The delivery of the two halves of our container home to their final spot in Baardskeerdersbos was the culmination of a long process.  It was, without a shadow of doubt, utterly exciting to watch the unfaltering precision of the delivery process.

Day 1

At about 12:00 the two trucks carrying the containers and the crane truck arrived at the rendezvous point after leaving Cape Town just after 08:00.  Everybody was tense about the weather since the wind was already quite strong and rain was imminent.  A final check of the gravel road and the approach angles to the entrance to the plot, determined the order in which the trucks had to be unloaded.  The precision with which the drivers negotiated the trucks around the fence posts and pylons (on which the containers had to to be positioned) was an early indication of just how skillful the team was.  It took about an hour to get the first container (the front half of the house) in place, despite wind and rain, and another hour to position the back half.  As a result of intermittent rain the team could not complete the outside work, so they focused on some of the remaining inside work.

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Day 2

Most of the work on the outside of the container house could be completed (i.e. joining the two halves all along the seams), as well as the remainder of the inside work – hanging two doors, installing the shower door etc.).

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Day 3

The roofing team arrived early to start with assembling the light steel trusses and purlins.  By the end of the day it was ready to be erected.

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Day 4

The trusses, purlins and roof sheeting were fitted on top of the containers.

And voila!  A mere four days ago there was just an empty plot, now there is a beautiful shipping container house.

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T-minus 4…

It has been more than 18-months since we’ve bought the property in Baardskeerdersbos, more than a year of planning and research, and just more than 4 months since the start of converting our 2 x 12m shipping containers into a home.

And now we are almost done!  If the weather plays along (i.e. barring serious rain and wind) the eagle should land coming Thursday.

We’ve come a long way:


Local is “lekker” – or is it?

One of the sustainability aspects that became crystal clear while building our shipping container home is how difficult it can be to retain the link between green building practice and the use of local products and materials.

The term “local” describes manufacturing and distribution that are based near the consumer rather than nationally or internationally.  It assumes that manufacturing takes place close to the consumer’s home (i.e. within X kilometres of a consumer) and that goods are therefore transported over shorter distances.

The challenge is that there is no universally agreed-upon definition for the geographic component of “local”, i.e. how far away from you is nearby or “local”? 

Local map

The shipping containers that we used for our container home have been converted in Maitland (Cape Town), the plot where they will stand is in Baardskeerdersbos, and our primary home is in Stellenbosch.  Continue reading