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Are Container Homes Legal in South Carolina?

Alexander is a professional engineer who specializes in the construction of affordable houses and structures using recycled materials.

Shipping Container Homes in South Carolina

Today, many people seem to have accepted shipping containers for use as homes or for businesses. Typically, these containers have several advantages over conventional buildings. The traditional method of constructing homes and buildings is expensive, takes time and a lot of effort and resources.

These container homes have reduced everything almost significantly. The time taken to build a container home in South Carolina has been reduced significantly. Today a homeowner can have a home in just a few weeks or months compared to how long it would take to construct the conventional house.

Understand that container homes in South Carolina are legal. However, the authorities will require you to follow the zoning laws and building codes. The homeowner must also present a plan if they want their container home to appear to receive a permit to carry on. Constructing a container home is a dream for many homeowners.

Most of the container homeowners who have already constructed their homes can testify how it could be problematic if you do not have the right papers to do it. However, they are all joyful that their dream has come alive. To most of these homeowners, it is like heaven rained on them.

However, a few homeowners did not have the dream of a shipping container home. It was more of the last option, considering how much they were willing to pay for the construction and how much they had at the moment. One of the main pros of these shipping container homes in South Carolina is that they are cheap to own.

Traditional homes are much more expensive when compared to container homes. The other thing is that these shipping containers will last long.


The answer is yes; shipping container homes are legal in South Carolina. The state approves the construction of these container homes as long as the home builders ensure they follow all regulations. That, however, does not mean that you can wake up and decide to build the container home that day. There are necessary procedures that must be in play, and failure to follow these regulations could land you in deep trouble with the authorities.

That means you have to follow all these legal procedures to build a shipping container home in South Carolina. This guide explains more insights on the shipping container homes in South Carolina. Follow along to learn more:

Reasons Why These Container Homes are Great for South Carolina

South Carolina has a very rich history and is currently among the oldest states in the US. Its architecture says it all. South Carolina has brilliant architecture showcased in its style and color. The southern belle charm is also quite alluring, and homeowners have several housing options to choose from.

You will be shocked to find some hundreds of years old homes. However, the state seems to be incorporating the use of shipping container homes as a form of housing. Potential homeowners can also look for home builders in South Carolina that will help them set up a beautiful home.

There are several ways to configure these containers to create a beautiful home. But why is South Carolina a prime state to construct a shipping container home? Below are reasons why:

Environmentally Friendly

These container homes are a fashionable way to recycle used material, and they are quite eco-conscious. There are millions of shipping containers worldwide, and only a few are still active. That means many shipping containers rot or waste away in ports and yards.

Also, understand that every forty-foot container has around 8,000 pounds of steel. Technically, it means the homeowner will not use lots of other materials such as masonry and wood. Instead of the containers wasting away in yards, homeowners should use them appropriately. Using them to create your ideal home gives the containers a chance to thrive once more.

Offsite Construction

The other great reason many people around South Carolina love these container homes is that they can be constructed somewhere else and then shipped to the ideal location where they will stay temporarily or permanently. That is good news for a homeowner who stays or wishes to stay off the grid. The house will be constructed near the resources and then shipped to the ideal location.

The other big deal with the offsite building is that the house will be kept out of elements while in construction. Wind, rain, and any other precipitation will not get any space in the house if it is built offsite. That means the house will be built in the best possible conditions to make it stable and watertight.

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Shipping container homes prices will largely depend on their size, construction company, geography, and other factors. However, as much as it depends on several factors, you will be shocked to find out how cheap it is to build a container home in South Carolina. Consider the materials, labor, and even transport, and you will find that these homes are quite cost-effective compared to traditional homes.

The other reason that may distinguish between the prices of different container homes is the different grades. There are different grades for these shipping containers, with the best grades making the most expensive homes.

Unique Expression

Many Americans associate South Carolina with uniqueness, especially when discussing historical architecture. Particularly there are eight architectural styles, and all these are vivid in South Carolina. These prominent include Victorian, Colonial, Federal, Classical Revival, Georgian, Art Deco, Victorian, Italianate and Gothic Revival.

These traditional architectural styles offer the state a unique beauty, history, and culture. However, it is worth noting that the state is taking shape in a modern vision that makes South Carolina history. Why not add an artistic home to the already thriving architecture of South Carolina?

The state has some astounding configurations of these container homes built according to homeowners' different preferences and styles. Add glamor to the state by having your special style to the South Carolina container homes. However, as much as it is legal to build these homes in South Carolina, we have to stress how you must follow the rules and regulations.

Modular Homes

By modular, these shipping container homes are quite easy to modify. The home can easily incorporate other different sizes of containers. Homebuilders can combine different containers and create large homes that come with a second floor, extra bedrooms, or even guest rooms.

Low Maintenance and Durable

Understand that these containers are made of Corten steel. This steel is responsible for the protection of the cargo during transit. These containers are better at withstanding weather conditions than conventional houses. In fact, they are more secure if you add patio windows, doors, and other accessories.

South Carolina Building Code


You'll Need an Angle Grinder To Cut Through the Metal

Steps to Building a Container Home

So, how do you build a container home? Making your dream home from containers should not sound like rocket science. Here is more information on how to build a stunning container home meticulously.

1. Planning and Permits

The homeowner could indeed be able to adjust and pass shortcuts during construction, but you have to do it right when it comes to regulations and permits. The paperwork for the shipping container home ought to be perfect. Before making an order on the container home, ensure you have all the paperwork done. Get the planning permission and building code permits from the relevant authorities.

It is also a great idea to work with a structural engineer and architect to draw your dream house and make sure it is what is built. Also, get an architect who has previously worked with containers since the work is different from the wooden, brick, or steel construction.

2. Purchase the Container

After acquiring the necessary papers to construct a container home, you will have to look for the container. Your plans will determine the type, condition, and size of the container you want to look for. Popular containers for building container homes are high-cube and 40-foot. The container gives approximately 320 square feet. That is sufficient room for a decent kitchen/living room area, one bathroom, and one bedroom.

Do some due diligence in finding the right containers, first looking at their initial cost, vendor's reputation, delivery options, warranties, customer feedback, and even the condition of the containers.

3. Prepare the Land

After ordering the container, you have to decide where to locate the home. That is where you prepare the land. Prepare the ground and work on the foundation. Elevate the house from the ground to keep it safe from stuff such as moisture. Moisture could easily lead to corrosion.

The foundation could have wooden supports or made of concrete. Personal preferences will dictate how you will set up your foundation. For homeowners who would wish to pour a concrete foundation, embed the steel plates into your concrete where the container corner will contact the surface. It allows the architecture to weld the containers to your concrete foundation directly.

It is always advisable to consider the services of an expert, but most probably, you will use steel plates, concrete slabs, concrete strips, and concrete piers in the construction.

4. Place Your Containers

One easy way to accurately place the container home on your foundation is via a delivery truck and crane. With these, you will enjoy speed and ease, and it will be much safer for everyone. If you do not have access to these, you can always hire a local architect or rent a forklift for several hours.

After placing the house on the foundation, you can always make minor adjustments using a huge crowbar.

5. Cut Openings

It would help to cut the container to accommodate door and window openings. For minor openings, you can consider a cutting torch, grinder, plasma cutter, or jigsaw. Get the cutting torch or plasma cutter if you want to remove an entire wall. If you are unsure how to do this, hire a professional who will do it perfectly.

6. Add Windows, Framing, and Doors

Your windows and doors could be fancy or basic; it depends on your preference. You could go for French or regular doors or add some cranking windows; it is all up to you. Ensure you include a thermal break between the container's metal walls and the studs since they will conduct heat from inside the room.

7. Electricity and Plumbing

Even though you may not be certain of the electric wiring you require, it should not be a big issue since it will be cheaper and easier. The potential difficulty is passing the wire over remnants of the container walls removed. You could consider running the wire around the steel and then using a custom nail protector.

When speaking of plumbing and electric wiring, ponder whether you will have an AC unit or HVAC system. Also, assess the use of solar panels for electricity.

8. Temperature Control and Insulation

The interior temperature of the shipping container home will need some insulation to regulate the room temperature. Keep in mind that the space will be a bit limited if you decide to insulate the inside part of the house. Some homeowners see it better to insulate the outside where vinyl, cedar, or log siding can cover the insulated exterior. Exterior insulation allows the homeowner to use the entire space in the shipping containers.

Whether panels or spray foam, the insulation you decide to use depends on your preference and the place you live.

9. Landscaping and Decorating

You now have a place to call home, but you need to make it look appealing. Think about the space around your home and how you can make it better. Lay floor coverings, paint the house's interior, among other things, to make it look stunning.

10. Inspection

After all the hard work, it is time to see whether the house is standard. Did it follow the building codes laid out by the South Carolina authorities? Before you call the inspection firm, have an expert go through the entire house to correct any mistakes. After that, you can now call the inspector to assess your home.

This Will Come in Handy for Your Landscaping

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Alexander Okelo

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