I posted a reply to FrankS idea of using shipping containers on another site. I'm also posting here for feedback. Sorry, no pictures yet. I'm having a problem between Ubuntu, my camera and my files on another power. I'll have to work on that later.
Shipping containers are exactly what I am currently building my new house from.
I welded and bolted two of three 8X40 footers together in parallel. I have arches cut inside between the rooms.. The third container will be added as work progresses.
Here's some of my specs:
Anchored with 3' dia X 6' concrete cylinders on each corner. Shipping containers are sitting on a packed bed of gravel. The gravel provides excellent drainage and reduces heating and cooling costs. The containers are of course steel and will rust.
Pex in the flooring will provide the heat, in the case photovoltaics cannot keep up.
Skylights are made from 6 inch dia, 10 gauge pipe. Each provide light and are designed to blow out in case of a tornado to save the structure and its occupants. (1 sq. ft. per 50 cuft of inside living space)
Polyurethane foam insulation is mixed with recycled Styrofoam insulation. It will be on the OUTSIDE of the containers, including under the floors. Six inches will provide about R-42. The insulation is covered in 4 layers of ferrocement.
Oak paneling on the inside applied with adhesive.
Electrical wiring is THHN and ran through EMT and trays to drastically reduce any fire hazard.
All the lighting will be LED. Samples of led lighting have arrived for evaluation.
4 Kw of solar on the roof. I currently have 940 watts on the roof now to power the construction and cannot use more than 600 watts per hour. Midnite classic charge controller with a 3500 watt outback inverter. A second will be installed later.
Double French doors are planned to be inside the container's doors. The big steel doors can be closed and locked from the inside during bad weather. A few electronics are in the works to automatically close the door just in case...
Here some things to consider:
The containers will probably have to be cut and welded if they are tied together. The primer and paint in the containers are "zinc laden epoxy." So if you want to live past construction, you need a supplied air respirator or at least a good respirator for organics and particulates. Period.
The floors are also laden with pesticides and preservatives.
My containers burned a few weeks after I bought them because I was using them to store furniture and other things. They caught on fire at the end of a very long hot day and I got careless with a acetylene torch while cutting doorway arches. I have over 30 years experience with a torch without anything happening like this before. I didn't like the furniture anyway.
The fire burned most of the paint off as well as creating a layer of charcoal on most of the floors. Now, I'm thinking that was a good thing because the pesticides and paint are gone. The plastic bushings in the doors were the only item I regret having melting. The doors are a bit hard to close.
There you have it in a nutshell. When I get the chance, I will take pictures so anyone with a little experience with a torch and a wire feed welder can build a safe home to live in. My house will be published on the Internet on several sites in the public domain for everyone.
I'll be glad to answer any questions or comments you may have. I'm a bit slow right now because I'm working on my house, so please be patient.