It is no secret that the UK has a long-running housing crisis. While housing minister Michael Gove recently told the BBC that the new administration under Rishi Sunak plans to revert to the Conservative government’s 2019 manifesto pledge of aiming to raise housebuilding rates to 300,000 a year, he acknowledged it was not that simple.

Mr Gove observed: “Problems with global supply chains and also a very tight labour market means that the capacity to build those homes at the rate we want is constrained”. He also noted that any loosening of planning laws is unpopular with many MPs and their constituents in rural areas, as they fear large areas of greenery being concreted over.

Yet at the same time, a lack of supply has pushed prices to record levels, which means that some folk will be looking at some unorthodox alternatives to achieve their dreams of home ownership.

The Sun recently covered the case of a man in the US who goes by the name of ‘Dash’, who managed to build a three storey home out of five converted shipping containers. The living quarters were made out of four of the containers and the fifth housed the staircase.

He first revealed his project to the Tiny House Giant Journey website last year, which had cost him the equivalent of just under £10,000 to acquire the containers. He then undertook the work of building the property himself to save money.

Dash stated: “I could probably sell it for about four times what I put into it in five years, so that’s pretty good.”

Of course, some may object by stating that what Dash was doing took place in the United States, questioning whether such a thing could happen here. 

The answer, however is yes, it most certainly can. After all, self-building has become a popular, if niche, activity in the UK. There are councils that specifically set out to encourage it like Teignbridge in Devon and even a new town of 2,000 self-built homes at Graven Hill on the outskirts of Bicester in Oxfordshire. 

All that means that using shipping containers is a perfectly viable, if novel, means of acquiring a home, provided it abides by planning regulations on land set aside for self-build.

There are some people who even specialise in such conversions. For example, last month Wales Online reported on the work of construction manager Craig Edwards, who lives on the Island of Anglesey. 

Having experienced building and staying in hotels made from containers, he undertook a project to build a prison in New Zealand the same way. This fuelled a desire to bring the techniques to bear on the housing sector in the UK. 

“Containers are so versatile you can do almost anything with them from mobile hair salons, to home office, home gyms, to holiday cabins and even affordable housing,” he remarked.

This included building a small home for just £27,500, which is now used by resting pilots at RAF Valley, showing just how much money can be saved by going down the shipping container custom build or self build route.

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