FAQ on shipping container structures

Welcome to FAQ page.  Here you will find answers to many of your general questions concerning shipping container structures.  We hope that most of your queries will be answered.


If you have additional questions or would like to see questions/answers added to this FAQ sheet, please contact us.


Our goal is to provide our clients with a model of living conditions, indistinguishable from traditional designs. Blocks Modular is committed to providing the best structures possible at the most affordable prices available on the market today!

We emphasize:

  • Standardized floor plans
  • Factory module pre-fabrication
  • Product volume production

Our team of engineers and architects will provide you with an efficient, standard design using shipping containers as the basis for the structure. Our product is green, cost efficient and lets you generate cash flow quicker due to the reduced construction timelines.

  • Our prices are lower than traditional construction
  • Our project completion timelines are significantly shorter
  • Modules are built in an indoor controlled environment

Yes, although we do not recommend too much customization as a large part of our business model is to lower business expenses by creating standardized modules and maximizing efficiency of construction.

It depends on the size and type of your order. Longer and more complex designs inevitably will take longer to complete.
Example: A site office can be delivered within a few days if it’s one of Blocks Modular’s standard models and is in stock. It can take a few weeks if the model needs construction.

Depending on your location, your product will be shipped using rail, sea or truck (in most cases). They have also been known to travel by helicopter or large cargo planes for remote areas.

For modules used in larger projects, delivery time will depend on a number of factors including but not limited to:

  • Project distance from factory
  • Project construction timelines (i.e. the phase of construction the project is in)
  • Location of project
  • Type of transportation required to ship product

Yes we can. We have a staff of highly trained construction managers ready to bring your project to fruition. We can also fulfill a consultant role if you have your own staff or contractor ready to work.

North American city councils have somewhat a negative view on ISBU housing. Times are changing though and most municipalities are looking for every opportunity to encourage “Green Development”. Blocks Modular approaches the city planning department with a thorough, well thought out, building plan.  Our engineering and architectural designs will comply with all regulations required by your city. Already we can see Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto and Montreal embracing the shipping containers housing solution. This model has been popular and prevalent in Europe for the last two decades.

Yes, you can have your own color on any product purchased for the self contained or portable modules. All colors are picked by you or your designer. If you are leasing a product from Blocks Modular, the colors will be pre-determined (Blocks Modular’s company colors). If you are purchasing a building then you will pick the siding material and color.

Shipping Container & ISBU's (8)

An ISO container is a standardized reusable steel box used for the safe, efficient and secure storage. It also makes it easy to move materials and products within a global containerized intermodal freight transport system. “Intermodal” indicates that the container can be moved from one mode of transport to another (from ship, to rail, to truck) without unloading and reloading the contents of the container.

ISBU is the acronym for Intermodal Steel Shipping Unit. It’s an ISO+ shipping container shell that is not used for shipping, but the steel frame is used for residential or commercial storage and/or construction.

* International Standard Organization

Not true. Our modules are built with the same regulations for insulation that a traditional structure would require within your area. We use a variety of materials to help cool or warm up the module.

Depending on your city planner’s requirements and your own needs, your building can have the “raw” shipping container look or it can look just like any other traditionally built structure. Blocks Modular strives to have its products look and feel like a normal construction project.

Because shipping container modules are:

  • A very strong structure made from Corten steel.
  • Lowering your cost per sq. ft. compared to other traditional structures.
  • Made from up to 85% recycled steel, and fully recyclable.
  • Reducing the surplus of containers in our harbors, ports and warehouses.
  • Easy to develop standardized floor plans.
  • Easy to mass produce.
  • Easily shipped (ISO standards)

  • They are made in standard sizes (common lengths are 20ft. & 40ft.)
  • One ISBU can support over 400,000 pounds of weight on top of it.
  • One ISBU can hold 60,000 pounds inside the container.
  • Can be stacked 7 units high WITHOUT additional structural support.
  • Earthquake, Fire, Hurricane, Sound & Vermin Resistant

A 20′ standard container will hold about 1,150 cubic feet.   A 40′ standard container will hold about 2,400 cubic feet.

A “standard” can be either 20′ or 40′ long, but they are all 8′ 6” high.  A “High Cube” refers to a container that is 9′ 6” tall.

Structure & Codes (11)

Self-contained units like storage and sites offices do not require much site preparation, provided there is firm ground to place units.

The site may require minimum preparation as to keep your building leveled and serviced.  Larger structures like multifamily units do require site preparation such as the foundation and utility installation.

No. The container itself is made of non-corrosive Corten steel. The interior of the ISBU module is completed with insulation, framing and drywall.  It is also covered with siding or other exterior material. This gives the overall product a very high rust resistance.

Insulation depends on your project location. Blocks Modular will comply with regulations governing structure insulation (i.e. R ratings). Most of our construction will use some form of spray foam. Storage and site offices requirements are significantly lower and may not even require insulation. Check your local building planning office to find out more about the regulations in your area.

Building codes usually require 8′ ceilings. An ISBU is 8.6′ tall and a High Cubes ISBU is 9.6’. Our ceiling will vary from 8’ to 9’ depending on the product and your choices.

We may work or consult with you to obtain all necessary documentation, including your building permit from the city’s building department.

As part of developing your project, Blocks Modular can work with you to arrange for your site survey.

Once Blocks Modular begins a project with you, our products are made to comply with all regulations in your area (i.e. insulation ratings, fire ratings).

Yes, ISBU Homes, either single units or multiple units connected, can withstand 100 MPH winds on a foundation, or 175 MPH winds when easily anchored with pylons. …extremely solid in Tornados or Hurricanes.

Absolutely. Depending on the final design you have chosen for your foundation; your structure can have lower levels. This basement will be built just like any other traditional construction. Certain foundations such as screw piles would not contain a cellar.

You can expect that your structure will last as long as any traditional construction. There are studies being currently conducted that points to an increase in life expectancy for shipping container structures. (More details will be provided as information comes forward)

Yes, that is one of the great advantages of using shipping containers to build buildings. The ISBU construction system is ideal, should a parcel of land be rezoned for a larger structure. Simply remove the outer cladding and add the necessary additional modules. We recommend that you know the desired end result ahead of time so our team can plan ahead for your requirements.
It’s a better, more cost effective option compared to tearing down and rebuilding!

Storage & Site Offices (9)

Your square footage is unlimited. Containers can be stacked and tied together to create a very flexible storage system. Let us help you to assess your storage requirement.

They are sealed and have a built-in locking system that includes as much as 5 different ways to lock on the factory door.

All our products can be leased and purchased.It all depends on your needs. Speak to staff to receive your quote.

Blocks Modular is primarily based in Canada, but we will help you develop you project anywhere in the world.

A shipping container is considered a temporary building. It is always prudent to contact your local government and speak to a city planner to stay within your local bylaws.

Yes they can. Minor modifications such as partition walls can be requested upon ordering your product.

We recommend that you speak with your city building planner to learn if any other bylaw exists which may require you to have additional permits.

Blocks Modular maintains units throughout the term of the rental period. If you need maintenance, simply give us a call and we should be able rectify the problem.

Blocks Modular can provide you with a blast resistant storage unit and site office with a PSI rating varying between 1 to 8 PSI. Speak to a senior partner to have your project assessed. W can provide you with the proper protection, including higher PSI ratings.

Professionals & Contractors (3)

Indeed you can. Contact us via e-mail or phone to begin a dialogue with one of our senior partners.

Blocks Modular normally does not use or buy designs from exterior sources. Blocks Modular can make exceptions to this policy by having you and our team work together. Our business model requires us to distant ourselves from customization. It’s Blocks Modular’s goal to promote our standard models.

You must be a licensed contractor to operate your own construction site. Blocks Modular will provide you with the necessary team to complete your project. By using Blocks Modular’s staff, our expertise can increase your savings (i.e quicker construction timelines, benefits of wholesale purchasing). If you wish to complete the project using your own team, speak to a senior Blocks Modular partner to discuss your options.

Financing (6)

Prices for our products are divided into two categories

  1. Self-contained units, storage units and site offices have flat prices and are available on our product page.
  2. For multifamily apartments, workforce camps, hotels, etc., you will be required to speak to one of our senior partners to receive a quote as there are too many variables.

For self-contained units such as storage and site offices, payment is due upon delivery of the product (an invoice will be provided with the delivery).
For larger projects, payment will be negotiated on a per project basis. The general rule though, is that 50% of the module’s cost must be provided before our factory can begin work. The other 50% of the payment due is given upon delivery.
We place the funds in a trust until the project’s completion. Once customer satisfaction is achieved, these funds are released to Blocks Modular.
We suggest that you visit our financial page for more details or contact one of our senior partners as traditional financing such as mortgages and leases may be available.

Yes you can. If fact CMHC will insure our products just like any other property. Mortgages can be obtained to finance the purchase and construction of the modules.

The best way to get involved as a financier for Blocks Modular projects is to contact one of our senior partners with your intentions. You can also apply by filling out our expression of interest form available on our website.

Because of our shorter construction timelines and factory assembly, your costs are significantly reduced. You can also begin to generate cash flow on your property quicker.
Blocks Modular also has an affiliate/partnership program that allows you to create your own corporate entity and supply other businesses and the public with self-contained modules (i.e. storage units or site offices). Speak to a Blocks Modular staff member to learn more about the: Affiliate Program.

We offer a buyback program on all our products. The versatility of our modules allows us to refurbish them quickly and easily. Each module you wish to sell will be appraised by one of our employees.