About – Odpod Shipping Container House

What do you get when two Product Design Engineers design and build a house? A house made from shipping containers!

One of the aims of the project was to build a large contemporary luxury family home without the cost normally associated with such a house. After much research, preliminary designs and a trip to China, we decided to use shipping containers (Intermodal Freight Containers) as the major structural elements of the house.

So why use containers?

– Intermodal Freight Containers are designed to be stacked together (up to 10 high) so they can be quickly stacked together to form the frame of a house.

– Considered a waste product at the end of their life, they are relatively inexpensive ($2300 for a good condition second hand 40’ High Cube).

– Ideal for a bushfire prone area.

Please follow our progress and feel free to contact us for further information.


The Odpod Crew
Craig Artemiou and James Harris


18 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello guys
    I have been obsessed with building a shipping container home for about 6 months now . I already have 2x 20 footers set up for for my workshop . I am always interested in what other people are up to in this field . Especially the council approval side of things which have me a little worried in my area ( port stephens council ). renound for being hard to get along with.

    • Hi Rod, I’m thinking of moving to the Port Stephens area and possibly building in containers. What are the council like to deal with? Are permissions expensive? Where in the area are you? We are looking at Nelson Bay. Cheers, Niko

      • Hi Niko,

        The council here (Yarra Ranges) were fine. We would suggest speaking with the planning department before any serious plans are made to ensure that they will be happy with a container house in their shire. Planning permission was around $100.

        The Odpod Crew.

  2. Very cool what you guys are doing! When did you officially begin construction and what plans did you have prepared before starting? I’d like to write a brief article about your project on my blog, let me know if your interested!

    • Hi Diana

      The containers arrived in August 2013 and there was some earthworks going on before that to overcome the steep block. We would be more than happy for you to write about the project on your blog. There was a big list of items for the council, structural engineer and building surveyor, including:

      Architectural Plans
      -Site Plans
      -Floor plans
      -Section Views (cut away view through the walls)
      -window schedule

      Engineering plans
      -Steel member sizes
      -Connection methods

      -BAL Assessment (Bush fire Attack Level Assessment)
      -Soil Testing (to determine footing size)
      -6 Star energy efficiency rating
      -The legal point of discharge for storm water
      -Deposit of $1000 to local government for protection of assets
      -Building Permit from the Building Surveyor
      -Building Consent from the Local Council
      -Consent from the Building Commission to be an owner builder (since we are not registered builders)

      The Odpod Crew

  3. This is excellent – exactly what I’m looking for… people who are doing this in a bushfire-prone area in Australia!

    We have been planning & designing (& wasting money/time) trying to work out a way to economically and greenly extend on to our house in the Adelaide Hills. Nearly 2 years later, we’ve come to the conclusion that shipping containers may be the way to go – an affordable extension that will give us a thermally efficient space and will use recycled materials.

    Main issue: we have been rated in the highest bushfire-risk zone – Flame Zone. What BAL rating is your house in? Have you had issues with council/planning? Surely building with steel shipping containers in high bushfire risk areas would be welcomed by planners?

    Also – I have come across a few companies that offer to build you a well-performing container house (in 10 days or so) from shipping containers – just sounds too good to be true. Are there architects out there who design REASONABLY priced shipping containers houses/extensions? Is it recommended to get it properly designed? Hubby & I are handy but not that handy… & we have no time so need someone to design it & build it for us.

    Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge & experience – this project & its website/FB page are goldmines!

    • Hi Kathy

      Thanks for the feedback, we ended up with a BAL-29. There are lots of ways to comply with the Flame Zone Bushfire Attack Level. Shipping containers can definitely be incorporated into the design and the steel frame is considered a non combustible material. Every council is different, it’s a good idea to make an appointment and see them in person.

      The companies you’re talking about may be able to build a container house in 10 days on site, but that doesn’t include the time of manufacture off site. There are lots of good architects out there but not many with container experience. It is very important to have the construction properly designed for a multitude of factors including; safety, heating/cooling, cost savings, practicality, structural engineering and many more.

      To give you some guide a standard house will cost around AUD $1500 per square metre for construction. The BAL-Flame Zone will add cost. A regular builder will charge more again to use shipping containers since it is out of the ordinary (and often out of their comfort zone).

      The best way to save money on the build is to do as much as you can eg: tiling, painting, landscaping or labouring for the trades onsite. If you can project manage the build and the trades this is another good way to save on the construction.

      If you need any help feel free to ask lots of questions.

      The Odpod Crew (Craig and James)

    • Hi Kathy my partner and I are just looking at building a 2 storey container house in the Adelaide hills on a sloping site and came across this post
      is there anyway we could get in contact to share your experience in exploring and using containers for house builidng. in particular design, architects, Adelaide builders, adleaide hills council etc??
      many thanks and hoping to here form you

  4. Hey Guys.

    I just stumbled accross your site and I’m really interested in building a two story eco shipping container home. Currently I’m just looking at pricing and trying to figure out what council requirements there would be.

    I would be interested in a home that had 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, Two Living Areas, Open Plan Kitchen (with some kind of study nook), Dinning, Laundry and a Large Decking area. Would be Cool to have an extra storage area for just “stuff” as well. Air conditioning and Heating as well.

    I would want Solar Power, Solar Hot Water, Double Glazed Windows and Grey Water.. Also would like No or Lo VOC products used.

    Do you have any plans that would fit that description? Price estimation?

    let me know if there is anything else that you need to know! 🙂

    • Hi Rayner

      Every council is different, where are you located? The price will widely vary depending on your industry connections to buy materials at a good rate, the amount of labour you put in yourself and the standard of finish you are aiming for. The cost of an average family home can vary from $1200 per square metre to $2500 per square metre depending on finishes.

      A second hand 40ft high cube shipping container will cost around $3500 to $4000 delivered to site and if a crane is required it will cost around $3000 to $5000 depending on size.

      There are some other eco friendly building materials you might consider incorporating with the shipping containers for example:

      Hempcrete wall example

      Rammed Earth wall example

      Mud Brick wall example

      The Odpod Crew

  5. Hi Craig and James
    When our architect suggested two 40′ containers for the basement (guest accommodation) of our split level new home in Healesville I was wasn’t quite sure about containers until I found your website. Even better that you are in Healesville as it means there is a precedent with Shire of Yarra Ranges.
    We are now very excited about the use of containers and our architect (Zvi Belling at ITN) has used them in the past, mainly in the inner Melbourne suburbs.

    Some of your other followers may be interested in the following:
    Our architect suggested Royal Wolf for container supply and cut openings prior to delivery.
    To supply 2 x 40′ Hi-cube containers = new $6,000 each or 2nd hand premium $3,500 each

    Estimate to remove 10 metres from one side $3,500 per container. This includes cutting out, and framing out with square hollow steel, and also strengthening the bottom railing.
    Windows and door openings allow ~ $500 per opening.
    Normal delivery approx one month.

    Your website has not only provided inspiration, but some great ideas, so thanks for your effort in doing this, especially in such detail and while you are building.


    • Thanks for your comments Chris.

      We look forward to seeing your project progress.

      We did lots and lots of research into the price of containers and found Royal Wolf to be the most expensive by a long way. Our 2nd hand 8x 40ft high cubes containers were sourced for around $2,600 from Port Melbourne Containers. If you have the time and patients they often sell on eBay for around $1500 to $2500. eBay container sold listings.

      The modifications also seem very expensive. I would recommend getting some prices from Port Melbourne Containers and ANL Containers.

      The Odpod Crew, Craig

  6. Hello,
    I absolutely love this concept! We have been looking at doing a shipping container extension on our 3 bedroom home. We would like to add a main room with an ensuite & walk in robe. We have been quoted an approx price of $30,000 for this by a QLD based company. This includes the container with fittings (ie bathroom, carpet etc), full install & attachment to our current house (no roof line). We are pondering doing it ourself though as well! Do you think this sounds like a reasonable price? So many possible directions to take but feeling hesitant & because it’s not very well known yet, I really don’t know what price etc to look at.

    Any advice would be great!

    Kind Regards,

    • Hi Nisha

      It takes a fair bit of effort to get a house up to BAL flame zone. Since the steel is non combustible there should be no problem. Flame Zone Houses are often masonry or clad in colourbond. Just remember there are lots of requirements, like eave overhang, enclosing under the house and covering the windows with certified shutters.

      The Odpod Crew.

  7. hi there i m thinking of building a container house on russell iland in queenland ! just one unit to start with and may be add to it later on , has any one built one there before could give me any heads up on what i may be up for buy doing this build? thanks

    • Hi Gavin
      There is heaps of information on this website and on google. Is there a specific question you need some help with, otherwise i would recommend looking for some local project to visit. Feel free to contact us if you are in Melbourne.
      The Odpod Crew.

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