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Container houses

Luxury living in a container? It may sound ridiculous at first, but it is possible. Rising housing prices are motivating people to find cheaper alternatives. And one such alternative that is gaining in popularity is shipping container homes. These can not only be cheap, but also luxurious, spacious and environmentally friendly.

7 minutes of reading

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What is a container house

A container house is a type of building created by converting large shipping containers into residential or commercial space. Container homes offer sustainability, affordability and design flexibility. They can be built quickly and adapted to different architectural styles. However, it must be taken into account that even container homes are subject to building regulations.

Container houses and legislation

Container houses are mainly subject to the rules of the Building Act. The first thing you will need is abuilding notice or permit. The exception in this case is for buildings smaller than 25 square metres and less than 5 metres in height and three metres in depth placed on a building plot where a house for living or recreation is already standing. However, this is not possible in areas considered to be listed or in areas of archaeological importance.

In other cases, a building notice or building permit must be obtained. The notification will be sufficient in the case of a container house intended for housing or recreation. In this case, the maximum size is limited to 150 m2, the height to two storeys and an attic and the depth of the underground floor to three metres. In other cases, you will need to obtain a building permit (you will also need a building permit if you are unable to get your neighbours to agree to the building).

Tip: If you are looking to buy land to place a container house, it pays to get the help of an attorney. We will provide you with a complete contractual and legal service related to the purchase of the property. We will handle it within 48 hours, flawlessly and professionally.

What you need to supply for building permits and notifications:

  • Parcel details,
  • details of the planned construction, its purpose and extent,
  • the expected date of commencement and completion of the construction,
  • the planning permission, which you must obtain in advance from the site location
  • binding opinions of the authorities concerned (such as the Ministry of the Environment or the National Heritage Institute),
  • the binding opinions of the owners of transport and technical infrastructure (this includes the connection of the building to power lines, water supply, etc.),
  • project documentation (drawings, technical solutions, etc.),
  • a draft plan for the inspection conditions of the construction,
  • a declaration from the construction manager (if you are rebuilding the containers on your own),
  • a location drawing containing the consents of the persons concerned (e.g. neighbours and persons with easements) – this document is only needed in the case of a building notification.

The main difference between a building notification and a building permit is that a building notification is easier and faster to process. Unfortunately, it is not available in all cases, and especially in situations where your neighbours and other affected persons do not give you written consent.

Energy intensity

When building a container house, you must also take into account its energy performance. All new buildings must have a building energy performance certificate or PENB. This shows how much energy the house uses to run and therefore determines its energy performance and the associated environmental burden. You need to pay particular attention to the thermal performance of the house, heating, water heating and cooling. Newly built houses must not have an energy performance higher than class B (i.e. they must have almost zero energy consumption).

Tip: If your container house has an energy reference area (= external floor area) of up to 50 m2, you do not need an energy label.

But with a container house, there is no need to worry about energy consumption. It can easily be converted to low-energy or even passive. The overall result depends primarily on the design of the façade. But other factors that also play a role are: orientation to the cardinal points, the use of renewable energy (e.g. in the form of solar panels) and the simple shape of the building (which is guaranteed for containers)

Advantages and disadvantages of shipping container houses


  • Sustainability: container houses convert new or discarded shipping containers into something new, an eco-friendly form of upcycling that reduces the need for new building materials.
  • Affordability: Compared to traditional homes, container homes tend to be more cost-effective (especially when using discarded containers).
  • Fast construction: Container homes can be built relatively quickly because the basic structure is already in place.
  • Design flexibility: With customization, container homes can be tailored to suit your style and needs.
  • Modularity: shipping containers are modular building blocks that make it easy to expand or customize living spaces. You can build your house in sections.
  • Relocatability: container homes can be designed to be transported to different locations.
  • Strength and durability: shipping containers are designed to withstand the rigors of transportation, making them very durable.

We can help you solve the problems you have

Whether you need help with buying the land on which to place the container house, registering it with the Land Registry or anything else, we are here for you. We can provide you with a full contractual and legal service related to the purchase of the sale of the property. We can do it within 48 hours, flawlessly and professionally.


  • Insulation and comfort: Containers are most often made of steel, which can lead to temperature extremes. Proper insulation is therefore essential to make them habitable year-round in our conditions
  • Size limitations: the dimensions of shipping containers can be limiting in terms of interior space. Therefore, if you want a large house, you will need to get more containers.
  • Design limitations: the industrial look of shipping containers is not for everyone and extensive modifications may be required to achieve the desired aesthetics.
  • Permits and regulations: Even if you use shipping containers for housing, you must comply with all building codes.
  • Specialists and services: plumbing, electrical and other systems may require specialized installation. This will make it harder to find tradesmen and you will probably pay extra for their work.
  • Transportation costs: If containers need to be transported to a remote location, shipping can get quite expensive.
  • Limited space for windows and doors: Adding windows and door openings is more difficult and costly because of the steel construction of the container.

Where container homes are sold

Some companies offer ready-made container homes, including wiring and insulation. However, if you want maximum freedom in design and the lowest possible price, building a container house yourself is worthwhile.

You can purchase shipping containers from a variety of sources, including

  • Container suppliers: many companies specialize in selling new and used shipping containers.
  • Ports: shipping containers are usually available at major ports. In the Czech Republic you can find ports where containers are handled in Melnik or Ústí nad Labem or you can travel abroad to find a container.
  • Online bazaars. However, be sure to inspect the containers thoroughly before buying.
  • Auctions: shipping containers can sometimes be found at auctions Check local auction listings or websites for upcoming events.
  • Shipping companies: shipping companies themselves may also sell containers. However, these will usually only be retired containers that are no longer suitable for shipping.

Tip: Even with a container house, you cannot avoid a proposal for entry into the Land Registry. We will help you with the drafting so that everything is in order the first time and you do not miss important deadlines or lose money.

What to look out for when buying

When buying a shipping container, consider the following factors:

  1. Condition: shipping containers come in a variety of conditions, including new, used and already converted to a container house.
  2. Size: Shipping containers are available in a variety of sizes, with six-foot and 12-foot containers being the most common.
  3. Price: prices can vary depending on factors such as size, condition and where the container is sold.
  4. Delivery: consider the cost of shipping the container to the desired location.
  5. Licensing and Regulations: Study all regulations and conditions for placing containers on your property beforehand.

Don’t rush into the purchase, think things through properly first, or even get a professional to help you. After all, you are buying your future home.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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