Please read the information on the site first. If you have a question that is not answered on the site, please send a message here. I will try to respond back in a reasonable timeframe, but no guarantees. I get lots of questions.
The following companies or people are the ones who have helped the project get to where it is so far. I will not list the ones that I may have hired or tried to use without success. These are not endorsements and I am not affiliated with any of them. Please respect that this is their business and do not contact them with questions unless you are ready to pay them for their services.
Structural Engineering – Runkle Consulting. George Runkle has done work on several container projects and is considered to be the expert on shipping container structural engineering. He does not work with residential projects unless you are an experienced builder or designer. So it is probable that you will need to have someone experienced in your team and a set of architectural plans before even considering contacting them. I worked through one of his staff for most things, but in the end, the structural engineering is one of the more seamless items that went through city permitting.
Containers – Numen Development provided the containers for this project, however I have purchased others through various container yards and have even picked out my own at their location. Most containers come from EMS, but I’m not sure if they would sell one or two by themselves. Containers are commodities, so the prices are determined by supply and demand. Be prepared to pay more than $2000 for a decent used one and more than $3000 for even the smallest one tripper. I’m not a fan of buying new containers for a project because that defeats part of the purpose of reusing something that would eventually go to waste, but don’t discount the value of a slightly more expensive, but better condition container either. I have one, which is unfortunately an important one to have a good roof on it, and it is in need of repair. The cost of the repairs will exceed the price of just getting a better condition one.
Foundation – The foundation was specified by the structural engineer for this project. Because helical piers are not as common in this area, there are limited choices. Chance Helical Piles were used as the piers and therefore one of their local contractors provided the quote and foundation work. The helical piers were topped with concrete tops. I think that this was overkill, in my opinion, because everything around my lot uses standard slab with bell bottom piers. But I now have a commercial grade foundation that should never have issues.
Site Placement / Welding / Container Modification – Charles Thomas with Crewman Company provided the structural beam that holds up the front of the structure, was on site with his crew during container placement, and was a big help with welding and fabrication that was needed on the assembly day. He is also providing the on site fabrication and welding needed to finish it out. I will likely have him do even more work because we have worked well together and he does what he says he will do. He is also a container expert.
Crane Service – Laramie Crane provided a 50 ton crane and two riggers. There were some hard workers and skilled professionals on the team. If I were to do this again, I would use a larger crane for longer reach and possibly speedier assembly. The team did work late and through rain to finish the assembly in the one day that was set aside for it.
Electrical – Julio Vasquez (+1 (713) 201-2658) provided the electrical rough in and permitting. It was one of the more difficult trades to find a reliable person/ company to handle. A helper or I pulled almost all of the wire and mounted the boxes, but Julio provided all of the finish work and panel wiring to get the permit. He showed up when he said he would, got the work done, and most importantly did it to a level that was quickly and easily approved. Based on what he did, he has been recommended to other people who have projects in the works. I’ve heard horror stories of disappearing contractors and no-shows, but I never experienced that with him.
Other – Sean Krieger is another builder in the Houston area. He is building a container home near the McGowen project. He is the builder, designer, manages fabrication, and does some of the engineering. He focuses on budget builds, so his style may not be to everyone’s tastes, but I have visited his project and spoken with him at length after this project was already started. He definitely knows the ins and outs of working with the city on these builds.
Mike Dieterich is someone else I met after this project was underway and has become a friend. He also does this as a business. He is an eco-friendly builder that also does net zero energy structures. He often uses containers. He was just recently featured in the Houston Chronicle for his work.