joomla analytics
Select Page


Introducing the one of its kind castle-like structure made with the use of 121 shipping containers

Fortress Obetz is located in Obetz, Ohio this $15 million project was designed in four months and completed construction in June 2017.

The castle like structure is an 18,000 square foot building which serves, as the entrance to the stadium, in addition to housing the front office operations of the Ohio Machine.

In December of 2016 PSE Consulting Engineers, Inc. was approach by Falcon Structures to provide the structural engineering for this unique project.  PSE Consulting Engineers, Inc. is uniquely positioned as a niche company who specializes in the use of modular and off site solutions shipping containers.  Our Principle Engineer Nabil Taha P.E. PH. D who has been a pioneer when it comes to building green

The owners of this project refused to follow the norm of stacking the container on top of each other.  Fortress Obetz wanted to take it to the next level to have the containers standing tall.  Dr. Nabil Taha P.E. saw this as another unique challenge of vertically sustainable construction.

Although one would think that Fortress Obetz would have no structural issues because shipping containers are built to stack nine high and carry 60,000 pounds on a ships deck exposed to the ocean atmosphere.  That you can just easily cut away at the corrugated panel and that the frame will hold. When you start to consider cutting, modifying and removal of the corrugated paneling without reinforcement, the container now is losing its structural stability.  Containers with too many openings and not enough structural reinforcements, will cause the container to fail structurally.

A general rule any time you alter the corrugated panel and to provide the best and strongest structure, you need to add steel beam reinforcements.  In addition, column and roof support will be necessary depending on the size of the openings and roof/wind and snow loads.


There is significant creativity when using shipping containers as a tiny permanent or mobile homes to a large industrial complex such as Fortress Obetz.  You have the choice of recycled containers or prefab containers that can be customized.

Each design comes with its own set of rules and many local building/planning department have not had the opportunity to review drawings for conformance, issuing permits, or conduct inspections.  Building Permits and licensing have become one of the biggest problems when building with shipping containers. We advise you to contact your local building/planning department sooner than later focusing the conversation on the fact that you are contemplating building with modular steel components (aka) Shipping Containers.

Local building departments may require you to employ a structural engineer. Your structural engineer should have experience in both steel engineering and steel-concrete reinforcement. The reality is, that no matter how good the drawings or how simple the design and modifications, many local building/planning departments require a licensed engineer to sign and certify the building plans.


It has been difficult for home owners and builders to understand the importance of an engineer, and the necessity of finding an engineer to certify the project.

Architects and engineers must communicate and work together to:

  • meet the clients’ requirements
  • comply with relevant standards
  • achieve design coherence and safe building.

The process of design development depends on analyzing the problems and providing feedback of the design solutions and options to, and from the entire design team.


Engineering Issues

One issue you have to consider is how specialized engineering for shipping container is – this type of work is not a commodity that can be designed by any architectural or engineering firm. If you search the web, there is really nothing definitive on shipping containers as far as engineering is concerned.  There are a lot of nice pictures, but that doesn’t help a whole lot for determining if a container can take the wind load from a Category 4 hurricane or 10 feet of snow.

  • The main problem is that there is no standard design for the containers.
  • When modifications appear lateral bracing disappears, as does a significant amount of its ability to carry a vertical load.
  • It is necessary to go back and reinforce the various modification in most cases.
  • Containers concentrate their loads on the corners so for most large permanent projects, the use of a slab on grade foundation is not applicable.


Issues specific to Fortress Obetz 

            Design Issues

Time crunch client want to have design complete in a few months

Large 3D and 2D analysis for proper distribution of loads for the entire structure

Extra corner reinforcement due to interior corrugated sheathing and door removal.

Overcoming the uplift on the towers due to wind and lateral loads.

          Building Department

Didn’t trust the Chinese steel manufacture, had to provide evidence of strength and capability, along with an analysis it as a weaker material.

          Construction Issues

Modified and fabricated in Texas and shipped to the site.

Change in openings or parts causing a redesign and analysis of the project.


How to use Shipping container permanent or temporary

They are great for many uses, in particular buildings that need to be wind resistant, earthquake resistant, or blast resistant.  They are very useful in remote areas because they can be hauled in fairly easily on a truck, and assembled on site.

Containers are a valuable modular construction material to be considered when designing your project. They have the structural capability and design.

Artistic Architectural Structures

Homes, Offices & Additions

Workshops, Garages & Warehouses

Cabins & Emergency Housing

Storage Units

Basements, Root cellars, Safe rooms, and Wine cellars


Other Sample projects


Beer garden


Stinger Transport