Archive for the ‘Container Conversions’ Category

Shipping Containers Reintroduce Bison To Banff National Park

On February 1, 2017, Parks Canada announced that bison were successfully transferred into Banff National Park after over 100 years of bison absence from the park. Parks Canada says, “The goal of this reintroduction is to restore a wild, free-roaming bison population to Banff National Park in a way that supports ecosystem integrity, enriches visitor experience, renews cultural connections, and enhances learning and stewardship opportunities.” Due to extreme overhunting, Banff National Park has not had bison roam the lands since 1885. In order to restore the species, Parks Canada will closely monitor the bison initially to ensure a smooth transition before letting them roam freely throughout the entire park.


For the important transfer of the bison to Banff National Park, Parks Canada chose to use shipping containers. Shipping containers are very effective for the Banff bison transfer process because of their cost efficiency, movability, durability, and ability to be customized. The shipping containers were customized in order to ensure safe and easy transport of the bison. Storage containers are an excellent choice for shipment of any item and can be altered to accommodate animals such as bison. Built for traveling across oceans, shipping containers can easily handle the trip from Elk Island National Park to Banff National Park.


The Bison Relocation Process:

  1. Parks Canada chose 16 healthy bison from Elk Island National Park.
  2. The bison were loaded into shipping containers, custom modified to safely transport bison. They were transported overnight by truck near the border of Banff National Park.
  3. The bison remained in the containers overnight where they were closely monitored by Parks Canada staff.
  4. The shipping containers were airlifted by helicopter to an enclosed pasture in Banff’s Panther Valley. Once released in the pasture, Parks Canada staff will continue to monitor the health of the herd and ensure the new arrivals have access to food and water.
  5. The bison will be kept in the soft release pasture for approximately 16 months before being released in 2018 to roam freely in the reintroduction zone within Banff National Park.

Container Conversions: Modifications

cutting-and-framing-4Cutting a piece out of your shipping container is necessary if you plan on creating a passage between the containers or you plan on adding windows and/or door openings to the container walls. There are many ways to cut through container steel, including a plasma cutter, cutting torch, grinder, and a jig saw (for small openings). If you have no experience cutting steel or welding, the best route to go would be to hire a welder. Before removing any structural components, it is vital to secure reinforcements because when you start cutting containers up, they become weakened. Cutting a shipping container or removing panels causes the structural integrity to be compromised. As a general rule, whenever you remove parts of the panelized corrugation, steel framing will be necessary to frame out the opening. In addition, column and roof support may be required depending on the size of the opening and roof/wind loads. Be sure to review with a structural engineer or architect.

Container Alliance has extensive experience in basic container modifications and can cater to essentially any need that might come up with regards to cargo container conversions. We specialize in preparing containers for various applications that involve the cutting of container sections in order to join them together with others. We have removed entire sidewalls, portions of sidewalls, floors, and ceilings.

Doors and Windows


Container Alliance can cater to essentially any need that might come up with regards to custom shipping containers. We have qualified modification experts that can source anything you need to meet your specific requirements. An experienced fabricator and welder use a welding gun to cut doors and windows into the steel side. Windows can range from a small porthole to a fully glazed window wall that can be opened to create access to the entire side of the container. If your modified shipping container is being used as a business, it might be a good idea to add sliding hatch or a sliding steel door.

Container Alliance steel sliding doors were created as an alternative to roll up doors when full size wall height is needed and can be installed on either side of the container. Another great thing about this door is that it is virtually invisible when the container is shut and can be locked from the inside, making it very safe and secure. These doors are very heavy and industrial, perfect for workshop applications, mobile product display or “pop up” store fronts. The commercial lightweight door is cost effective, secure and durable, and can be installed on either side or front-end wall of the container. You have the option of having the door open outward or inward with hinges on either side. All openings for doors and windows should be reinforced by steel framing. If you are converting a container into a home, french doors are another option. Skylights are another great way to bring in natural light without running electrical or mounting lights inside your container. Modify your shipping container with domed, flat, or vented skylights, as well as custom sized skylights from Container Alliance.




The wooden floors of shipping containers are usually treated with pesticides, so it is necessary to either replace them or create a physical barrier with epoxy resin and optionally build a new plywood subfloor on the top of them. When modifying shipping containers, most people replace the flooring rather than just cover it up, but sealing the floor with polyurethane or epoxy paint is a good idea as well. Most importantly, be very careful if you decide on sanding the floor. Sanding can release trapped fumigants and the exposure could be dangerous. You can find out the history of your container on the data plate. The data plate reveals what the floors had been treated with previously. The chemicals used to treat the plywood floors can potentially be harming to the health of humans, so replacing the floors might not be a choice if you are planning to live in your container or conduct business on a regular basis. Why is the vapor pressure important?  It’s easy to trap the contaminated floors of a shipping container to prevent physical contact, but it’s very difficult to block their vapors if present and their subsequent inhalation.


Before applying the epoxy, it is a good idea to wash the floors with isopropyl alcohol to remove any surface chemicals or oils that would prevent the epoxy from penetrating and sticking to the wood. Make sure you have a well-ventilated area because the alcohol vapors can be potent. The epoxy should be both a physical and vapor barrier to the chemicals. An optional subfloor can be added to provide additional barrier to the treated chemicals. If you are building a separate subfloor in your cargo container conversion, make sure you seal the existing treated wood with solvent-free epoxy resin using a paint roller. You can then build a subfloor on top of this if desired. Another interesting option I have seen in cargo container conversions is to pour a concrete floor inside the containers on top of the plywood. It could even be the finish floor with some dyes and/or patterning added.

Alternative Flooring

traditional-bamboo-flooringBamboo Floors– Unfortunately, the tropical wood used in containers is becoming scarce and in danger of running out. It takes about 50-60 years to replace one cut down tree. Bamboo is now being used as an alternative to plywood by select suppliers to make shipping container floors to help decrease the environmental damage. Bamboo is biodegradable and has the ability to grow rapidly. As bamboo grows, its grass naturally fights off pesticides and other harmful chemical

Steel-Overlay-FloorSteel– Steel is one the most recyclable products in the world and last a relatively long time before it needs replacement. Steel is durable and a sustainable flooring solution. Steel is resistant to rust, wear and tear caused by heavy use, as well as corrosive environments.

Carpet– Carpet will provide an added protective layer that will feel good in between your toes. Carpet tiles are perfect to cover the traditional hardwood flooring instead acting as a replacement option. Carpet tiles come in a variety of sizes and styles and can be installed in odd shaped floor spaces. They can be installed in small areas and in many different ways. Carpet tiles are flexible, affordable, and a practical alternative to container flooring.

Vinyl–  Vinyl flooring can last anywhere from 10-20 years. Vinyl is resistant to scratches and stains. It is easy to clean and resistant to rust, oil, and water. Vinyl makes your living space easy to maintain by sweeping on a regular basis and  occasionally mop when necessary.

Linoleum– This is one of the most eco-friendly alternatives and is naturally antibacterial and biodegradable. Linoleum floors can last up to 40 years with regular maintenance and care.

At Container Alliance, we have found that many customers prefer a different flooring material. We have various flooring options including our standard options: steel overlay, vinyl flooring, Rhino lining®, or rubber flooring. Call us today to discuss these various flooring options for your modified shipping container.

Cleaning, Sanding, and Painting


Make sure to remove any dirt, dust, or other forms of detritus

Wash the container. Use a pressure washer or high- powered spray brush and completely clean the inside and outside of the container

Inspect the inside and outside of the container for any rust or corrosion.

After the container is dry, go over the container with medium grit sandpaper.

Apply a primer coat of paint

When primer is dry, apply a thick, exterior paint.


Applying the paint by using an industrial paint sprayer can make the job fast and easy. However, if you cannot get one, rolling the paint will work just as well. There are direct to metal and oil-based paints that will fit your needs. One of the most recommended is an industrial, alkyd enamel. You will probably need to give the container at least two coats of paint. Painting the floors can help seal it off and prevent both water damage and the idea of fumes. Any outdoor paint will work, we recommend Behr Porch and Patio paint. This type of paint is designed to be walked on and withstand the weather of all four seasons. Treating any rusted areas with vinegar and repainting the container with DTM paint will help the unit withstand weather, and a thick coat of porch and patio paint on the flooring will help to prevent the floor from rotting or releasing fumes.

Painting at Container Alliance

custom-paint-greyAt Container Alliance, we take pride in the modification work that we do. The most common type of general alteration of an ISO unit is refurbishment and painting. Starting with used or new containers, our refurb/paint process is not just cosmetic; we spend time in the preparation of the unit prior to applying any coating. This includes pressure washing to remove any dirt or dust, grinding down surface issues and straightening out any blemishes or dings. From there, we primer any steel that we may have exposed in an effort to preserve the life of the container. Next, we tape off the rubber seals around the cargo doors for longevity, but keeping in mind the aesthetic of the unit as well. Finally, we spray with direct to metal water-based paint. The finished product is a high quality freshly painted container. We can also apply specialty roof coatings customizable to your specific application.

Fixtures, Electrical, Plumbing

Framing the inside of your container is optional. However, framing and drywall give the interior a more natural feel and can aid with the insulation. At this point, you should be adding any exterior doors, as well as any skylights and flashing required to weatherproof the structure. Now, it is time to install plumbing, electrical, and heating systems. Contact a trained specialist if you are not familiar with setting up these systems. If you are installing electrical, plumbing, and a heating system yourself, it important to plan and mark where everything is going to go. Where are your switches, outlets, and lights going to go? Where are the appliances going to placed? Where is the fuse box going to be placed? Ask yourself these questions and create an electrical layout. If you are concerned about security or live in a remote area, do not install an electrical outlet on the outside of your home.electrical-2-of-2

Electrical at Container Alliance

We can do electrical packages for any size container. We do offer standard packages and can add or subtract from the package. Of course, as with anything in our custom shop, we can accommodate anything outside our standard configurations, just give us a call and we will take care of the rest!


Insulating your container especially in cold climates is necessary, so that condensation does not easily form on the interior steel walls. This could result in future problems such as corrosion and mold. Insulating the walls can be done on the inside or outside or both, just as long as it is insulated. Insulating the outside of the container creates a more conventional look to your structure and allows you to use the full space of the container. Insulating the inside of your container gives the outside a more rugged look because of the steel exterior with a more conventional interior. Spray form may be the most expensive, but the benefits outweigh the financial costs. Polyurethane foam for the interior and ceramic insulation paint for the exterior, work well together. A minimum of a two inch foam layer creates structural support and stops the condensation from building up. Applying a foam layer to the interior and exterior walls will create protective barrier against the heat, cold, and moisture. For hot climates, reflective paint on the exterior will help reflect the sun’s UV rays and prevent heat from being captured. The paint also helps to obstruct mold, mildew, and rust from forming on the container. Steel or wood studs are used with the spray foam to secure drywall. Incorporating a thermal break insulation1between the studs and container walls will help the heat stay in. Drywall will give the interior a more traditional feel and will add insulation. 

Types of Insulation:



Ecological insulation, such as egg cartons, etc.

insulated-container-2-of-2Insulating at Container Alliance

Our insulation packages are always very high quality. There are many different types of insulating products that are available, from glue-on panel systems to insulating paint. Our standard insulation is done with R-13 value fiberglass surrounded by wood studs, and finished with plywood and drywall or particle ply. Always ask a sales rep about what you need, and we can work with your custom requirements.


Managing airflow and ventilation in your modified shipping container is equally as important as insulating your container. Be aware, due to the size of containers, any ventilation problem is enhanced. Without providing proper and effective ventilation, serious problems will occur in the future. Shipping containers are meant to be air tight  because they are used to ship goods around the world in various weather conditions. Here are four venting options to manage the airflow and temperature in your container:

Pre-installed container vents. Containers already have passive vents installed in them. They allow for pressure changes when the weather quickly changes and have a screen to prevent insects from getting in. However, they do not promote airflow through the container.vents-1-of-5

Louvered vents. Louvered vents are added to create more airflow and helps to cool the container. They also help fight against too much moisture from building up. It is a good idea to install them on opposite ends to help promote as much airflow as possible. 

Turbine vents. Turbine vents will help if you are having moisture problems by moving the moist air up and bringing the less moist air down. The vent will turn and then pull moisture up and out. However,vents-4-of-5 turbine vents can also allow moisture back in.

Heat/ AC units. If you are more interested in the temperature in the air, a heat/ac unit will do the trick. These units can ensure that your container will be toasty in the cold and snowy winters, but keep cool in the hot and humid summers.


Container Conversions: Buying Containers and Logistics

This is where Container Alliance comes in! Container Alliance is your source for shipping containers, office solutions, custom containers and portable storage containers for sale or rent to suit thousands of uses. We have decades of experience sourcing the right containers for your needs. Choose from a wide variety of shipping container specifications and sizes, conditions and configurations in the industry. Regardless of your intended use, we have what you need at the price points you are looking for. We offer new and used containers customized to your application. We offer the largest network of container providers in the nation! Now is time to create a plan and layout for your container building. Look no further than Container Alliance for shipping containers for your new home or business.

ISO (International Standards Organization) Containers– The most common containers throughout the world. They are used for dry shipping by truck, train, or boat. ISO containers are available in like new “one trip” condition or refurbished. Sizes: 10ft- 45ft High Cube

20 ft container rental

One-trip– One-trip containers are manufactured overseas; mainly in Asia and are shipped with a single container cargo load. Once the container reaches its destination they are often available for sale. These containers are an excellent choice because they have not spent time deteriorating on the ocean or in a container depot / terminals. Most consider these containers and often refer to them as “new” or in “like new” condition. Keep in mind that these containers have made one trip across the ocean and have been handled by container lifts and trucks so they often have a few scratches and a possible ding or two. One trip containers are available worldwide in most port locations. I would strongly consider choosing a one trip container if you do not want to deal with maintenance and esthetics of used containers.

45-cargo-worthy-2-of-3Cargo Worthy Containers–  Cargo worthy containers must be surveyed or certified by a licensed surveyor. Regardless if you plan to ship your container or not, a surveyed container will insure that you will not receive a damaged unit. If your needs require shipping a container you must select a surveyed cargo worthy container. Inspection of cargo worthy containers is based on condition of the doors, floor, walls and ceiling. Structural integrity is also a major factor when it comes to certification of standard shipping containers.

as-is-container1As Is– “AS IS” Containers are the cheapest option when buying a shipping or storage container. “AS IS” units are used as shipping containers for years then retired by shipping or leasing companies. This condition may alert the buyer that the container might have some damage. It is possible that the container may have heavy corrosion in areas and there is no guarantee it is weatherproof. You must understand that mot used containers have surface rust where they are scratched and are often labeled by the shipping label in various colors.

Wind/Water Tight–  WWT means that the container is in good enough
conditions to protect cargo from the elements. Dry and suitable fo40ft-Container-wwt-2-of-4r storage.

Storage Grade– The container is no longer in good enough condition to be used for shipping but are still relatively secure, watertight, and reasonably waterproof. These containers will usually have a significant amount of wear and tear.20ft-IICL-container

IICL-5 (Institute of International Container Lessors rating)
– This means that the container conforms to the international leasing inspection and repair standard. The container should be in excellent condition.

CSC Plate–  A CSC plate is a safety approval pcargo-care-2late, a container’s “passport.” The CSC plate is evidence of the container is structurally sound for international transportation. It means that the container is free of holes and cracks, that its doors open and shut correctly, and it is watertight and dry.

Logistics and Site Preparation

Transporting shipping containers is the easy part, but positioning them where you need them on a site can prove to be quite difficult and problematic. If you are stacking containers or the site is down a narrow area or in a built-up area, most likely you will need to use a crane to get the container properly placed. At this stage of the project, make sure you are meeting safety and competency standards.

Site Preparation typically involve the following steps:
Initial assessment to find out if site survey is necessary.
Survey the site if necessary and plan out the delivery of the shipping container. Figure out the position and confirm if the crane being used can manage the load.

Contact authorities if the project interferes or public areas are affected by the work. For example, if the installation is going to interfere with electrical power lines or if roads are going to need to be temporarily shut down. Make sure road conditions are discussed in advance.
A clear plan and risk assessment for the site should be arranged, giving clear instruction on exactly what will be positioned on the site, when it will take place, and whether ground bearings are enough to bear the load that is laid on them.

Coordinate and plan where the container is going to be placed in advance. Make sure the driver is aware of where the container is going to be positioned so that he/she has a general idea and can come prepared with the required equipment. Also, let the driver know in advance which direction the container should be loaded, doors facing the cab or to the rear. If the doors are facing the driver’s cab, the doors will touch the ground last. If the doors are facing the rear, the doors will touch the ground first. This is vital because it will affect the direction of the container when it is unloaded onto your site.

Make sure that your site for the shipping container is clear of any wire, trees, plants, or anything that could potentially get in the way of the truck. There should be extra space around the area you plan to place your container since the truck driver will need the space to unload the container and back out. These trucks are heavy and can cause damage to your landscaping if there is not a designated area for an easy entrance and exit route.

Delivery at Container Alliance

We have several delivery vehicles and transportation partners that are committed to making sure your portable storage container is delivered quickly, safely and without headaches. It is important for you to understand what can cause issues and what type of preparation is necessary prior to delivery. We are here to help and if there is anything that can be done to get you a container delivered we will do it.  At additional expense we can facilitate the rental of a crane, forklift, or even use casters (wheels) to reposition the container once they are off the truck.  Call us today and we can walk you through your delivery options.

Delivery Vehicle Types:

20’ Tilt bed individual delivery- This is our most maneuverable truck which is used to deliver containers that are 20’ in length and smaller.

40’ Tilt bed individual delivery-  The 40’ tilt bed trailer is hauled with a small cab tractor that has an overall length of about 50ft. This vehicle is capable of offloading itself and hauls containers from 25ft to 45ft in length and includes high cube containers as well.

40’ Flatbed delivery-  By far the 40ft flatbed delivery is much cheaper then tilt bed deliveries. Flatbed trucks can be brokered one way through our network of flatbed carriers. These flatbed trucks must be offloaded with a forklift or crane.

60’ Step-deck delivery- If you have a way to offload and are buying multiple containers we can bring your 3 x 20’ units or 1 x 20’ and 1 x 40’ container on a 60’ step-deck truck. Once again you must offload the containers with a crane or forklift.

Space Requirements:

Containers are typically delivered with a tilt-bed roll off truck. The driver tilts the bed up, and the container touches the ground. The driver then drives out from under the container. The delivery site needs to allow for 15’ of overhead clearance to accommodate the container on top of the tilt bed truck or trailer. To get out from under the container the driver needs at least the length of the container and the tilt bed truck, in a straight line.

20’ individual delivery- 9.5ft of width ,15ft of height and about 60ft in a straight line in order to offload the container

40’ individual delivery-9.5ft of width, 16ft of height and about 100ft in a straight line.

40ft flatbed and 60ft step-deck delivery- Enough room for full size tractor trailer and room to turn


The container should be placed on a surface that is fairly level, smooth, and has strong ground. These containers are very heavy and can not be moved without requesting another truck driver. DO NOT place a container in an area that is vulnerable to flooding because the container won’t sink into the ground. Proper foundations include, pavement, cement, gravel, hard grass, and dirt. Another good option if these types of foundations are not available is to use blocks of concrete to support the container. When placing concrete blocks under all four corners, the container will be elevated and you will avoid the probability of your container sinking into the ground. Another option is a container chassis, they hold the container evenly when they are off the ground.

Any permanent structure requires foundations to settle on. Wooden or concrete supports are just a few options. For, a multi-container structure, a whole basement might be necessary. It is best to consult with a structural engineer to find out what kind of foundation your design requires. If you are using a poured concrete foundation, it’s best to plan on embedding steel plates into the concrete where the containers will be placed, allowing them to be welded straight onto the foundation for extra stability. With multi-container structures, containers should also be welded to one another. Make sure to add reinforcement before any structural components are removed.

The most common types of foundations are:
Concrete slabs
Concrete footings
Wooden beam footings

Contact Container Alliance if you have any further questions regarding the various container types, logistics and site preparation, and delivery options. We are happy to answer any general questions and concerns you may have about portable storage containers for sale or rent. Let us help you plan, design, and create your container conversion vision!

Container Conversions: Design and Planning Process

Find a designer or architect to work closely with on your shipping container conversion. They will help you perfect your building plans and make your vision come to life. The majority of architects use computer-aided design (CAD) to create a rendering of the final product. This will give you a good idea of what you need to expect before the work begins. In this stage of the process, you should make changes and modifications to the design and experiment with new ideas. You should have an idea of how you want to build your custom shipping container structure before you buy any containers. Ask yourself questions like, how much space do I want or need? Is this floor plan functional? Do research on the internet and make sure to plan out the process. Planning and preparation are vital to a successful shipping container conversion project, so that you can minimize the problems that arise.

If you are designing the floor plan yourself, a great tool and resource to work with is Google SketchUp and Google 3D Warehouse. You can also find inspiration and ideas on blogs and websites such as Pinterest, Inhabitat, and Treehugger. When you are designing the floor plan of your custom shipping containers, make sure that you are taking into account all of the functional elements such as insulation, space, windows, sunlight, elevations, and utilities. Once you are satisfied with the building envelope, it is time to move on to the next stage.

Three main plans:

Structural Layout– windows, doors, kitchen, and bathroom
Electrical Layout– the flow of all receiving electricity, location of outlets, switches, and the fuse box
Water Layout– incoming and outgoing water into the container. Including bathroom, toilet, shower, sink, and kitchen sink.

Planning Permission/Building Requirements

Contact local building authority or visit their website to find out an overview of any documents and drawings that need to be submitted and find out the time frame they plan to work with. Every state, county, and city have separate sets of rules and regulations. Their website is a great source to find out any general information on the building process. The earlier the better to start the planning process!

When turning a shipping container into a single-family home or any habitable structure, the containers themselves, their connections, and the overall design of the building must meet building requirements of the update building code of your state, city and/or county. Since there is a gray area because the building code usually does not have specific provisions for shipping containers, it may be a challenge to justify their construction in your proposed plans. Depending on your city, you may have to request an approval for using alternate materials and methods of construction. Various regulations on the climate, fire, installations, electrical, etc, are all different. For larger homes and structures, you may need a building permit that is approved by a city council. Do not forget to check in with your insurance to make sure you can even build your container home.


Los Angeles:

Regarding “green” construction, the County of Los Angeles encourages sustainable building and has recently implemented its Green Building Ordinance. New single-family construction falls into this ordinance in a number of fashions, including recycling demolition debris and limiting irrigation water waste. Going above and beyond these requirements is certainly allowed, but just as the shipping containers, you will need to comply with all aspects of the Los Angeles County Building, Mechanical, Plumbing, and Electrical Codes.


San Diego:


For more information, please contact your local Building and Safety Office and speak with a building plan check engineer. They will be able to assist you with site specific questions.

Introduction to Shipping Container Conversions

PortsAre you thinking about using shipping containers for your next project? Debating on building a home or business out of shipping containers? People are drawn to the idea of having a unique design at an affordable price. Not to mention, the flexibility and mobility of purchasing a shipping container. Shipping containers are built to be strong and durable, alongside affordable, it is no wonder people are gravitating towards the idea of building with shipping containers. Another benefit of building with shipping containers is the speed of construction, once permits are obtained, shipping container structures can be put up in a matter of days or weeks, instead of months. The affordability of building with shipping containers allows businesses to expand quicker and continue to grow. Being able to own your structure, gives you the flexibility to move to a new location if necessary. The energy and resources necessary to build shipping container structures is only a fraction of what is required for conventional building techniques. Instead of losing your entire business, your equity is in your shipping container. Shipping containers are stackable like Legos and can be easily transported by ship, train, or truck. Shipping containers are even suitable for earthquake areas of seismic rating of up to the California standards and are resistant to many of the problems that torment traditional wood-frame homes such as fire, mold, leaks, and wood eating insects.

Since shipping containers are used around the world by the shipping industry, using them for homes and business is an eco-friendly alternative and in the end will help out the planet as well. Reducing the waste and being able to reuse materials has gained more prominence in the construction industry. It is estimated that it takes approximately two acres of trees to construct the average American home. Their sustainability and eco-friendliness provide a great alternative to help in the fight against deforestation of our land. Building with shipping containers helps provide an environmental friendly alternative at a low cost.

The design of shipping container conversions can sometimes be more functional than appealing to the eye, making the aesthetics of shipping containers not for everyone. However, many outside-the-box thinkers and designers can create elegant and aesthetically pleasing structures. Not all shipping container conversions are eye sores. As the popularity for shipping containers is continuing to rise and expand, we are seeing more innovative designs. Designers are starting to experiment and create dynamic and bold designs. As the world evolves so does the shipping container industry. Shipping containers are blank canvases and the sky’s the limit on how you can use them.