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Innovative Uses of Shipping Containers in Modern Construction

By Andy Pandya
June 18, 2024
6 mins

Shipping containers (also known as conexes) play an important role in any construction project. Their cost-effectiveness, durability, and mobility make them ideal not only for on-site needs like storage, mobile offices, and even restrooms, but also as environmentally-friendly and modular construction materials. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of shipping containers for construction, then showcase some use cases to help spark some ideas of how you as a construction procurement or operations manager can use construction containers on your own job site. 

Benefits of Storage Containers in Construction

Budget-friendly

In some cases, construction conexes are a more cost-effective alternative to more traditional construction materials. Building on-site amenities like offices and break rooms using construction site containers is often less of a strain on your project’s budget than building them from scratch. Shipping containers can also act as budget-friendly construction materials. Whether you’re building a tiny home—which are on average 87% cheaper than a standard home—or taking advantage of containers’ modularity to create multi-tenant complexes, shipping containers allow for easier and faster construction, reducing labor costs.

Durability and security

Many construction containers are made from COR-TEN steel, also known as “weathered steel.” This is an incredibly durable material that is resistant to corrosion, making containers ideal for keeping your job site’s heavy machinery and building materials safe from the elements and to protect against construction equipment theft. Typically, a shipping container for construction is expected to last approximately 25 years. But with precautions like rust removal, drainage features, and roof replacements, they can last even longer. 

Environmental sustainability

While there is no way to know for sure how many shipping containers exist globally, estimates suggest that there could be anywhere from 17 to 530 million circulating worldwide. Repurposing used containers either for job site amenities or as construction materials is a great way to reduce waste and to limit the need for new materials. And if you’re using construction conexes to build modular shipping container homes, that’s a great way to promote environmental sustainability as well; on average a modular home produces about 92% less CO2 emissions each year compared to a traditional home. 

Efficiency

Shipping containers are an integral part of promoting construction site efficiency. Not only are Boxhub’s shipping containers reliably delivered within five business days, but construction containers can also be fabricated off-site, reducing on-site construction time and increasing operational efficiency.

Mobility

Shipping containers’ uniquely mobile features means that you can use them for multiple construction projects. Construction containers can easily be transported between sites using conex moving equipment like a tilt-bed or a flatbed trailer.

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Shipping Container Uses in Construction

1. Construction site storage

Since shipping containers are built to withstand harsh environmental conditions and offer protection against break-ins, they are the ideal storage option for your construction materials and equipment. For an extra layer of security, construction containers can easily be outfitted with a strong and reliable lock to protect valuable items. Padlocks, CISA container locks, and lock boxes are all great options for leveling up your construction site theft prevention.

2. Mobile office or sales room

If you’re looking for a temporary mobile office or sales room, shipping container offices are a great option. Portable container offices can easily be customized to meet your needs, such as providing a climate-controlled workspace, which is often required for a project manager’s office or conference room. Shipping container offices can also be outfitted with bathrooms.

3. Shipping container locker rooms or break rooms

Shipping containers can be customized to provide a portable locker room or break room. Construction conexes can be insulated to provide a comfortable space for employees to take a break, and their durable and secure nature makes them a safe and reliable place for workers to store their belongings.

4. Shipping container restroom

Construction containers have the flexibility to be outfitted with the proper plumbing and drainage to make a container washroom for job sites.

5. Waste management

Shipping containers are a great way to manage waste and keep construction sites clean, organized, and safe while ensuring that materials are all correctly disposed of.

6. Sustainable materials for construction

From single-story accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to multi-tenant complexes, modular shipping containers can be combined and stacked in various ways, meaning shipping container buildings can be constructed at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional construction. When building shipping container homes, according to Discover Containers founder Aaron Burch, there are “no bad shipping containers”—only containers poorly suited for a particular project. New containers may be better fitted for conex box construction requiring pristine condition and uniformity. However, if your construction project requires extensive modifications to the containers, a used container may provide everything you need for a lower price and a greener footprint. 


Whether you’re exploring their use for on-site amenities or as a budget-friendly and sustainable construction material, shipping containers are an integral piece to any construction project. A trusted container supplier—like Boxhub, the largest online marketplace in the U.S. for new and used shipping containers—can help you get started. To discover which containers best fit your construction needs, take our quiz or speak to an expert today.

About Andy Pandya

Andy is a content-focused marketing and growth leader with 18+ years of success in driving measurable improvements in customer acquisition, value expansion, and revenue operations. He is an expert in creating and implementing content strategies that drive engagement and revenue growth.

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