Recent FNB data shows that South Africans living in the country’s most populated provinces can expect to pay well over a R1 million rand for a home, leaving many with no option but to turn to expensive rentals or alternative living arrangements.
One increasingly popular option is container living – the re-purposing of large shipping containers into office and living spaces as a trendy means of saving on space and money, as well as providing for mobile and sustainable housing option.
While it is arguably South Africa’s poorest citizens that stand to benefit most from this simple housing design, there is also a growing market for these containers as more high-end living spaces, according to Brad Berman of Berman-Kalil Housing Concepts.
“We were initially aimed at low-cost housing but seem to be working more with luxury units and guest-house type accommodation,” said Berman.
“Our prices start at R120,000 for a 6 metre container and R195,000 for a 12 metre unit, with prices varying depending on the size and range of finishes. This, however, excludes delivery and installation costs, which are charged separately.”
Berman also explained to BusinessTech how container homes deal with concerns such as space, electricity, water and insulation.
“Each 12 metre-long container is 28 square metres,” said Berman. “Our modular application means all internal plumbing and electrical works are prepared in the factory for easy on-site connection.”
In addition, Berman noted that all interior walling products are installed with appropriate and effective insulation, and all homes are capable of using alternative energy supplies including solar panels, solar geysers and/or rainwater harvesting systems, which can be installed in the factory for off-grid living.
According to the Berman-Kalil website, plans are needed for any structure placed on an erf but Berman notes that their containers can also be designed and implemented so as to not be permanently affixed to the land, and with off-grid services so that a connection to the municipal services isn’t necessary.
It is also possible to connect multiple container units together for space purposes, although this will mean that the the movable status of the joined units could become compromised.