The versatility of storage containers is staggering. When it comes to procuring extra storage space on a temporary or permanent basis, nothing is more versatile than a reinforced storage container. When you want a semi-permanent workspace without having to shell out on a new build, storage containers provide the ideal solution. No matter what you’re storing or what kind of space you want to create, storage containers can be modified to meet your needs. The cost and reliability of storage containers makes them a convenient and quick way to resolve a number of space utilisation issues.
Steel Storage Container Basics
Storage containers are new or used steel shipping containers of the type you see at container ports. As a result they come in standard sizes set by the ISO. They are 8 feet wide as standard, 8 feet 6 inches high and either 8, 10, 20, 30 or 40 feet long. ‘High cube’ containers with an extra foot of head room are also available. They have double doors at one or both ends, or in the middle, with multi-bar locking systems. Containers weigh between 900 and 5,000 kilos.
Various modifications and adaptations are available for storing a variety of materials or providing temporary or permanent workspaces:
- Ventilation, moisture traps or anti-condensation coatings provide protection for moisture sensitive goods
- Lining and insulation allow for conversion into offices, workshops, tack rooms or even pony stables
- Lighting and power points
- Padlocks and lockboxes to protect contents from theft or vandalism
- Refrigerated containers can maintain temperatures from -20C to +20C to store and transport perishable or frozen goods. Temperatures can be set by digital controls and recorded over the duration of a journey.
- Curtain sided or open top containers can be used to store or transport bulky goods
- Chemical stores are fitted with sumps or bunds to prevent chemical spills, cross air-flow ventilation and anti-slip and anti-spark coatings. For temperature sensitive chemicals, refrigerated containers can be converted for chemical storage
- Stairs for stacking containers one on top of the other. Only containers of equal length can be stacked as the load supporting steel is found at the ends only
- Custom paintwork allows for containers which blend in with their environment or which are adorned with a company logo.
Storage Container Conversions
By adding insulation, lighting, power and plumbing, interior walls, windows and doors, steel shipping containers can be converted for use as a number of work or accommodation spaces. Containers can find second lives as:
- Offices: Combine one or more containers for extra workspace. Internal dividers can be used to combine office and storage in one unit or combine several units for larger offices
- Clubhouses for sports or social clubs
- Construction site accommodation: A low cost housing solution for long projects
- Toilet and shower blocks provide facilities which meet health and safety regulations for dirty work sites or sports facilities
- Smoking shelters: Be nice to your smoking staff or customers by providing shelter against the British weather with seating, cigarette bins and even lighting
- Security gatehouses can be fitted with vandal proof doors and windows for extra security
- Tack rooms
- Pony stables
- Self-assembly storage containers can be provided as a flat-pack for when delivery of a normal container is impossible
The best thing about storage containers is that there are no limits to the modifications that can be performed. Many suppliers offer custom conversions to suit whatever application you have in mind for your container. In the case of offices, clubhouses and accommodation blocks, standard containers can be stacked and combined to create larger buildings which are much faster and cheaper to assemble than a similar building made from traditional materials.
Storage Containers for Shipping
You can also use containers for their original purpose: shipping goods abroad. For this you need a container with a valid CSC Safety Convention plate which certifies that the container is suitable and safe for shipping. Some suppliers will deliver your container, wait for you to load it and then take it to the port for you. 20ft containers are perfect for shipping cars and household effects when emigrating.
Paying for Your Storage Containers
Storage containers can be purchased new or used or they can be rented. Container prices vary with commodities prices and currency exchange rates and as a result are only worth gathering close to the time of purchase. Rental prices range from about £10 per week for a standard 8ft container to £30 per week for a converted 20ft container but rental agreements are normally subject to a minimum hire period or charge.
Container conversions make use of used containers with charges based on the amount of labour and extra materials required.
Choosing a Storage Container Supplier
When choosing a container to rent or buy you’ll want to consider the following factors:
- Delivery charges – The further away the container supplier is, the more they’ll charge for delivery. If you need a container lifted over a fence or wall then it will need to be delivered on a Hiab which may cost more.
- Collection charges – Renting a container may incur a collection charge at the end of the rental period.
- Container condition – If purchasing a used container ask to see photos before purchasing.
- Modification charges – Extra materials and labour will be required to modify a container so make sure these costs are broken down clearly.
When taking delivery of your container, if possible check for rust, sealant cracks or other problems that weren’t included in the container descriptions or photos before you accept delivery. Otherwise you could experience lengthy delays and negotiations while you wait for a replacement.
Steel shipping containers provide a flexible and readily available storage and workspace solution, as evidenced by their continued presence at construction sites, warehouses, yards, depots and sports clubs the globe over. Their sturdy construction means excellent reliability and longevity. If you think a storage container is the right solution for your storage, workspace or accommodation needs, we strongly recommend getting quotes from several suppliers to ensure you’re getting the right container at the right price.
This Buyer's Guide was written in partnership with Storage Containers Business Expert CS Shipping Containers.
About CS Shipping Containers: "CS Shipping Containers are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of steel shipping, storage and refrigerated containers. As well as supplying a range of containers for hire and sale we also specialise in container conversion. Some examples of our container conversions include workshops garages, chemical stores, smoking shelters and even observatories and recording studios."
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