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Which States Allow Shipping Container Homes In The US?

Which states allow shipping container homes? Well, shipping container homes have gained popularity in recent years. They’re appealing to people who are eco-friendly, budget-conscious, or just intrigued by the idea of minimalist living. This is most evident in states that openly allow shipping container homes.

However, building a home from a shipping container is still a novelty for most, and many homeowners aren’t aware that such projects are illegal in certain states and jurisdictions.

This article will examine what states allow shipping container homes, among others.

There are 13 states that allow shipping container homes in the United States. These include;

1.  Texas

The state of Texas generally has a flexible regulatory environment, which holds for residential building regulations. 

That’s why it isn’t surprising that there are so many shipping container homes in the state. This state is technically a viable place to construct one.

Homeowners in Texas can get approval and complete their container homes quickly since the state allow shipping container homes, as the state has more space than congested cities like Houston. 

Several builders are also available to make magic happen for you.

2. California Allows Shipping Container Homes

Although California has land-use policies that can make it challenging to build on specific parcels of land, the state is progressive enough to allow construction made from shipping containers as long as they are safe and legal.

When you drive across the state, you will see many homes made from recycled shipping containers. This is because like other states, California allow shipping container homes.

But to build one in California, obtaining all necessary permits and approvals is essential.

Prime locations for these magnificent homes include inland areas along the California coast and northern regions. 

Prices are reasonable because houses here are under less stringent regulations.

Read More: Ultimate truth about shipping container homes in California

3. Louisiana

You cannot state the freedom of land without mentioning Louisiana. With its lenient zoning regulations, this state allows property owners to build whatever they want on their lots.

Because local authorities leave it up to homeowners how they want their homes built, it is easy for people to construct container homes in this state.

Cato Institute ranks Louisiana as the most land-freedom-friendly state in America. 

Homeowners can build container homes without interference from the government, a luxury not available to people living in other states.

However, States have different standards for determining zoning and planning regulations, so homebuilders should check their local laws.

4. Alaska 

Alaska has a low population, but its terrain is expensive. This makes it an ideal place to build your shipping container home because the state favors low-cost housing, and you can find lots of them spread across different parts of Alaska.

Read More: Is a container home a good investment for daring homeowners?

5. Missouri 

Missouri’s climate is characterized by warm, pleasant summers and winters with mild cold spells.

With such great weather, building a container home is an ideal solution because you won’t have to reinforce your house as much. 

Using fewer goods and materials will save you money on construction costs.

The State of Missouri’s zoning codes allows shipping container homes constructions, which are an affordable alternative to traditional housing.

This state is among the few states where building a shipping container home does not require a permit. 

This saves you from having to run around town to get your permits and regulations checked before starting construction.

Interested in purchasing a tiny home or single-family residence? Check out this neighborhood.

6. Tennessee

People living in Tennessee enjoy greater land freedom than those in other states. 

Compared to the minimum level of building regulations and local interference experienced by residents elsewhere, Tennessee is an excellent place for container homes.

In this state, most lands can easily access clean water, reducing production costs.

As a result, low-income earners have better access to shipping container homes in West Tennessee and are able to acquire them at lower prices.

If you want to live off the grid, consider a shipping container home in one of the rural areas of this state. 

The climate here is very favorable. The state experiences all four seasons.

Read More: How to build a shipping container home from scratch

7. Oregon

In this state, they only allow shipping container homes on land set aside for single-family homes. However, the only requirement is that it should have a population of fewer than 10,000.

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There is a place called the Three Rivers Recreational Area, which covers 4,000 acres and has over 600 residents. 

Many of these people live in container homes that offer an ideal environment with breathtaking views.

Even though Oregon has stringent builder regulations and is a progressive state, many homeowners believe that alternative construction could solve some of their home problems.

If you plan to live off the grid and be free from external interference, consider this state for your shipping container home.

8. Minnesota

In Minnesota, you can build a shipping container home or tiny homes if you comply with building codes and get prior permission from the appropriate authorities. 

But it’s good to know which zoning areas are best suited for this kind of housing—and where they’re not allowed!

The government has supported tiny house projects, and most building regulations are liberal. And it’s an excellent destination for an outdoor cabin or small home.

There are many great locations that can suit building a container home. 

For example, you can build one in Minneapolis if you receive the necessary approvals from different municipalities before doing so.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Building Container Homes in Florida

9. Massachusetts has Relaxed Laws that Allow Shipping Container Homes

Massachusetts is a good choice if you want to move to a more populated area. 

The laws are much more relaxed, and it follows their system rather than the normal one used by other states.

You can view available places and properties for housing options on your browser or approach an owner directly. 

It’s a friendly city that welcomes this innovative idea of container homes.

10. Montana

Montana is another good choice for building container homes. Its zoning requirements are more lenient than other states, and it’s possible to find some professionally designed containers there.

You can visit many great towns to help you decide where best to set up your business.

Read More: The ultimate guide to Florida shipping container home laws

11. Mississippi

Mississippi is also an excellent place to build a container home. It has a great climate and plenty of coastal locations, perfect for setting up your new container home!

The towns have some significant localities, but there are certain things you need to be aware of before starting your work: so check the government’s website for more information.

12. Tennessee

Container homes are often chosen by people who value their independence and want to lead a self-sufficient lifestyle. 

The minimal regulations in Tennessee make it an excellent state for building container homes. 

Most areas in this state have access to clean water, which reduces production costs.

Low-income earners are better at creating their ideal shipping container homes in the West Tennessee area because these containers are cheap.

If you are interested in off-the-grid living, consider a shipping container home in rural areas of this state. 

They have favorable climatic conditions here, as the state encounters all four seasons.

Read More: How to get permits for container homes in Florida

13. Michigan

You can come up with your dream home made of shipping containers if you have a permit to build such homes in Michigan.

Before constructing your house, you must meet with the relevant authorities and get approval.

Read More: Effective Ways to Stop Condensation in a Container Home

What you Need to Know About Shipping Container Homes

Ensure you check with the building department in your area to make sure it’s okay for you to build a container home. 

Assess both personal and public opinion about living standards, property values, etc., then decide whether or not this is something you should do.

Be sure to consider whether you need land rights, insulation, the distance to your road, and other factors such as snow removal.

Before you build a home out of shipping containers, do some research and consider the following factors. Also, choose a container or stack frame suitable for your needs. 

While some people prefer simple cabin-like units, others like customizable homes that meet their requirements.

States that allow shipping container homes have various regulations, including building materials and zoning requirements. 

Build your house in accordance with all building codes, including the shape of materials to use, their type, and size. 

The International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code(IRC) govern these regulations in the United States.

You should have all the facts about these shipping containers to avoid any hassles. 

As a homeowner, it’s also important to know the difference between mobile homes, manufactured homes, and modular ones.

All three have different building norms, and their costs will also differ depending on your preferred design, for example, the material it is made of and whether or not you want double-glazed windows.

Housing Regulations for Shipping Container Homes

These are the core housing regulations that every structure should follow. The regulatory guidelines typically vary from state to state, but here is a list of standard building rules that apply in every situation.

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Building Codes

The International Code Council develops and maintains these codes. The council considers the construction process and establishes specific requirements that must be met before a permit is issued.

When building a container home, you must remember to use the appropriate materials and other guidelines issued by the state.

Structural Type

You will see mobile, modular, and manufactured housing structures. Although all are treated differently by the government, each is different in its own right.

The International Building Codes regulate modular homes, and manufactured homes are under the jurisdiction of the federal Housing and Manufactured Home Construction Standards.

Although the standard only applies to factory-built homes that await shipment for onsite installation, different states in the U.S. will have other zoning codes, building regulations, and permit requirements.

These regulations are revised every year or twice a year. Before building your shipping container home, check all the requirements to ascertain what is required of you.

The following will be the points of scrutiny during the inspection of your container home;

  • Risk of overturning
  • Surface stability
  • Wind resistance
  • Structural safety

Shipping Container Home Zoning Laws

Zoning codes regulate where you can build a home and what kinds of homes are permitted in each neighborhood.

The government uses these zones to help control population density and plan the city. You may have noticed that residential areas, industries, and churches are never found in the same area.

Zoning laws govern the specific purpose and type of settlement in every zone. In addition to commercial buildings and standard apartments, container homes are also subject to these regulations.

Though container homes may not be regulated in all states, most have regulations that govern their use. Before reaching out to the local authority to request building permits, ensure you know what kind of structure is allowed under local law.

Categories of Shipping Container Zoning Laws

Zones are typically grouped into two large categories, residential and commercial.

These broad categories can then be subdivided into smaller, more specific ones.

For instance, Tallahassee and Florida employ the following residential zoning subcategories: R-1, R-2, R-3, and R-5.

Make sure you go through the zoning system in your state to find out where you fall as a shipping container homeowner. R-2 and R-1are important for this process

An R-1 zone is used for single-unit residences, while an R-2 zone accommodates two units. It should not include duplexes or apartments with more than two residents.

The R.M. zoning code is for residences with multiple units, detached or attached to one another.

Homeowners can rezone their properties, but the process is lengthy and arduous. 

Some homeowners may oppose rezoning for fear of property depreciation.

Read More: Ultimate truth on is it cheaper to build a container home?

Why Do These State Allow Container Homes

Shipping container homes are a new trend. While states may want to showcase their openness and progressiveness by allowing them, they still aren’t the norm for home building.

By accepting these modern housing techniques, states try to reassure investors that they are capable of change and can adapt quite quickly.

In addition, some states have adopted laws that accommodate container homes. That shows investors and prospective residents that the regulations may eventually be changed or relaxed.

Florida and other states have found that if they allow shipping container homes, they have a lucrative way to solve housing problems, as well as rising homelessness rates.

New York State can benefit significantly from these new developments in the industry.

What is a Shipping Container?

A shipping container is a large metal box companies use to store and transport products or transport them to other places. 

They construct cheap, solid housing, whereas a homeowner does not have to spend money on lavish construction.

Shipping containers are made of corrugated aluminum, wood, or steel. They also have many other names: intermodal shipping containers and sea cans.

Shipping container homes are made from these containers primarily created to transport goods.

Container homes can be transported across land and water by rail, truck, plane, or boat. 

Their versatility also makes them suitable for use as studios, retail outlets, offices, restaurants, bars, and even hotels!

Today, more and more people are choosing shipping container homes over traditional ones.

No building material is required, so these containers are an attractive option for many homeowners.

Other countries such as New Zealand, England, Denmark, and France have all accepted home construction using shipping containers.

Amenities Required for a Shipping Container Home

Once your container is built, you’ll have to choose the features and amenities that will make it into a home. The cost of these add-ons varies widely.

Although you may be able to estimate the cost of land in your area and the going rate for shipping containers, there are many other factors that will impact your budget. Some popular amenities include:

  • HVAC systems
  • Windows
  • Electricity
  • Interior doors and walls
  • Shelving and closets
  • Flooring
  • Roofing and rooftop features
  • Plumbing (including sinks, showers, and bathtubs)
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Equipping your shipping container home with ductless air-conditioning or a full-size HVAC system is every bit as livable and comfortable as any other house.

You can install laminate flooring that pops in or invest more money into a custom option. You can set your budget based on home design goals and desired features.

6 Advantages of Container Homes

There are six advantages of container home. These include;

  • Fast construction times
  • High mobility
  • Durability
  • Container homes are environmentally friendly
  • Easily affordable
  • Easy to customize

1. Fast Construction Times

Container homes also have very fast construction times. Once you have the right tools and know what you’re doing, it should take around two weeks to construct your container home. 

So if you want to move into your new home as soon as possible, this is the best option. 

In addition to being fast, container homes are also very durable because they’re made from metal containers tested and approved by engineers and architects alike.

2. Mobility

Container homes are mobile. They can be moved from place to place, meaning you can live in a different location every few years. 

This is especially true for people who travel a lot for business or other reasons. For example, if you love the beach but live in a cold climate and want to retire on the beach, then container homes are ideal. 

You can move your container home to Florida with no problems at all. Or if you’re going through a divorce and need to move out of town for financial reasons, moving a container home is much easier than a traditional house. 

You don’t require contractors or workers to do it for you; just load up your containers and move them wherever you want them.

3. Durability

One advantage of container homes is their durability. Steel containers are designed to withstand harsh conditions while transporting goods across the ocean. 

As such, they’re strong enough to support the weight of a house without breaking down over time like wood-framed buildings often do. 

In addition, steel has high resistance to weathering and corrosion when compared with other materials such as concrete or wood.

4. They’re Environmentally Friendly

One of the biggest advantages of container homes is that they’re environmentally friendly. 

If you choose steel containers over traditional wood-frame houses, you’ll save money on heating bills and maintenance costs over time. 

Steel doesn’t rot as wood does, so you won’t have to worry about your home falling apart in the middle of winter because it got damaged by rot or insects. 

Steel is also recycled easily once it’s been used up, making it an environmentally sustainable choice over traditional building materials like wood.

5. Affordability

Container homes are a very affordable option for building a home, especially if you have the land and can build on it yourself. 

You can also buy used or new containers, re-purpose them into a full house, or just use them as part of your home design. 

This means that you will be able to save money and get into your new home sooner.

6. Easily Customizable

Another advantage of container homes is that they are easily customizable. You can choose the color, size, and design, among many other things that you want your house to have. 

This means that you will get precisely what you want without having to spend too much money or time going through different ideas with an interior designer who might not be able to come up with something unique and original, like what you want for your home.

Read More: Is a container home a good investment for daring homeowners?

How Long Does a Shipping Container Home Last?

A well-maintained shipping container home should last at least 50 years, but if it has siding, then you can expect to enjoy its use for many more.

Rust is one of the most damaging threats to a shipping container home. If you notice rust on your home, have it treated immediately before other areas are affected by moisture and humidity.

Do Shipping Container Homes Hold Value?

A shipping container home can retain its resale value much like a traditional home. 

They’re relatively easy to resell because it’s possible to load them onto trucks and transfer them almost anywhere.

Before buying a shipping container home, it may be wise to ask whether the house was made for your climate. 

If not, you should find out what modifications would need to be made so that it is suitable for its new location.


Hopefully, this article will help you understand the rules and regulations concerning shipping container homes in your state. 

There are certainly benefits to owning a shipping container home; however, there are limitations you should understand before building one. 

Doing some research into the rules and regulations of your state can help you move forward as you build a dream home using shipping containers.

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