Prefab Shipping Container houses

Rules and Regulations for Prefab Shipping Container Houses

Building a prefab container home is cost-effective and sustainable but it comes with several perks as well.

If you are building your own shipping container home, you might be wondering about what legalities you need to check. Different authorities have different rules and regulations, so you should check with the local authorities before commencing the project at your desired location. You can also hire a house planning consultant who can guide you about the housing rules.

In many countries, shipping container homes are the trendiest living space. Such a concept is being mostly followed by people living in Western countries and ports. Places include Cape Town, China, New York, UK, and Tokyo where container homes are more popular than the other countries across the world.

Notably, living in a shipping container house has multiple benefits. One of its most important key benefits is that it already comes with floors, walls, and a roof.

You just need to hire a good architect or a designer who will help you to customize your container home as per your needs and combine multiple containers into a single dwelling.

No matter whether you are constructing a traditional building or a shipping container home, it is necessary to know the local housing rules. It could create a problem later if you failed to research it in advance. It is especially important when constructing shipping container homes since not all localities have such houses.

In England, a man was told to take down his over $1.5 million house because he did not seek planning permission before building it. To avoid such a situation, always start your project by researching your area. Check whether there are any non-traditional houses or not. If so, someone before you have fought the battle.

If you do not find a container home, it doesn’t mean you can’t build one. Maybe no one has tried before.

Just like another type of home, your container home has to meet certain requirements before establishment anywhere. The following are the things that are taken into consideration before your home is approved for construction.

Structural integrity:

The container house you are looking to build to be structurally sound for the safety of inhabitants as well as other people or neighbours. You will also need to hire an architect and an engineer who will draw up plans for a structurally sound building.


When building a container home in Australia, keep in mind to have all the basics that make for a modern-day habitable dwelling. That includes, plumbing and proper ventilation systems are a must and different jurisdictions will have their minor additions.

Zoning laws:

The legal framework related to container homes for land use zoning is established by states and territories. So, both have different zoning rules. If a particular area does not allow for the construction of your building, then you will have trouble convincing your local authorities to approve your project.

In Canada

The use of land and setting up a new building and its approval is a provincial responsibility. These authorities had been granted to the provinces under the British North America Acts of 1867 and were carried forward in the Constitution Act, 1982.

The provinces have the powers to control the use of land within the boundaries of municipalities and regions, letting the municipalities establish their laws as per the building structure. There are provisions for control of land use in unorganized areas of the provinces. Provincial tribunals are the ultimate authority for appeals and reviews.

In France

There is a code of urbanism, a national law, guides regional and local planning for approvals of building permits. Working in France is far different from England where planners must use their discretion to allow use or building type changes. However, private development like container homes in France is permitted if the developer follows the required minor rules and regulations framed by local bodies.

In Japan

A building’s shape and structure are controlled by regional authorities. Approval depends on the floor area ratio and height of the house. This is because such structures allow adequate light and ventilation between buildings and on roads. So far, Japan does not have any particular rules and regulations to set up a container home. This could be the reason why such homes are popular there.

In Australia

It has multiple territories, all with their local laws, that cover home construction that makes it legal to use shipping containers to build a house. You will just need to get the nod from your local authorities.

In India

The prefab homes have made their presence in some Indian cities like Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jodhpur and Ahmedabad. In 2011, sports instructor Kameshwar Rao built a home for himself with containers in Ramamurthy Nagar, Bangalore. Rao claims it to be India’s very first shipping container home.

Sadly, seeing a prefab-built home in India is still not a common thing. There may be a very few containers which have been converted into personal living spaces. The authorities have not introduced a special procedure to get permission to build a container home for living purposes. So, there are no special laws for it.

It is true that there are no such official rules that one needs to follow before building a shipping container home. However, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has mentioned a few rules and regulations on its website for people residing in the Capital. For the rest of the Indian states, there are area development authorities for all the states such as Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for Punjab, Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) for Maharashtra state. You may check the rules and regulations in the area where you are wondering to establish your prefab container house.

All the land laws applicable to a traditional bricks and mortar house shall also be applicable to a prefab house. These laws are related to passing of map, structure, land and local permissions etc.

Are you planning to buy a luxury shipping container house? But a bit worried about rules and regulations? Don’t worry, you just need to look for a reliable partner to help you identify the best possible solution. Neuvasa, India’s first luxury shipping container homes developer may just be the partner you are looking for, click here to contact us.