Container placement

This part was always planned to be a one day affair.  In the end, it was.  But not without significant challenges.  Even those with quite a bit of experience with containers challenged that we could do 11 containers in one day (through the rain, no less).  But we did it, on Halloween.

The containers had been fabricated and modified in advance, according to the structural engineering plans.  They were done off site at a container yard, so they were delivered in a ready to assemble state.  I had the first and second floor almost 100% complete and left the third floor mostly unaltered for now.

We started at 8 am and the crane arrived and set up.  The containers started arriving late, but we only needed the first one in order to set the beam and column that held up the second floor cantilever.  That is another design, besides the bolts, that I would change for a future build.


After the first container arrived, we began rigging it for placement.  It is the most important one, because all other containers are based on that placement.  We had measured and remeasured the night before.

After the first container went down, the second one could quickly follow.  We began running into bolt issues where the containers would be sitting on a plate bolt.  I would have the structural engineer do a different spec next time or use container dovetail locks to raise them over the bolts.  This project COULD have been built in a way that would allow it to be disassembled in the future.  We didn’t do that though.  It is here to stay (and withstand anything).

As the first floor went into place, we had welders welding the containers to the steel plates.  This does several things: it connects the containers to the foundation, it provides lateral and vertical support, and it prevents shearing in high winds.  It is pretty wild to have 9000 containers “flying” around you.  They don’t just fall into place, they have to be managed as they are coming down.


I didn’t take many other pictures during the process.  It was stressful.  I was personally involved in every container placement (all 11 of them), even the very top one.  I went up ladders with the riggers to help with placement and to detach the rigging when we were done.  I either locked them in place or went back and activated the locks later, which are what is used to secure each container to the one above or below it.  It did rain and we had delays.  Bringing the crane back out the next day would have cost a ton of money and other problems, so we managed to push through it and get it done.


All of us were very happy once the sun had set and we had all eleven containers placed.  We took a few pictures and all went home after a brutal 12 hour day.


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