4. Self build our container home

Just imagine, being able to self build our container home ourselves. It would just be a dream come true, wouldn’t it? When I saw the “Grand Designs” episode where Patrick Bradley [click] created his home with reused shipping containers, I just wanted to do it as well. And let’s not forget the added benefit …….. we can keep the costs down!

build our container home
Grillagh Water by Patrick Bradley architects


I watched loads of videos on YouTube and I found a lot of people building their own container home. For example, this American family that build their container home with the following actual costs;

  • 2.700 USD…..1 High Cube 40ft. container
  • 1.900 USD…..floor, framing, window, door
  • 1.250 USD…..electrics
  • 2.350 USD……plumbing, bathroom
  • 2.900 USD……insulation (spray foam, rock wool)
  • 1.350 USD……drywall, paint
  • 2.300 USD……cabinets, flooring
  • 800 USD………doors
  • 15.550 USD…TOTAL

Great! So if we do it all ourselves, like they did,  we should be able to do this easily for about 15.000 EURO right?  And if we quadruple it well we will have spent 60.000 EURO but we will have 120 m2 of living space. mmmhhhh…… now we just need to find the right suppliers here in Spain.

Finding suppliers

I found a few architects in Seville & Cordoba and had very interesting conversations with them. Experts in building homes with containers. Costs are increasing though. Not only for the actual repurposing of the containers but there are a lot of hidden items. I’m also convinced that to repurpose a steel shell formerly used for shipping goods around the world, needs lots of technical know-how to make it a safe and healthy environment.

Technical know-how

I’m learning a lot about the Passive House certificate and found another architect. She has not worked with containers yet but is ready and willing to use her Passive House skills to design our healthy home. I’m learning a lot and even going to architect seminars to try and understand a bit more about all these rules, requirements, costs, etc. Basically trying to see if we can build it ourselves or do we need to have professionals doing it all for us. Perhaps we need to combine my skillset with certain professionals to improve the process and getting more out of it for less costs.


Sometimes I find it difficult to understand that when asking for quotes or information from companies and experts, euhm … they just don’t reply or not with all the info requested. To me, if someone is not interested from day one in our project, it triggers alarm bells. I believe I will waste time when we’re doing the actual project in chasing them to deliver as required. So finding the right professionals is not always easy. Even just arriving late for a meeting to me is …. well not the best way to start things is it? Maybe it’s a cultural issue. The way I’m used to do business is just different. So perhaps I need to adjust my requirements a little bit as I am living here in the Southern part of Europe.

Living in the south of Europe

I’m still convinced we could self build our container home though … mmhm

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