House Plans

House Plans – Odpod Shipping Container House

Preliminary Plans, Sketches and 3D Visualisations.

House A.1


Shipping Container House Plans - Garage

Shipping Container House Plans – Garage

Shipping Container House Plans - Ground Level

Shipping Container House Plans – Ground Level

Shipping Container House Plans - Level 1

Shipping Container House Plans – Level 1


See this document for 40 ft high cube container dimensions:

28 thoughts on “House Plans

  1. Love following this project
    Is there no internal staircase? I have a house with no internal staircase and regret it. also note that verandah doesn’t exactly connect all around – suggest this would be an improvement.

    • The upstairs and downstairs are deliberately separated. This way it can be more of a guest house space. The deck/verandah was originally connected all the way around. Our neighbors were concerned about overlooking into their space and it was getting very close to the boundary, so we removed that section.

  2. Such a great idea! I don’t know anything about houses, but recycling shipping containers to serve a purpose such as this…brilliant!

  3. I have constructed a dwelling using a metal grain bin, good results, will start a container project next fall….what was your process of joining the containers, particularly when one entire ribbed sheet metal wall is removed….thanks..jt

    • Hi John

      If you remove the entire length on the 40 foot side, you will find the the roof will collapse. We used a beam on the top of the containers so strengthen them. Also columns can be placed within timber stud work to hide them. for the bottom story we welded to the floor beams of the container above at 1m centres with steel plate. When making your cutouts you can leave a few inches of wall at the top to strengthen the ceiling.

      also have a look at the pictures on this older post.

      The Odpod Crew.

  4. I found you guys on an off grid living page and have been intrigued since. Your house is our inspiration. My husband and I purchased 10 acres of land a few days ago and we’re hoping to start building our shipping container home soon. Luckily we live in a part of Texas that doesn’t require permits or anything but we don’t know where to begin. What type of insulation did you guys use and is it possible to simply build right onto the ground without any other type of foundation?

    • Hi Chevjon

      Thanks for your support. There are lots of different ways to heat and cool the house (not just insulation) When the roof is exposed to the sun the steel will get very hot. Our roof stops the direct light from hitting the container roof and considerably helps to cool the house on a hot day. We will use cellulose fibre spray insulation, our preference was closed cell polyurethane spray foam, but much too expensive in Australia. My understanding is the product is much cheaper in the States and would be a good option for you to consider.

      More details about insulation on a previous post:

      Even though you don’t require permits, it’s advisable that you involve a structural engineer to ensure the structure is safe. The types of foundations depend on the soil type, your engineer can help you with this.

      To get the project started you can draw up a very simple hand sketch of the house and list every component on an excel spreadsheet. Start making lots of phone calls and sending emails to get prices for every item. This way you can cost the project and stick to a budget. We use a book called Rawlinsons Construction Cost Guide, you might find a similar one for Texas. This part is very important (it is common for owner builders to go over budget by a long way)

      Please feel free to ask any further questions.

      The Odpod Crew -Craig

  5. I’ve just found your site after researching these types of homes & am blown away at what can be achieved by recycling something so industrial. It looks fantastic & Im slowly getting through all your posts & reading all about the journey as well as tasking notes to learn more & more in the hope of building my own home myself one day, although a lot smaller. One Q I did have, not sure if its mentioned anywhere, but what are your backgrounds….are you builders/tradies at all? And would you think someone with fairly good handyman skills could handle this type of build?
    Cheers & keep up the great work, cant wait to see it finished! 🙂


    • Hi Nigel

      James and I are not trades people however we are qualified product design engineers, project managers and hold an environmental sustainability qualification. The engineering degree helps lots when facing the challenge of working with shipping containers. For example working out connection methods, dealing with the building surveyor and structural engineer. As owner builders we drew up the plans ourselves and developed the design from scratch. To achieve the best result we worked with carpenters for the timber work and we plan to use professional plasterers. Licensed trades are a must eg: plumbing, electrical and roof plumbing.

      It’s definitely achievable for anyone to build a house. If you want to get a good result in terms of time, cost and quality of finish, it’s best to utilise the skills of experienced people. There is a massive diversity of skills required for the job, I have listed some from the top of my head below.
      -Ability to talk to the structural engineer about member sizes and spans required.
      -CAD drawing skills to document the design.
      -Site survey using measuring equipment to find contours and levels.
      -Understanding of the NCC (National Construction Code) and knowing how to find all the information within it.
      -Ability to do research and find the information you need.
      -Procurement, sourcing materials at a good price.
      -Managing sub contractors, in terms of work and dealing with different personalities.
      -Organising cash flow and payments.
      -Project management to set the scheduling of work, to best organise the order and time frame of jobs.
      -Computer skills, for communication with all stakeholders. (local government, trades, suppliers, etc.)
      -Hands on skills with power tools, welders, grinders, hand tools etc.
      -Lateral thinking to overcome problems and always look to improve the project and make things better.
      -The work ethic to get the job done, the above skills are great but at the end of the day stuff has to get done!

      The Odpod Crew

  6. Is it rude yo ask how much it cost for council to approve your plans? & was it a dtawn out process i.e. troubles arising & back& forwarding& delays!

    • Hi Lalika
      We build on a bushfire affected property, which means the council was very lenient on their requirements. From memory it was around $100 for the consent to build. It was also a quick process, around 1-2 weeks. I have heard of people taking 10 months or more to get permission from the council.
      The Odpod Crew

  7. Really love the idea of this type of housing. It’s logical environmentally friendly, and under utilised. I’m very interested in the project and similar done around the world. Is it possible you have a fact sheet to hand. As I am doing anew undergraduate project and it is based on affordable housing?



    • Hey Phil

      We have lots of detailed information on the website about each stage as we complete them. If your after some basic facts check out the Wikipedia article.

      The Odpod Crew, Craig

  8. love your work guys, stella job.
    Who did you engineering/structural certification? any chance you could provide their details please?

    • Hi Hugh

      James and I are qualified engineers, we created all the drawings and specified the connections and steel member sizes. We then submitted this to the structural engineer for computations and certification. The engineer required some of the member sizes to be increased, which we changed and then submitted to the building surveyor.

      The structural engineer usually needs some drawings from an architect or a drafts person to specify required member sizes for your required spans. Keep in mind if the structural engineer specifies everything, you may have to use a connection method that is hard to work with onsite. For example a welded connection instead of a bolted connection etc. James and I would be happy to offer feedback on your floor plans and layout etc to help improve your design, feel free to send an email to

      We worked with my good friend Lindsay Patone from Vert Engineering, based in Hawthorn, Melbourne: 03 8803 4366
      Lindsay is a charted engineer and has the relevant accreditations to provide certifications for every state in Australia.

      The Odpod Crew, Craig

  9. Hi, am so impressed by your design, my partner and I are in the process of designing our own shipping container home, so thanks for sharing your project.
    Was wondering how this went through council as a suitable building for a bushfire prone area, as the area we are looking at has also been classified as such.

  10. How do you stop moisture affecting the external cladding? Can you just use flashing over the top edges? I want to put a pod roof over the top of two containers with a cavity in between which I will build in. I am concerned about water getting in behind the cladding with the roof having no overhang at the front. Cheers

    • Hi Jane

      If you have no eve overhang then you will definitely need some form of flashing to cover any gaps. It’s a bit hard to offer any help without seeing a drawing. A roof plumber usually does the flashing on roof sheeting and would be a good person to speak to.

      The Odpod Crew

      • Hi and thanks for getting back to me. I have changed the plans a bit now so won’t be going down the pod roof path. Can you tell me how difficult it is to get council approval container homes? I’m on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.


    • Hi David

      The cheapest was is to find them 2nd hand through auctions or farm gate sales etc. you may pick one up for as little as $1500, then you must organise transport. If go to the container yards you can expect to pay $3000-$4000 including delivery for each container. New containers are around $6000-$8000.

      Hope that helps.
      The Odpod Crew, Craig

    • Between 3k and 4k delivered, however you can find them cheaper on ebay if you have the patients and somewhere to store them.
      The Odpod Crew

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