Cargo container converted into home

A Manitoba man is selling a shipping container that has been turned into a three-room home complete with plumbing electricity and laminate flooring.

Manitoba builders inspired by housing complex in Netherlands

The shipping container home built by Vern Hiebert and his neighbour. ((Vern Hiebert))
A Manitoba man is selling a shipping container that has been turned into a three-room home complete with plumbing, electricity and laminate flooring.

Vern Hiebert and his neighbour built the home after hearing about a student-housing complex made of shipping containers in the Netherlands.

They installed windows, a three-piece bathroom and a modern, stainless steel kitchen, giving the 14.6 by 2.6-metre home about 400 square feet of living space.

"After we put all the building materials in there — the walls and the ceiling — it's a very comfortable little unit," said Hiebert. "I'd be more than happy to use it as a cabin or even a temporary living space."

The container home he is selling is in Roland, Man., about 80 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg. Potential buyers should take note: it has to be moved.

Listed on the Kijiji website for $32,500, the home's plumbing is designed to allow the unit to be stacked on top of another one if the owner ever wants to expand.

The home is built from the type of steel reinforced container typically used for transporting goods on ships, railroad cars, and semi-trailer units.

The shipping container home has 400 square feet of living space spread across three rooms. ((Vern Hiebert))
Shipping container architecture has become popular around the world, with the containers often stacked in unique ways.

Tempohousing, a company in Amsterdam, has created huge student housing facilities, hotels, and commercial buildings from used shipping containers since 2002.

It also uses the containers to develop a fast solution to build new homes for displaced people in emergency situations, such as in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.

The structures can be set up in a short time, are storm and earthquake proof, and provide shelter at the lowest cost.

Containers are in many ways an ideal building material because they are strong, durable, stackable, movable, modular, plentiful and relatively cheap.

Hiebert and his neighbour picked up a used one for about $5,000.

Container City, designed by Nicholas Lacey, overlooks the Trinity Buoy Wharf in London and provides 37 studio apartments for area artists. ((
That's because the containers have become abundantly available during the last decade due to a deficit in manufactured goods being transported overseas from North America.

Goods are shipped to North America from Asia and Europe but with nothing to send back, shipping companies face a considerable expense hauling the empty units.

It is often cheaper to buy new containers in Asia than to ship old ones back. As a result, the containers get left in North America, seeking new uses such as garages, artist's studios, and cargo homes.

The best part, said Hiebert, is that you can take your entire home with you if you relocate.