Here’s what it’s like to live in a R260,000 South African container home

Alicia Kalil from Berman-Kalil Housing Concepts says that people are constantly pleasantly surprised when they see a shipping container home in person.

Speaking to Cape Talk recently, Kalil said that container living has several attracting forces, including build time, mobility and affordability. She said that 90% of the build is done at the factory, which is then taken to site.

“That is a big factor compared to building with brick and mortar, and then obviously the cost.”

A single bedroom 12 metre container with basic finishes starts at R225,000 excluding VAT, a quarter of the price of the average brick and motor home.

  • Size 40ft (12.2m) 8ft (2.44m) 8ft 6in (2.6m)

To make the container habitable requires insulation in the walls and ceiling, while doors and windows also need to be put in. A roof structure will help to keep it cool in the Summer, Kalil said.

Plumbing and electricity is done in the factory, which are then connected to the mains on site.

Kalil said that the total cost escalates in the following way, depending on the finish.

“You can roughly work on, say, entry level finishes, and anything from R7,000 toR7,500 per square metre, and the most luxury we have quoted on is about R10,000 per square metre.”

Kalil said that while planning permission is required, in the past councils were skeptical – fearing that the community may reject it, But now the councils are seeing it as a ‘rational design’.

Co-owner of the business, Brad Berman said that the cost of a container home versus a traditional brick and mortar is about 30-35% cheaper. Kalil said that traditional foundation is generally quite expensive, and therefore recommends using a plinth arrangement.

Mid range and luxury fittings

Square Elephant – a state-of-art off-grid converted shipping container near Hermanus – fitted out by Berman-Kalil Housing Concepts

Similarly, Container Home South Africa says it can deliver a 2 bedroom container home within 30-45 days, with 2 bedroom units starting from R242,000 excluding VAT.

Read: Why wealthy South Africans are buying container homes

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Here’s what it’s like to live in a R260,000 South African container home