How to Move Portable Container Homes

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Shipping container homes have to be designed with mobility at the beginning. If the container home was designed to be permanent like being fastened to a solid foundation and welded together, this makes it incredibly difficult to move. Container homes that are able to retain the portable size on truck, as well as are assembled with nuts and bolts are far easier to move and presents a convenient lifestyle to those likely to relocate.

Image from Hamilton gets one of the country’s first urban, shipping-container homes | The Star

Yes, container homes do have a portable nature, however we almost try to reverse that by making them a permanent home with a solid foundation.

Design the Container home for Portability

Container homes can retain their mobility if they were designed to be disassembled. If the containers have been welded or built in a way that it cannot be taken apart, there’s a big chance you won’t be able to move the home. The key is in designing the home with portability in mind from the beginning. (1)

Shipping containers are made to be transported on trucks, trains and ships, but customizing and combining 2 or more no longer keep containers in their portable size. Even if you are able to take them apart, remember you’ll have to reconnect them at the new site, making the re-connection weaker than the original joint. If you really want to expand your livable home width, opt for joining containers with plates and bolts rather than welding. This only needs an unbolting for disassembly that can be put back together at the new site

If you are able to transport your container home, you need to fasten down what furniture you can and clear out your belongings for a smoother move. Thankfully, living in a container home does present more of a minimalist lifestyle, having less things to move out and back in. It always pays to get a few tips from expert movers on what you can strap down and need to clear out. (1)

Working Out Transportation Methods and Delivery

If the move is under 200 miles, you can go for a “tilt bed” or “tilt tray” truck. This is the smoothest option for transferring your home and the cheapest as you won’t need any additional machines like a crane. You literally just need to load the home onto the truck and tilt it into its new place.(1, 2)

To use a tilt tray truck, be sure to check the clearance requirements. For example, a 6 meter tilt tray truck, you’ll need a minimum 4.8 meters height, 3 meter width and18 meter length. (2)

However, if you’re moving your home to a location over 200 miles away, you’ll need to get a flatbed truck. This ensures the containers are better secured to the truck, but also requires using a crane to load and unload your home. Note this significantly adds to the cost in distance, extra labor and machinery. Another term for the delivery services are either side loader trucks or crane truck deliveries.

Image from Luxury Movable Container House Home Automobile real-time quotes, last-sale prices -Okorder.com

Before arranging delivery, you also have to ensure the utility hookups are ready. Other things you’ll have to check with the transport company before booking them and securing the move: (3)

  • Ask for all the cost inclusions: installation, unloading, handling, truck idly waiting,
  • Check the route and make sure the truck can fit and is allowed to pass through all roads, pathways until it makes it to your site. Check for any low power lines, cables, trees, narrow streets, tight turns or special road closures.
  • In case you plan on doing it yourself, know that being able to drive a large truck requires a specialized driver’s license to operate.
  • Have the site prepared beforehand, whether the land needs to be leveled, the foundation and utility hookups must be ready, trees and debris cleared, so your container home can just slide into place.
  • Note the more furniture and features you add into your container home before transporting will make it heavier and more difficult to handle and transport. This entails more labor time, equipment and limitation to your transportation options.
  • Aim to deliver  during a dry season to avoid a wet, muddy land on delivery.

For a more detailed account on the other machines and trucks available for moving your container homes, check this piece out. How to Transport a Shipping Container Home – Live in a Container

The Possibilities of a Portable Container Home Today

Not all portable container homes have to be small and studio like in space. You can find one and  two bedroom portable homes using both 20 feet and 40 feet containers. (5)

Check out this not only portable but very eco friendly designed home by Dwell Container Home Can Be Moved And Setup In Hours – YouTube. It involves a great expansion to an outdoor space, an expansive solar panel canopy, green roof and composting toilet.

For sure container homes are delivered to you with a lot more than just its steel walls. They are completely fitted with countertops, cabinets, a wardrobe, full bathroom, air conditioning system and even TV entertainment system, flooring and lighting.  (2)

Image from Home – Portable Container Homes Grannyflats (grannyflats4u.com)

Companies are also revolutionizing the container home game. There are remote operated fold out container homes that are trying to address the limited width of containers.

A long narrow floor area leads many designers to linking up the containers, which limits our mobility. However, these fold out units are able to be compact enough to ride a transport truck, are placed onto the site and unfold to expand to a bigger space with just a press on the remote. After opening up you can hook up your electricity, water and waste systems, then move in your furniture. (6)

So having to have another truck to transport all your furnishings isn’t as mobile as your camper mobile home, however you can get much more in the mobility of a container home if planned well.

References:

  1. Can Shipping Container Homes Be Moved? | Container Home Hub
  2. Portable Shipping Container Homes & Cabins – Portable Temporary Housing Australia (royalwolf.com.au)
  3. How to Transport a Shipping Container Home – Live in a Container
  4. Container Home Can Be Moved And Setup In Hours – YouTube
  5. Home – Portable Container Homes Grannyflats (grannyflats4u.com)
  6. Spotlight on a Remote Control, Portable Container Home – Gateway Container Sales & Hire