On our FAQs page, we will be providing answers to the most common questions put to Containerwerk. This collection will be updated regularly. If you have a question that is not covered on this page, please do not hesitate to contact us (Verlinkung Kontakt). We will then get in touch with you as soon as possible.

  • 1. Why does Containerwerk use disused freight containers?
    Sea freight containers feature a particularly sturdy design that allows these standardised units to transport freight over land and sea on a long-term basis. New, highly durable containers are being produced all the time, hence there is a large market for used freight containers. By making use of these, Containerwerk is making a sustainable contribution to improving the ecological balance. Instead of ending up in the scrap crusher, a new, long-term purpose for the containers has been found.

  • 2. Is there a risk of the interior or exterior of our containers being contaminated with harmful residues or pesticides?
    Before conversion work begins, our containers undergo an industrial cleaning process. The interior is also 100% thermally sealed from the outer skin. A selection criteria also ensures that we only receive used containers from our container suppliers that meet our quality standards in terms of structural factors, as well with regard to the absence of pollutants such as pesticide residues.

  • 3. How large is a container and how long is its shelf life?
    All container sizes are internationally standardised. We primarily use so-called “high cubes”:
    40-feet container without porch: 12.20m (length) x 2.44m (width) x 2.90m (height) = approx. 26m² interior, net weight = 3900kg
    40-feet container with porch: 12.20m (length) x 2.44m (width) x 2.90m (height) = approx. 22m² interior, net weight = 3900kg
    Double container (two containers coupled together to form one room): 12.20m (length) x 4.88m (width) x 2.90m (height) = approx. 54m², net weight: 7300kg

  • 4. How durable is a container made as a living space?
    Due to the use of Corten steel, freight containers are totally weatherproof and even resistant to saltwater. They therefore have an unlimited shelf life. Each container is structurally reinforced presenting therefore an extremely sturdy basic construction from which Containerwerk can build according to your specifications.

  • 5. What is the energy footprint of our converted containers?
    Containerwerk has for many years been working with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO. This collaboration led us to develop a high-quality insulation system which we first installed in a “hotel room of the future”. By using this insulation material together with solar energy, air-conditioning and ventilation systems, we are able to achieve the energy footprint of the passive house standard.

  • 6. How much does a building permit cost, what must be observed regarding building laws and construction plans, and how do I acquire authorisation for one or more containers?
    Authorisation proceedings are identical to those for conventional house building. All proceedings have to be passed. We are currently seeking type approval to speed up the authorisation process.

  • 7. What applications can container buildings be used for?
    Examples include hotels and hostels, student residences, boarding houses, health clinics, old people’s homes, office units, co-working facilities, co-living spaces, mobile homes on campsites and holiday home complexes, extensions to public buildings (e.g. crèche facilities), accommodation for aid workers and their organisations in areas with poor infrastructure, stand-alone units for self-providers, units to aid the redevelopment of empty factory buildings or halls (also indoors), and for redensification in urban areas on existing buildings or park decks.

  • 8. How many containers can be stacked on top of each other and what is meant by the term container construction with mobile or modular building methods?
    On cargo ships that have to endure rough seas, wind and weather, containers can be stacked up to nine units high merely connected with twist locks and bridge fittings. This method has been tested daily for the past thirty years. With regard to residential construction, consideration must, however, also be given to fire prevention.
    Individual containers can be easily connected to one another from all sides to create a larger floor space. Modular expansion or partitioning can therefore also take place retrospectively. We create mobile structures that can change their location at any time using standardised means of transport; in principle like toy building blocks for adults.

  • 9. What materials are used for the insulation and the interior fittings, and are they harmful?
    Containerwerk uses PUR/PIR foam. It is the same material that is used in polyurethane mattresses and sneakers. From a health point of view it is completely harmless.
    All materials are identical to those used in conventional building and like these are also harmless.

  • 10. Why is Containerwerk a member of the DGNB and should container buildings also be certified?
    Containerwerk is a member of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB). This is in keeping with our philosophy of building future-oriented, sustainable living space. We are striving to achieve building certification and are working on multiple certifications for our building module.

  • 11. Is the interior and exterior appearance standardised or can they be individually modified? And if so, how much influence do I have on the interior design and what design options are available for the bathroom?
    Our container architecture allows all main surfaces, façades, furnishing materials and connecting insulation elements to be adapted. From basic dry lining to the finest of materials, Containerwerk can individually design the interior and exterior appearance of your container. Roof and façade greenery as well as solar technology and drainage systems are also possible.
    For the interior walls, there is the choice between mineral fibreboard and 3-layer wood panels. The mineral fibreboard can be painted or wallpapered, and the wood panels colour vanished.

    We work together with renowned manufacturers of prefabricated bathrooms. The layout of the bathrooms is fixed, but you are free to choose the surfaces, materials, colours and fittings.

  • 12. What is the cost of a fully fitted container?
    Based on the current average square metre prices for conventional construction in Germany (€1200 to €5500 per m², depending on the state and region), our price for a high-quality converted freight container is normally around 25% below these values. Exact figures can only be established when we have the precise building specifications and inquiry to hand. We look forward to getting to know your visions and projects, and putting these into practice!
    The cost per square metre for completed structural work is <€1000; the cost for a ready-to-use fully fitted module with furniture, etc., is approximately €40,000 excl. VAT with a contract volume of 20 or more containers.

  • 13. How much time is required to produce a container module including conversion and installation?
    The complete conversion process takes place at our production sites and the module is ready for use within a few days.
    Building times are normally reduced by a third of the usual construction times.

  • 14. What happens to a container that is no longer to be used for living space?
    All container modules can be fully recycled at the end of their lifecycle. That means that in the sense of the circular economy the materials are completely separated from each other, correctly disposed of, or returned to the technical cycle.

  • 15. How are multiple containers attached and connected together?
    The containers are connected with twist locks and bridge fittings and secured with horizontal and vertical stacking pins. Similar to conventional housing, all types of supply lines are connected to each other using installation shafts (see also Q1/Modular building methods).

  • 16. Can a container stand alone and be self-sufficient in terms of water, waste water and electricity?
    Yes. We offer so-called Robinson solutions with solar panels on the roof, air-to-water heat pumps, waste water or rainwater filtration and drinking water filtration.

  • 17. How heavy are the fully fitted container modules and what are the necessary foundation requirements?
    Our container weighs only a quarter of what conventional housing does.
    Stable ground is required and then spot foundations under the container’s corner points are sufficient. A converted container fitted with a bathroom, kitchen, walls and floor weighs /- 15t, that’s equivalent to approx. 580 kg/m².

  • 18. How are the bathroom facilities connected and how are the pipes laid in the floor?
    The connection is made with horizontal and vertical stacking pins (see Q8/technical aspects). Similar to conventional housing, all types of supply lines are connected to each other using installation shafts.
    The pipes run through the floor’s insulation section parallel to the underfloor heating and have no effect on the insulation. Due to the monolithic design, there are no pipes in the walls or ceiling, hence thermal bridging cannot occur.