Shipping container design criteria in container home – Infill system
  • 13 Jun 2017

A cargo container home’s infill system is one of the most functional and aesthetically pleasing aspects of the building. The infill system consists of the MEP system (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing), as well as aesthetical components. The home’s insulation is also included in the infill system. In many ways, a cargo container home’s infill system is similar to that of a home build from a traditional steel or timber framing system. Cargo container homes, however, have many more spatial limitations, as compared to a normal home or building. The design challenges are most prevalent in this portion of the design process because while the same families of components are necessary in a cargo container home, there is much less space to place them.

It has become a very common practice to first construct a non-loadbearing frame around the inside of the cargo containers. Both cold-formed steel and light timber can be used, and the framing system parallels that of a standard home. This internal framing offers both a means to hang drywall or gypsum board as well as a cavity to locate insulation and components of the MEP systems. Figure 6a depicts the construction of an internal steel framing system to separate rooms of the cargo container home. Also, voids can be cut into the container and framed in to allow for standard windows and doors. After the framing is complete, the electrical and plumbing systems can be installed. Again, the wiring and routing of plumbing is very similar to that of a standard home, with the exception of spatial requirements. Ventilation/central heating and cooling is a major challenge due to the height restrictions of the containers. A standard ventilation system is possible, however, with the usage of shallow ductwork concealed within a slightly suspended ceiling. Also, radiant heating and cooling systems require less space because of their use of hoses instead of metal ventilation ducts. The insulation methodology is again similar to that of a home constructed by a standard methodology. Both insulating foam and blown insulation are possible insulation methods, and due to the internal framing, space is available to do either method. Many cargo container homes have become very successful in creating a modern, appealing interior design. Figure 6b features the interior of a cargo container home. The application of drywall, hardwood flooring, standard appliances and furniture, and lighting creates a home that is very similar to a modern home constructed using a standard methodology (i.e. without using cargo containers).

Interior wiring, plumbing

The series prepared by Modo Container consists of four articles in total. This is the last, infill system. Previous is dimension, foundation, structural system.

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