A Readaptive Use of Shipping Containers for Modular Housing Presented to: City of Newark Central Planning Department of Economic & Housing Development Presented by: Henry Rock, Principal | ComLoc, Corp. Date: Wednesday, March 01, 2006
ConceptComLoc, Corp., a real estate venture firm working in collaborationwith the architectural & design firm LOT-EK, proposes building singlefamily homes using ISO intermodal shipping containers.ComLoc intends to introduce this housing on an infill basis in urbanareas under the brand name ZipHouse™; targeting young urbanprofessionals and persons in need of LiveWork space. These homeswill employ cutting edge design and “Green” or eco-friendly buildingtechniques and materials.The following proposal lays out the case for the use of this technology,how the system will be deployed and its rationale.
GoalsThe goals of this project are threefold: Provide affordable yet quality housing (an ever-increasing requirement in urban America). Use cutting-edge technologies and design. Recycle discarded shipping containers, which are ubiquitous throughout the country’s port cities. Aid in meeting some of urban municipalities more challenging land use issues
Objectives Demonstrate the technology’s Quick product delivery to bringviability units on-line sooner Implement functional Unit adaptability & versatilitycontemporary design Use advanced modular Use eco-friendly buildingconstruction techniques techniques &materials Low product delivery costs to Sustainable development,drive housing affordability mitigating potential economic & environmental impacts
BackgroundTechnology: The ISO Shipping Container IndustryISO shipping containers, also referred to as intermodal containers, are used totransport freight. These containers are designed for transportation by multiplemodes: such as ship and rail, or rail and truck. These freight containers conform tothe International Organization for Standardization (ISO) container manufacturingstandards.Dry ISO containers are general purpose, totally enclosed, rectangular steelframework box type containers, with 14 gauge steel walls and treated woodflooring, are used for general purpose transportation. Standard heights for drycontainers are 8 feet 6 inches. Dry containers are also manufactured withextended heights of 9 feet 6 inches, and are referred to as high cube containers.
The ISO Shipping Container Industry It is estimated that the global container population is approaching 16m TEU, with a projected rate of growth of 8.5% per year for the next 10 years, and there are approximately 2.5+m TEU empty boxes currently sitting idle in yards and depots around the world.ISO containers are manufactured in standard sizes with the reference size aTwenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU). A container of 1 TEU measures 20 feet inlength. The length the most common container is the 40 footer, which carries onaverage about 22 tons of cargo.Each year, about 1.5 million TEU worth of containers are manufactured. Theglobal inventory of containers was estimated to be around 15.9 million TEU by2002, of which 15.1 million were maritime containers. A standard 20 footercontainer costs about $2,000 and a 40 footer about $4,000.
The ISO Shipping Container Industry According to a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection study of Brownfields, “Container mountains” have become a prominent feature of the port district skyline. These are the stacks of hundreds of empty containers, up to seven high, which have been created on large swaths of land near the port. This study estimates that 400 acres are now devoted to long-term storage of containers. Due to the imbalance of trade associated with China, in particular, the largest manufacturer of ISO containers, a significant number of containers do not make the return leg to China, thus end up being stacked within our port cities. While the average useful life of a container for shipping purposes is approximately 13 years, a significant number of old, broken, and obsolete containers are scrapped at the end of their useful life, about 300,000 to 500,000 containers experience an afterlife. A portion of these containers are converted into storage space, offices and homes.
Technology: Containers as housing There are several architect/designers, throughout the world, including LOT-EK, have innovated the use of this technology for housing. The containers, made of steel or aluminum, are designed to support extreme loads. They may be assembled in a variety of configurations, like building blocks, meeting specific site or community requirements. They can provide secure space, support second floors and roofs, bridge uneven grades and generally establish the structural foundations for a successful building at costs well below conventional construction. They also allow for the use of unskilled or semi-skilled labor for build-out. Heretofore, most container habitat development activity has been as one-off prefab/modular projects for individual architectural clients.
Why Use Shipping Containers as Housing vs. Traditional Construction Technologies? A need for innovation in building materials and methodsA Material Perspective – Containers offer several specific benefits: availability [container units are ubiquitous] economy [retired container units can be had for little or nothing] malleability [can be modified in ways only limited by creativity] durability [container units are virtually indestructible, and a far more durable than standard building materials] portability [can be moved, carted and easily stored until needed] modularity/stackable [can configured in any number of ways] reusable [container units are imminently recyclable] transformable [2-3 units is all it takes to create a very suitable home]
Why Shipping Containers? A Construction Perspective – Low Structural Cost - High Strength: Shipping containers offer tremendous structural strength for a fraction of the cost of traditional timber steel and concrete constructions. Because all the strength is contained in the structural elements themselves, foundation design is simpler and less expensive. Small Footprint - Large Living Area: This construction technique is ideal for single, as well as, multifamily dwellings, offering a large usable area in a small footprint.
Why Shipping Containers? Short Construction Time: ZipHouse™ can be delivered, from order to finished product, within approximately 90 days [the requested finishing and availability of components and materials will adjust the range]. Refrabrication: Once the containers are in place, they provide the foundation and framework for the bulk of the construction. The rest of the work can be tailored to make best use of local methods and procedures – whether all prefabricated and just assembled in the field, or built conventionally on site. Because the ZipHouse™ is a loose modular system, no effort is wasted in trying to make pieces fit together in the field that work better in a controlled environment of the factory.
Project overview• PHASE I: Construct a prototype/model of ZipHouse™ based on the LOT-EKContainer Home Kit (CHK) design, in an area of the city designated suitablefor 6-8 homes. This model will make use of a total of eight 40’ containers –stacked 4 over 4, with a cut-away for an atrium, yielding approximately2000 sq.ft.• PHASE II: Construct a series of eight to ten, detached single-familyZipHouse™ homes using anywhere from two to eight containers each, within a6 month window.
TargetWe have identified two primary residential user targets:Live/work space for dual use applications: The growth of live/work dual-use properties in some countries, like the UK for example, has closely followedthe growth in home working. Typically live/work accommodations are forthose who need more than a room in a house in order to work from home. Thiscan either be because of the nature of the business (e.g. textile design,photography, web design), or because the business proprietor usesstaff/associates and finds a normal home inappropriate for this use.
Live/work space • In urban areas, live/work users are predominantly single people. • Anecdotal evidence suggests that those needing larger premises for family reasons usually move on, rather than stop using the unit for work. • There are also many examples of live/workers wanting to use their unit for work only, finding a home to live in elsewhere, once their business is better established. • In urban settings, live/work is usually a transitional arrangement. • The best schemes retain live/work functions for future owners/tenants once the first group has moved on.
Live/work spaceGenerally, city planners appear to support the concept of live/work, because itis in line with the idea of transport reduction and because it offers a way ofregenerating run down commercial or industrial areas, while providing orretaining economic activity rather than creating purely residential areas. Theresidential element anchors a service economy while business use supports/growsthe local economy. In many cases a distinctive sense of community also results.
Live/work spaceAn current example is in Jersey City – the Warehouse Historic District (now knownas WALDO) consists of eight blocks located between the City’s boomingWaterfront Financial District and the Historic Downtown residential district.In 1996, the Planning Board and the City Council passed a Warehouse Districtordinance that stated in part:To establish an artists’ settlement in the warehouse district in Downtown, where artists maywork and live in the same space, and where the arts can flourish and serve to unite the newneighborhoods of the waterfront with the established, historic neighborhoods surrounding theWALDO district. This district will also serve to provide a cultural center for the City of JerseyCity, and will contain a mix of uses to provide a lively street presence of shops, art galleries,performance space and restaurants.
TargetYoung urban professionals: Newark, is transitioning through the declinestage of the neighborhood life cycle, being experienced by most Americancities and is entering the revitalization stage, which is marked by the attractionof new, young and upwardly mobile professionals back to the urban core.
LocationThis technology can easily be adapted to industrial areas of the city. To thatend, ComLoc has identified several possible neighborhoods within the City ofNewark’s redevelopment plan, for the location of the proposed developmentproject: • South Broad Street Stagnant industrial areas in • North Broadway need of development • Lower Roseville • Riverfront East Urban Professional area • Lincoln Park Arts Corridor Live/Work areas • University Heights Science Park
DesignLOT-EK has innovated trendy & economical designs, that are good executionsof exploiting the beauty of basic, commoditized, industrial materials.Economies are found in the recycling of the structural material, non-conventionalconstruction, by not adding exterior facings, and limiting the range of options.The design used for the ZipHouse™ is the Container Home Kit (CHK), whereconsumer has the benefit of affordability and great design without sacrificingquality.
ZipHouse™ - Container Home Kit (CHK) DesignThe ZipHouse™ uses the Container Home Kit (CHK) design which combinesmultiple shipping containers to build unique homes. Conceived as a kit of parts,the basic unit, a 40-foot-long shipping container, is transformed into anexpandable module. Sections of its corrugated metal walls can be cut outwithout compromising its structural integrity. The resulting openings can be usedto join containers side by side to make up larger spaces, or for verticalconnections.The ZipHouse™ will be available in two lines: Compact and Loft, inconfigurations that range from 2 to 4 bedrooms using 4 to 8 containers. Thehouses are positioned on site on 2 parallel strips of concrete that can also beused for pedestrian, as well as, car access through the lot.
ZipHouse™ - Container Home Kit Design A modular construction/building system, like that used for the ZipHouse™ can result in customer prices starting at approximately $90/sqft.* Further, customers can set the price/cost of these homes depending on materials, appointments, fixtures and finishes. * not including land acquisition costs
ZipHouse™ - Container Home Kit (CHK) Design: Compact ZipHouse™ - Container Home Kit (CHK) Design
ZipHouse™ - Container Home Kit (CHK) Design: Loft ZipHouse™ - Container Home Kit (CHK) Design
ProcessThe process for the construction of the ZipHouse™ prototype/model willemploy some of the advantages of pre-fabrication and modular buildingversus the standards of on-site building.With the use of pre-fabricated containers as both structure and shell, weeliminate the need for framing and the installation of exterior walls. Withthe manipulation of these boxes, as building blocks, we’re able to come upwith an array of configurations.Once the pre-fabricated (retrofitting/reinforcing) boxes arrive at thelocation, the process of assembly, connections/installation, and finishing canbe done on-site.Our suggestion, especially for Phase II, is that a pre-fabrication operation,as well as the other associated on-site operations make use of locallytrained and employed labor. We believe that this will have a decidedimpact on the community’s acceptance of this product and technology.
ProcessIt’s ComLoc’s intention to employ leading-edge green building practices, asimplemented in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)Green Building Rating System in it’s design and construction of theZipHouse™.Further, ComLoc will look to use technologies that will allow for theZipHouse™ to make use of self-contained energy sourcing, including PV andpassive solar panels and coatings, as well as, vertical axis wind turbines.
Process Fast-track Design & Box Logistics & Site PrepConceptual Plan Fabrication Transportation 20 days 45 days 30 daysAssembly & System Finishing & InspectionInstallation Connections Sealing & Evaluation 7 days 7 days 7-10 days 2 days 30 days (eval)
How Can Newark Help? Identify specific sites w/in target districts. Provide city-owned site(s) for demonstration. Create encouraging regulatory framework & guidelines. Facilitate the process by providing priority processing of approvals & permits. Facilitate the dissemination of information. Aid in identifying environmental impact and mitigation measures. Assistance in land acquisition and assembly [Phase II].
Capacity Why the team of ComLoc and LOT-Ek?1. Over 20 years of experience in business management, project management, marketing management and securing corporate sponsorships and underwriting.2. Extensive architectural design and engineering experience.3. Leader in container building design innovation for over 13 years.4. Dedication and commitment to affordable housing and sustainable development.
CollaborationsIn addition to our work with the City of Newark, we will look to createcollaborations with the following : New Jersey Institute of Technology’s – Department of Civil andEnvironmental Engineering & School of Architecture New Jersey’s Department of Consumer Affairs – Office of SmartGrowth Rutgers – Newark New Jersey Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH)
Rationale Address city’s need to continue to develop as a dynamic urban center,as well as, improve neighborhoods through sustainable and eco-friendlydevelopment Need for quality, affordable live/work housing Need to lure young professionals back to urban core with unique &trendy design executions Need to address the stockpiling of excess shipping containers Implement current advancements in product design, materiel, andbuilding/construction techniques, adjusting the impact of cost, quality andsustainability. Newark can be a magnet for planners, developers, architects andengineers from throughout the world evaluating the viability of thistechnology.
Next Steps City Planning concept approvals Site acquisition Project refinements Develop budget & schedule Explore financing options Establish collaborations