How To Build an Storm Shelter From a Shipping Container

If you live in Texas, you maybe well aware of how many tornadoes you get annually. In fact, even though tornadoes impact almost every state in the United States, Texas gets the brunt of it, with 140 tornadoes every year. In such a scenario, having a storm shelter where you and your loved ones can hunker down until the tornado passes is crucial.

Unsure of how to set up an emergency shelter or a DIY storm shelter? You can use a shipping container to do so. Read on to learn how.

1. Zoning

You may have the land available to dig a hole and bury a shipping container in it, but that doesn’t mean you’re free to do so. Depending on the county you are in, the rules will differ.

So, the first thing you need to do is talk to your local state, county, or city zoning office about the laws surrounding building out an emergency shelter. This will remove any uncertainties around placing a modified shipping container onto your property for that purpose.

In some areas of the country, you will need to apply for a zoning permit before undertaking such a task.

2. Foundation

Surprisingly, if you bury a shipping container as-is, it could collapse from the pressure of the earth piled above it. That’s why you must understand how shipping containers are built. A shipping container was built to be stacked, thus, all four corners of a shipping container are load-bearing, and that’s all. So, if you are not building an above-ground storm shelter, you will need to build a platform that distributes the weight of the earth above all four posts evenly.

3. Insulation

If you don’t have proper insulation, then the shipping container will be susceptible to surrounding moisture (even though shipping containers are watertight and windproof). You can use roofing tar, truck bed liners, or plastic tarps. Anything that will ensure that the moisture from the outside doesn’t invade the inside of the container shelter. This unwelcome moisture could make things uncomfortable, very quickly, for temporary residents of the shelter.

Additionally, if food (or other moisture susceptible items) are to be stored inside the emergency shelter, then preventing moisture penetration becomes even more important.

4. Ventilation

Finally, you will need to have a robust plan for the proper location of ventilation, as well as, where to place the shelter’s entry and exit points. This is especially important if the shipping container is to be buried under tons of earth. Lack of proper ventilation could quickly prove to be very toxic or even deadly for the residents inside.

So, always plan for proper airflow as you build-out the container shelter. How will used air be pushed back into the atmosphere, and fresh air integrated back into the storm shelter. This is an important

Next Steps

As you can see, it’s quite possible to build a storm shelter from a shipping container, but it does need a bit of planning and forethought. It’s just not as easy as digging a hole in the ground and burying the shipping container.

If you are interested in getting an emergency shelter made from shipping containers, contact us at Equipments Management Services, we can help with our shipping container modification services. and our large inventory of both used and new shipping containers.

How to Start a Business Using Shipping Containers

There’s lots to think about when you decide to launch a new retail business. First, you’ve got to come up with a great business plan, then find startup capital, build inventory, get registered, and find your employees. Once you’ve got all of that figured out, you still need to decide on a location for your business.

In this post, we’re going to talk about why starting your retail business with a shipping container is the right move. Retail shops are the perfect match for what shipping containers provide, but there are some other benefits as well.

Keep reading to gain inspiration for your new shipping container business.

Starting Small With Retail Shops

The beauty of using shipping containers for retail shops is that they allow you to start small and grow comfortably. Because they’re affordable and take up little space, you really only have to worry about finding a suitable sized piece of land.  Once you’ve done that, you can build up your retail shipping container shop. They’re great for small clothing boutiques or thrift shops. They are an elegant solution to the problem of searching for a retail space to lease.

Getting Into the Arts

If you’re an artist or artisan, a shipping container space will be the perfect way to open up a gallery and showcase your paintings, photographs, wares, or whatever it is that you make and sell. This is one of the more popular shipping container based businesses out there, as other small galleries and pop-ups have shown in other parts of the country. Both Houston and Dallas are home to growing art communities, but space is always hard to come by as an artist. So, get a shipping container and start displaying your work today.

Fine Dining

A new trend in the culinary world is the shipping container restaurant. These are really popular in shipping container strip mall structures. But nowadays you’re starting to see them appear more and more by themselves, just about all around the country.

Its a known fact that Texans love their food!  It’s a great way to start a small restaurant if you’re a young chef and want to focus on building your menu and getting customers into the door. When you can’t find a space set up for your restaurant already, shipping containers make it easy to build a simple kitchen and small dining area.

Coffee Shop

Coffee shops are always better in cozier spaces. As with restaurants, shipping containers are really inviting to the coffee shop business model. You just need a simple space, big enough to fit your coffee machine, seating, and maybe a retail shop. Another perk is that they’re easier to build in bigger cities. You just need a small piece of land and the customized shipping container will do the rest.

Small Office

If you’re an independent entrepreneur in any field, a shipping container or two would make for a perfect office for you and a few other employees. Whether you’re a tax accountant or an architect, a shipping container provides you with ample space to set up a few desks and cabinets.

Start Your Business In a Shipping Container Today

Now that you’ve got business ideas from retail shops to fine dining, you can start creating a business plan for a shipping container based business today! It all starts with an idea and then a space to work in.

To get your shipping container business started, contact us at Equipment Management Services. We’re your one-stop-shop for new and used shipping containers in Houston and Dallas.

Stacking Shipping Containers: How High Can You Go?

Shipping containers have become known for a lot more than just shipping goods across great distances. In fact, lots of creative people have come to use them for many different activities, including reusing containers to build homes and even businesses. The idea of using a shipping container for a living or working space has taken the world by storm, and you want to join in on the wave.

That said, you may want more than one container to build the space that you need. Undoubtedly, you’ve thought about this and wondered if stacking shipping containers would be a good solution to the problem. After all, they stack rather well when shipping cargo across bodies of water; surely, they should be able to do the same for your needs.

Before you start piling up the containers, you need to know what’s the safe limit for containers so you can live and work peacefully in your container structure. This article has the answers that you are seeking.

How High Should You Be Stacking Shipping Containers?

How high you can stack your containers depends more on how you place them. Containers are created to be sturdy structures, but even they have their weak points that, when exploited, can damage the structure or make it collapse.

One of the most important things to know is that shipping containers are strongest at their four corners, where there are posts built into the corners to fortify them. By that extent, their weakest point happens to be along the middle of their long side, which has little structural support and can take less weight than any other region.

The smartest way to stack is to place containers exact length on top of each other. This way, all of the weight from the containers will press down evenly on each other’s four corners and provide maximum support. This way, you can stack many containers together with little problem.

If you have containers of different lengths, make sure you stack the smaller ones under the bigger ones. Contrary to what you might think, if the smaller containers are placed on top of the bigger ones (for example, two 20 ft. containers on one 40 ft. container), their combined weight would press into the weak midpoint of the big container and cause damage or even collapse.

Lastly, make sure you lock down your containers for maximum safety. No amount of good stacking can ensure protection from a hard storm or other natural disasters. So locking your units in place will protect them from shifting or falling off if these events occur.

Get the Containers You Need

Now that you know about properly stacking shipping containers, you can better determine how to build-up your containers to create a safer and more functional home or business.

Next, you just need a place to buy the shipping containers to start building your container structure the way you want.  At Equipment Management Services, we have everything that you need for a price that fits your budget. We offer both new and used containers, storage containers, mobile container offices, and even custom container modification services, so you have a one-stop shop for all your shipping container needs.

Check our site to learn more, or reach out to us to get the containers and services you need. We look forward to building together with you!

Amazing Shipping Container Bar Conversions

Most shipping containers accumulate as waste once they’ve fulfilled their original purpose. Fortunately, more business owners are thinking out of the box- literally!

Where diners and drive-ins once thrived, shipping container restaurant conversions are taking over one by one. Below are some of our favorite picks for shipping container’s that are converted into restaurants and bars. 

Powder Keg

Powder Keg combines everything people love about the outdoors- booze, pets, and rec areas! They feature a long modified shipping container as their outside bar. The modified container is, of course, the concept behind the name powder keg itself. Pumping out great food and drinks for all its hungry and thirsty patrons.

Also,  guests can look forward to ordering from numerous food trucks during much of the outdoor season. Customers can also enjoy patio games and party vibes under the spread of twinkling lights all the way to midnight. 

The Powder Keg’s unique look and functional container design is made possible by Equipment Management Services Container Modification services based in Houston Texas

Container Bar

If you want to see one of the most popular shipping container bars in Texas, you might want to make your way down to Rainey Street. Bridget Dunlap, who has designed a number of appealing bars, designed Container Bar with local patrons in mind. Shipping containers like this one highlight the best in creativity and resourcefulness. This bar used shipping container modification services to stack seven different shipping containers together.

Container Bar takes green businesses to new heights. The minimalist look and turnkey concept appeals to customers seeking a similar lifestyle.

Once you’re inside, you’ll feel like you are in a chic restaurant, not used shipping containers.

The bar includes a number of cubbies for patrons to enjoy a drink and relax. There are a number of private rooms featuring retro seating, comfy couches, and funky feature walls.

The Pod 

The Pod in San Antonio Texas takes custom container design beyond words. Dining out becomes a novel experience, not just a way to get food.

The custom cooking space utilizes several shipping containers covered in bright coats of paint. They opened with great success a few years back and have since renovated their space to meet the needs of their growing fan base!

The Pod includes a sports bar on the second floor, several outdoor patios from repurposed wood, and a playing field with impressive square footage.

Taco Bell Container Restaurant 

Taco Bell first utilized a shipping container at a film and music festival in Austin, several years ago. The chain introduced classic menu items sold food truck-style from the shipping container. The container opened up on all sides to reveal a fastfood restaurant. 

Now there is a permanent shipping container-based Taco Bell in South Gate California. This place was such a hit, it inspired other fast food chains to seek out restaurants build out of shipping containers. Like Starbucks, who later unveiled a drive-thru shipping container coffee shop. 

Bite-Sized Designs for New Shipping Container Restaurants

Whether you are looking into opening a shipping container restaurant or bar, you will need a space that inspires and delights potential customers.

EMS offers fully customized shipping containers for sale with affordable options and minimal retrofitting needed.

Contact us for a quote on new or used shipping containers to jumpstart your next foodie venture!

Houston Shipping Containers Ready to Be Transported to Their Rightful Owners

Across the Globe: The Evolution of Intermodal Container Transport

In the not to distant past, the movement of even the smallest of goods (like a piece of jewelry or a child’s toy) could take multiple transitions through different shipping containers. These days, however, an inter-modal container can ship a product halfway around the world without ever opening its doors to the light of day.

The evolution of these convenient, adaptable containers is a fascinating one.

Intermodal Container History

The history of intermodal transportation begins before mixed goods containers were considered.

The true intermodal definition includes the transportation of goods across multiple modes of transportation without any handling of the goods themselves. 

To qualify, even roughly, as an intermodal container, a container needs to transport goods and be transported by several means. The modern definition implicitly states that containers handle multiple internal boxes.

The Ancient World

Go back far enough and freight was shipped in whatever happened to hold enough of it to be worth sending off without breaking. Sacks, barrels, and crates all served the purpose of keeping goods together from as far back as 3000 BCE.

Horses carried goods inland to boats and boats sailed short distances across the Mediterranean or other short waterways. The boats were unloaded and the sacks were loaded onto other horses and onward it went.

It isn’t until the 18th century that the idea of stacking containers onto each other created the first need for real intermodal designs.

First Containers

It probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that the first containers transported coal. This is a material needed in bulk at the outset of the Industrial Revolution, and it would, by necessity, look for the fastest routes.

Coal shipping boxes started out as wooden structures called tubs. These moved along canals through England in the last part of the 18th century. 

By the mid 19th century, the tubs would be transferred from a barge to a railway. While coal is a single commodity, the same container being used as both a transportation medium and storage made these tubs the first true intermodal containers.

At the dawn of the 20th century, covered containers made their debut. These could be transferred more easily between the now robust rail system and the emerging roadways.

Developing Standardization

As the transportation mediums scaled up in both speed and size, containers needed to standardize. 

This allowed loading equipment for the containers to be designed. This also allowed logistics supervisors to plan for usable space.

Amorphous shapes were harder to space evenly and could cause issues such as drag and sheer at even the low (by today’s standard) speeds of rail and trucks.

Early containers of the 1920s barely measured more than 5 x 10 feet. They were not sturdy enough for stacking and frequently had sloped and curved ceiling joists.

Major advances in containers built for speed and with a high strength to weight ratio came about in World War II. Military supplies needed to move quickly and the containers needed to weigh less than the supplies inside.

Piggyback transport was used by loading trailers onto rail-car flats. This was the fastest way to move cargo without ever touching it and without cranes.

With cranes, large railway companies began moving dedicated containers onto truck beds as early as the 1950s. 

Containerization

Cargo started to move from country to country and across the oceans. The volume of freight demanded that ports and railways be equipped to deal with containers from all over.

This lead to a standardization of sizes and categories of weight across international borders. The designation of containers, or containerization, gives a total set of dimensions and weight.

The European standard came first in 1933. The standardization of containers were introduced across two categories: heavy and light. Each type also allowed for differences in open and closed type containers. Heavy containers were limited at a mass of five tons, paltry by today’s needs. 

Since 1984, modern intermodal equipment providers have been using containers capable of double-stack transport. 

This technique allows rail cars to carry two containers at once with appropriate safety. Ships can stack containers higher as they have less overall inertia per container. 

Modern Day

Currently, intermodal transportation standards are set by the ISO. These lay out three common sizes based on the 20-foot length increments of ships and rail flats. Though standards exist, they are upper limits, not exact.

An intermodal container might be 20 feet in length but then have an irregular height and width. The height and width doesn’t cause problems when shifting from one transportation modality to another.

The designation of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) makes shipping records quick and easy to approximate. The three common sizes breakdown as follows:

  • high-cube: 40 x 8 x 9 and 6 inches
  • two TEU: 40 x 8 x 8 and 6 inches
  • one TEU: 20 x 8 x 8 and 6 inches

Variations on the height are most common with 4 and 3 inches appearing as a minimum range.

Internal equipment variations also exist. Most notably tankers, which have a standardized size in the outer shell but a rounded liquid container inside. Reefers, or refrigerated units, exist with the refrigeration units inside the container structure.

Finally, swap body containers are intended for free-standing offloads. These aren’t suitable to stack but have folding legs that make them usable without a crane.

Get Equipped

The history of intermodal container types isn’t as long as some technology. With only two hundred and fifty years beneath its belt, this tech has still manage to make major strides in capacity and speed.

If you need intermodal bulk containers for your freight needs, contact us for details on our stock and offerings

Why Do You Need Shipping Containers for Sale in Your Import/Export Business

For millennia, moving goods from one distant land to another has always been either by sea (on boats and ships) or by land (through animal-powered or wheeled vehicles). Recently, another mode of transportation has officially made it on the list—by air. After all, it is undeniable how fast airplanes could go, so it’s no wonder more and more manufacturers are trying out this option.

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