How Shipping Container Buildings are Transforming Traditional Construction Methods

The rectangular metal boxes invented by Malcolm McLean have more uses than stowing marine freight. They can be transformed into shipping container buildings. The total number of existing containers far exceeds those in regular service on the world’s oceans. In addition to those on docksides, warehouses, and container parks, many are now serving a very different purpose from that for which they were initially designed.


Their rugged structure and uniform shape and dimensions have led to them being recognised as ideal for use in the construction of modular buildings, like shipping container homes. The option provides a rapid, cost-effective, and efficient building technique with all the versatility of Lego. Like the American trucker who reinvented shipping in the 1950s, his novel idea has since revolutionised construction. Our engineers and designers at Absolute Containers have perfected this innovative technique, creating custom shipping containers for diverse applications.

Shipping Container Buildings From Absolute Containers

Some Applications for Shipping Container Buildings


The most commonly used container measures approximately 6 metres by 2,4 by 2,4. It is large enough for numerous uses, including shipping container homes, site offices, garages, equipment stores, or a poolside bar and changing room. The 12-metre unit is also widely used for similar purposes. However, both can be joined end to end, back to back, or top to bottom to create the required capacity and layout. Let’s look at some examples:


  • Mumbai Skyscraper: Plans submitted by an overseas architectural firm to replace slum housing in the Indian port include a high-rise building assembled using around 2500 containers. If approved, the structure could house up to 5000 people, proving that the sky may really be the limit for shipping container buildings.


  • Qatar Stadium: If you wondered why the 2022 FIFA World Cup stadium in Qatar was named Stadium 974, the explanation might surprise you. The digits refer to the number of containers used to create this unique construction in record time.


Of course, not all container projects are as grandiose as these. Most custom shipping containers are far smaller. With some external cladding, internal insulation, windows, doors, a power supply, and imagination, there is no end to the potential of shipping container buildings. For example:


  • Temporary classrooms
  • Mobile libraries and clinics
  • Lab facilities for mining and oil companies
  • Hostels and ablution blocks for workers in remote areas


A local company converted a single unit into a porter’s lodge with a reception area for visitors and pigeonholes for students at the entrance gate to one of Britain’s Cambridge University colleges.


We have completed hundreds of container buildings, from granny flats and dining halls to spaza shops and access control modules. Why not get in touch to discuss affordable, bespoke shipping container buildings to help meet your personal or business needs?