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RE:   Introduction to Shipping/Cargo container use in Residential and

         Commercial projects:

Dear Building Officials, plan examiners and structural inspector:

Thank you so very much for being a big supporters of the green and sustainable construction to avoid destroying our only one planet earth for the next generation, your kids, families, relatives and neighbors and mine.

As we all know, the big rule for sustainable construction now is the Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  That is where the re-using of the shipping container in our project is sustainable by giving the millions of deserted Shipping/Cargo containers a second life.

The good news:

Among the most common construction material, Concrete, Steel and Wood\timber, our Shipping\Cargo Congo Containers are fabricated from the best materials of the above three options, Steel:

1-Steel is the best material known to building Officials, Architects,

Engineers, and builders.

2-Steel is the most trusted building materials in the world.


  • Steel is produced in factor with high quality control.
  • Steel factories are staffed with highly qualified professional such as metallurgists, engineer and technicians.
  • Steel members are connected with welding rather than nails such as wood industry for example.
  • Variation in steel yield and ultimate strength is very minimum. This is because the procedure and method used in producing steel are will studies and executed around the world. This is in contrast to concrete strength. The variation is compression strength is relatively high due to the different ingredients

In contrast to:

Concrete. Concrete is produce in patch plant with way less quality control and in contrast to wood where it contains many natural defects and vulnerable to insects, decay and fire.

  • Even so, our Building Code does allow several types of multistory building from with Wood\Timber as building materials. We chose to better than the minimum and used STEEL.
  • We are using Steel that is not only much stronger by also non-compatible, safer and durable.
  • Also, for connections, we are using welding instead of nails and lag bolts
  • In addition, please see our fire and life safety code check prepared by our Architect. It looks way better than if we had used wood material.
  • Shipping containers are built and fabricated accoding to the most stringent code, ISO, please see copy attached.
  • Just as an example, each single container is analyzed by the computer, built and physically Tested to resist the following loads:
  • Vertical loads:
    • Individual container 58 kips
    • 9 staked high 464 Kips
  • Lateral loads in the short direction of 75 Kips (150 kN)
  • Lateral load in the long direction of 16.87 Kips (75 KN)

It worth mention that the above loads are to resist:

  • The container filled with good. Which is not the case for us. The container in our building will be occupied by few people and furniture, but the majority of the container space will be filled with are which does not weight much.
  • The sway of the ships in the ocean\sea and they are several times bigger than the strongest seismic forced in the USA and bigger than the wind and the seismic loads we have on our building, considering that we have several containers in each direction.

However, since Shipping/Cargo container design is not taught in schools,  colleges or universities, it is understandable that many people will be hesitant to use or approve a project that uses them. I also had concerns that since they are heavy, they may fall and hurt someone.

But, after many years of studying and designing Shipping/Cargo containers buildings, I found that they are very safe. They have been used for many years all over the world for residential apartment complexes, a large variety of commercial projects, office buildings, malls, schools and much more.

The biggest user of shipping containers for Offices, Sleeping quarters, Kitchens facilities, Refrigerators, food processing and storage buildings are our Military in USA and USA military bases all over the world.

The following facts about Shipping/Cargo containers brought me peace and it may ease your mind as well:

First: Designed by the most stringent International Code, ISO Standard       1496.

Second: Tested before use by the same stringent Code, ISO Standard              1496.

Third: Tested again during use in shipping goods with the following

very high loads:

  • Loaded with 59,130 pounds of goods, Live load of 185 pounds per square foot.
  • Stacked 9 high on top of each other.

3-      Survived the shaking of the ships, which is far worse, than any earthquake a building will ever see. Then we take this very strong container and use it for a portion of the design load, it is five times stronger than its use.

Please think about it:

 1-Which of our traditional type of building, Concrete, Steel or                  Timber do we design it for five times the required live load?                     We should be called wasteful and for sure crazy for not using              this resource more often.

2-Which traditional building do we approve every day for use has

been tested twice, once during fabrication and second during use in shipping, before we give the Certificate of Occupancy?

We all know that the answer to the above question is none, only Shipping/Cargo containers have that extra factor of safety.

But, please don’t take my word for it, if the above still didn’t ease your mind please take the time to explore the wonderful videos, websites, documents of sample projects that have been very successful and very safe for millions of people all over the world.

Please enjoy them and share them with a friend so you can help our community to build green and sustainable. Please remember the golden rule of the Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, thank you.

I appreciate the opportunity to be of service to you on this project. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Sincerely yours,

Bill, Nabil, Taha, Ph.D., P.E

Licensed in 47 States

PSE Consulting Engineers, Inc.
250 Main Street, Klamath Falls, Oregon 97601
Tel: 541-850-6300, Fax: 541-850-6233
e-mail:, Skype: nabil.taha55