Is foundation needed for a shipping container?


Old 11-08-16, 06:31 AM
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Is foundation needed for a shipping container?

So recently I came across an ad for ocean shipping containers for sale. For only $1800 I could have a 8' wide x 8'-6" high x 20' container delivered to my property.

If not familiar these, they are a steel cage with corrugated sheet metal sides, roof, floor, very, very strong and self supporting.

So being the upstanding resident I contacted my township office to inquire how this would be viewed, an outbuilding, maybe a trailer. They stated this was new to them, didn't really answer my question but said that the building department said it would need a foundation?

Looking up the requirements for an outbuilding it's showing a conventional 4" slab with a 18" rat wall. This container does not need this due to its construction, I was thinking a couple of railroad ties just to get it off the ground.

So before going in to discuss I'm trying to gather some thoughts. My plan was to stick in the woods behind my house, an area that is not accessible to install any type of foundation (will have to drag the container across a field) and as noted does not really need anything more than a plot of ground!
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Old 11-08-16, 06:50 AM
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It' could be covered by a city/township code. Around here they passed a similar code for RV's. Even though it has wheels and can be parked anywhere, if it's on your property, the city wants it on a cement pad. They are trying to pass a similar code for vehicles so people aren't just pulling up into their lawn. Its a code meant to keep the town from looking trashy.

Your code might also require it be anchored down (like a building) if it's meant as permanent storage.
Old 11-08-16, 09:38 AM
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Your town may look at it as a temporary structure if you do NOT put it on a foundation and as a temporary/movable structure it may get around many building and zoning codes.

Are you sure you will be able to move and position the container where you want? A empty 20' container weighs about 5'000 pounds. They are delivered on a semi tractor trailer and the container is rolled off the end. So, they may only be able to deliver as far as the street in front of your home. You'd have to move it the rest of the way.
Old 11-08-16, 02:00 PM
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Correct, it would be rolled off at the field behind my house and I would hire a bulldozer/backhoe to install which would be during the winter when ground is frozen.
Old 11-28-16, 02:32 PM
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The container doesn't require a foundation and it sounds like you already know that.
They are picked up all the time with cranes and forklifts, fully loaded.

A tie at each end would do, I'd probably add one in the middle.
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