Traditional structures are built with frames of timber or steel, and with materials not as plentiful as they were, framing timbers are not the quality they used to be. I still have friends who are in the building game and one is a plasterboard fixer. These days one of his greatest frustrations is trying to hang plasterboard on frames that are not square and which have warping in the timbers. If the underlying structure is not square and flat, the finishing off cannot look as good as it should. He is often delayed in his work while the framers are called back to square up their work.
Designers everywhere are constantly searching for low cost materials that they can use to construct eco-friendly residential and commercial spaces. Shipping containers have become a very unlikely but popular material for building these structures for a large number of reasons and it is no longer rare to see them. A shipping container cost is very low considering that it is made of good quality metal and is therefore very durable. Used containers are easily available because shipping companies find the cost of disposing of them or transporting them to their port of origin to be very high.
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This shipping container is made of thick steel, so it is a fortress against numerous onslaughts from animals, people, and the environment. The tough exterior is designed to keep out the harsh elements of the sea such as salt water, and intense winds. The container is also made to be fire proof, which makes it great for saving valuable items. For shipping purposes, all of these attributes make it an ideal location for the preservation of dry goods.
So the argument has been made that these containers could be turned into shelter for use in emergencies. In light of the recent aftermath of hurricane Katrina, there could actually be immediate need for such shelters. Ideally, the converted containers could be delivered by truck to the actual home sight of the disaster victims. They could live in the shelter on their own land, using the utilities that are already supplied to that lot until their home is rebuilt. The shelters would be preferable to tents because of their steel beam construction. They can endure strong winds, snow and even wildfires.
Although his Push-Button house is only an experimental project, Mr. Kalkin has built houses that he intends to make available to the public, like his Quik House. He currently has orders for ten. These modern prefab houses are made from five shipping containers and are then loaded on a truck and delivered to the buyer. It takes less than a week to reassemble them on location. The Quik House sells for between 150 to 175 thousand dollars, depending on the distance to deliver the house and the options that the client chooses. There are many different options, including mahogany sliding doors and a full stainless steel kitchen.
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