Welcome to Alternative Living Spaces, where we specialize in helping investors expand their Airbnb portfolios, assisting homeowners in adding extra living space to their properties and enabling retirees to find freedom through alternative living. If you're interested in building your own shipping container home, this series of videos is for you. Today, we'll focus on the permitting and design process for constructing a container home, providing all the essential information you need to get started.

Permitting Your Container Home

Permitting requirements can vary significantly from one location to another. The level of regulation largely depends on your county or municipality. For example, if you're in the remote deserts of northern Arizona, there might be little to no regulation for container homes. However, in major cities, you can expect more stringent regulations.

To navigate the permitting process successfully, follow these steps:

Contact Your Local Authorities: Begin by reaching out to your local zoning and building department. They can provide you with detailed information about the regulations in your area.

Understand County Regulations: Regulations will specify the size and type of home you can build on your property and outline the requirements for construction. You may need stamped architectural and engineered drawings.

Inspections: Some counties may require inspections during the construction process. This ensures that the building meets the necessary standards and codes.

Adopt Creative Solutions: There are ways to make container living more accessible. Many areas now allow tiny homes as additional dwelling units (ADUs). For example, you can add a container tiny home to your backyard if your property already has a main residence.

Container Homes on Wheels: Another solution is to develop container homes on wheels classified as RVs. This allows you to place your container home wherever RVs are permitted. Ensure your home complies with the dimensions and safety requirements of the DMV for RVs.

Designing Your Container Home

The design process for your container home includes three main aspects: the grading and site plan, the architectural plan set, and the engineering plan set.

Grading and Site Plan: This site-specific plan determines the placement of your container unit on your property and addresses drainage. Proper grading helps prevent water damage to your home during heavy rain.

Architectural Plan Set: This comprehensive set of drawings includes floor plans, utility plans, roof plans, sections, elevations, door and window schedules, general notes, energy reports, and more. It's crucial for construction and ensuring all parties involved are on the same page.

Engineering Plan Set: The engineering plan set covers the foundation and structural elements. A soil test is usually required to determine the foundation setup best suited for your property, including pier foundations, monolithic slab foundations, or ground screws. Collaborate with an engineer experienced in container homes to avoid over-engineering, which can be costly.

In remote areas or for temporary structures, a foundation might be as simple as compacted gravel or stone blocking.

In Conclusion

Navigating the permitting and design process for your container home can be complex. However, it's an essential step to creating your dream space. Connect with local authorities, architects, and engineers with container home experience for guidance. With the right team and proper planning, your container home can become a reality, providing you with a unique and cost-effective living space.

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