Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Is a container home right for you?

Published:Tuesday | August 9, 2022 | 12:05 AM
A container home is a cost-effective option for the prospective homeowner.
A container home is a cost-effective option for the prospective homeowner.
The rear of a two-bedroom container home under construction at Kingston Logistics Center Limited.
The rear of a two-bedroom container home under construction at Kingston Logistics Center Limited.

Homeownership is one of the most important goals for many people, but with the state of Jamaica’s real estate market some have written it off as a pipe dream.

The cost of residential units locally has risen significantly over the past couple of years, with demand not dampened by the sharp increase in the cost of construction materials and supply chain challenges.

As a result, some have turned to creative means to address their housing needs. This includes the construction of shipping container homes, a concept still relatively new to the local market.

It is not uncommon to see the durable shipping containers being used as offices and storage space, but interest in the reusable vessels as cost-effective, customisable residential dwellings has grown.

The containers, which come in two sizes – 20 feet x 8 feet and 40 feet x 8 feet – may be used singly or combined to create multilevel homes.

While there may be hesitation in their use for home construction, shipping containers do have several benefits for the optimistic homeowner.


Generally, shipping container are more cost-effective to purchase than traditional housing materials and require less resources and manpower to build a home. Depending on the use of space and how much customisation one wants, the labour cost may be largely reduced when compared to that of a conventional home. Additionally, there are companies locally, such as Kingston Logistics Center, that can meet all your needs, from sourcing the container to handling the customisation and delivery of the container home, easing much of the burden that would fall on the individual.


Shipping container homes can be completed in a fraction of the time it takes to construct a new home from scratch, with delivery of a move-in-ready homes possible within a matter of several weeks, once permits and resources allow. They are also easy to modify, with a blend of sizes allowing for additional space should the would-be homeowner desire.


Consider that shipping containers were built to endure the elements at sea. A well-constructed container home, with proper treatment, insulation and care, can last for decades and withstand inclement weather quite well.


Container homes are often made from old containers, repurposing steel that may otherwise been discarded. It also reduces the use of new building materials, such as wood and metal, that are involved in the construction process.


While a container home is a housing option worth contemplating, it is important to note that there are some considerations which must be given prior to starting the journey.

Though the impact on the environment is less, on the face of it, some container homes may have volatile substances that must be removed, and that process lessens the positive impact. Additionally, containers that have some damage that must be repaired and/or reinforced will also decrease the environmental benefits of the purchase.

What’s more, even with great care, container homes usually last about 25 to 30 years. Repairs and other fortifications can help to extend their liveability but, in most cases, traditional homes have better durability. It should also be considered that getting permits, particularly in areas where these units are uncommon, and approval processes vary.