Residential Code, which are updated every couple of years. These codes set the standards of construction to determine how residential shelters and homes are built.
Property zoning is another type of building regulation that you may encounter in the process of getting a permit for portable storage container structures. Zoning is determined by city governments and may change with rezoning laws depending on their plan for a city’s growth and development. Zoning is a process that breaks up large sections of urban land to determine what can be built there, which means that the likelihood of getting a permit for storage container construction will be dependent on the zone and neighbourhood in which your property is located.
Can you place a shipping container on the property without a permit if it is only for a short period of time? Again, this will depend on the specific rules and regulations of your city. The good news is that there is a chance you may not need one at all if it is for a short period of time, or if you do, you will likely have fewer requirements to comply with. There is lots of information available online for each city when it comes to permits for shipping containers.
If you’re seeking permission to put a container on land permanently, you will likely need to provide evidence that your shipping container is compliant with your local zoning and building regulations. Local zoning regulations will usually want the following information:
Whether you are looking for a temporary permit for a storage container or a permanent permit for a storage container you will have to dig deeper into the regulations for your specific city or municipality when asking the questions, do I need a building permit for a shipping container?. Make sure to give yourself enough time to get the information you need before you start the process of purchasing a shipping container.
Requirements for getting a shipping container permit will vary based on the municipality or city that you are in. It is important to get the specific requirements for the area that you would like to put your shipping container. Here are a few tips to help you get a permit for your shipping container:
Can I put a shipping container on my property? This will likely depend on the amount of time that your shipping container is going to be on your property. If it is a short-term container placement, like for moving purposes, and it won’t be a permit structure on your property, like a container home would be then you will apply for a temporary permit instead of a permit for a permanent structure, which is likely easier to get.
Depending on the location and area that you want to place your container your permit will be easier or harder to obtain. If you’re looking to place your container in a residential neighborhood with high traffic where containers are uncommon there will be stricter regulations. If you are looking to place a container on your property on a farm, you may not even need a permit. Check with your local municipality or city for more information.
Can I have a shipping container in my backyard? You may be able to hire a professional to assist you with getting a permit. Permit Expeditors are able to handle the shipping container zoning laws paperwork on your behalf so you don’t have to worry about it.
Adding a shipping container to your property is an exciting endeavour and is a great way to make your property more functional. It’s easy to want to immediately begin planning the layout and design of your new shipping container structure, but before you begin the fun part of planning, you must find out if you will be able to get a permit to put a shipping container on the property or else you risk the chance of unknowingly violating your city’s building codes and regulations. Don’t make the mistake of starting your project without complying with the laws. This will likely end with a hefty fine and a big headache.
Now that we have gone over the difference in a temporary vs. permanent shipping container and some tips and tricks to speed up or make the permit process easier you can start your own research based on your city. Once you have got your permit figured out it is time to look at the different types of shipping containers and if you want to purchase a new shipping container or used shipping container, or possibly renting a container instead of purchasing one if you will be using it temporarily.
At Coast Containers we have industry experts who can help you with the buying process of your new shipping container or used shipping container. Visit our “Useful Tips” page on our website or reach out to one of our helpful staff members today for more information.
Not ready to purchase a container just yet? We also have a partner company, Make Space Storage where you can rent a container for however long you need it.