Posted on

Your Guide to Using Shipping Containers on Your Property

hiab, container sales, grass, drive over grass, drive over mud, container delivery,

Last Updated on March 18, 2024

Are you “Considering a shipping container for your property?” 

Here are list of things to consider when deciding on your shipping container for storage or a facility eg. Portable office etc. and the site requirements.

  • Planning permission – many councils have their own idea of what a shipping container is e.g. it could be a building and permanent fixture. Containers are actually a temporary structure and can be moved at any time with the correct equipment.
  • Neighbours – sometimes the neighbours feel a shipping container isn’t aesthetically pleasing and can be an eyesoar. 
  • Vehicular access via A and B roads – Many smaller roads can be too small to take the hi ab vehicles we use to deliver the containers. A 20ft container is delivered on an 8 wheeler hi ab vehicle (approx. 40 ft long x 10ft wide) and a 40ft container is delivered on a 60 ft long x 10ft wide articulated hi ab vehicle. The 8 wheeler vehicles are what’s known as “rigid“ (which means the cab does not breakaway from the rest of the vehicle) and they need a large turning circle. The articulated vehicles do not need as much turning circle but the trailer is long and can cause issues on turning. Hi ab means the vehicle is fitted with a crane so that container can be offloaded. See our Delivery and collection details here.
  • Overhanging trees – Our hi abs cannot offload underneath trees
  • Overhead cables – HSE say it is not safe to offload underneath overhead cables. It could be fatal if the crane touches or extremely close to a cable. 
  • Underground cables – The same rules apply to the overhead cables.
  • Manhole covers/Drains – Our vehicles are too heavy to park on manhole covers/drains and can cause the vehicle to fall into the drains and if the outriggers, this will cause the vehicle to topple over.
  • Pathways – The hi ab vehicles require outriggers off the side for stability when offloading the container. These outriggers can break the pathway.
  • Perimeter walls – The crane on the vehicles can only lift over and away from the vehicle so far.
  • Ground surface – You need to ensure the container is absolutely level prior to delivery (click here for more details). The hi ab vehicles need hard core surface to drive over and offload from. They simply do not have the traction to drive out if they get stuck.
  • Road offload – We are not allowed to be on any highway when we are offloading a container. 
  • Adequate space – Your container needs sufficient space for the doors to open. The vehicle needs plenty of room for access and offloading. The vehicle needs at least 10ft of each side for the outriggers, which ensures stability at the point of offload.

The Versatility of Shipping Containers

  • Access to your belongings with ease
  • Containers are so versatile when it comes to storage and office space.
  • Containers are secure and durable, giving you peace of mind when it comes to protecting your goods
  • They are watertight and ventilated, also ensuring your goods are protected. Watertight to keep the weather out. Ventilation is required to reduce the chance of condensation. We have Absorpoles that will also reduce excess moisture in the container.
  • They are cost effective, because you don’t have to spend time and fuel to take goods offsite and then back onsite. 
  • You can hire or buy new (one trip) and second hand containers, giving you flexibility.
  • If you move premises then you can take the container with you. (however, we can only move empty containers)

Navigating Legal Requirements

Containers are “a temporary structure and as such can be moved with the right vehicles”. However, some councils feel that planning permission is necessary. 

If the council say you don’t need planning permission, sometimes they can ask you to do retrospective planning permission, if a neighbour starts to complain to the council.

We recommend you call your council to see what their view is on whether you need planning permission or not.

With regards to the offloading of a container, legally our vehicles are not allowed to offload from a highway. If you are requesting this, then you will need to get the necessary permission from your local highways department. It will be your responsibility to get this permission.

Thinking about the offload of a container, HSE stipulates that our vehicles must have a clearance of 18m from the top of the crane height which equates to 28m from the ground.  This is applicable to any angles away from the cables. The vehicle will certainly need to  lift this height at the time of offload, therefore, we will not be offloading underneath any cables.

Please ensure that these legal restrictions are adhered to, to avoid any potential issues and fines.

Sustainability and Eco-Friendliness

When using shipping containers you have a choice of buying new (one trip) or second hand. The second hand containers are approx. 15 years old and have come to the end of their shipping life, but are perfect as a site store. This can extend their life by around another 15 years, which means they have been repurposed.

The new (one trip) containers are used for 1 shipment from China and they are sold as ‘New’ site stores. They will last in the region of 40 years of site storage.

All containers (new and used) are refurbished into many different facilities e.g. Chemical stores for the farm, school, councils etc. Portable offices and snack shacks. This extends their life by adding new paint, insulation and other parts.

Keeping Your Container in Top Shape

We have prepared a list of jobs that will keep your container lasting longer. Please click here.

It’s always good to keep an eye on your container from time to time, ensuring that you keep up with the maintenance as and when required. Also to ensure the life of the container lasts as long as possible.

Protecting Your Investment: Insurance and Liability

It is important to insure your container against any liabilities/accidents/theft. Although containers are secure, there can always be another way of illegal access.

We recommend you discuss your requirements with your insurers.

In conclusion we recommend you do your research with regards to the space you have,  the legal points and your storage/facility requirements.

Please call Jane, Matt and Clare with your questions and requirements on 0800 121 7388. We are here to assist you with your storage and facility solutions