On a recent trip to Uganda it occurred to me, after reading an article on shipping containers, how resourceful developing countries truly are. With such harsh economic burdens for many of its citizens there is a pull towards efficiency, great ideas can emerge from lack of resources, making do with less.

Try to imagine building a shop with a shipping container! A store perhaps? Well that is exactly what these guys did. During the remainder of my stay I made a point of photographing every example I could find. Here are a few below.

shipping containers

budget construction




cheap structures







Above, we have a mobile phone shop, a small cafe combined with an additional roof, some shade and refrigerators, no doubt! Finally a store, when mounted on level ground with a lean-to roof makes a perfectly secure/dry store.

To make a habital space using conventional construction methods, costs tend to skyrocket before you even consider the internal layout. This idea of repurposing a structure can be of huge benefit to any project.

Take a double decker bus using the same philosophy and you have a sound integral structural space this time with two floors and no need for the additional roof, (unless you want to increase insulation, a link to a recently repurposed bus for a school EKKL did in 2017 click here.)

These two floors give you an incredible amount of room. Once you take out the seats and encasing covers for the wheels the possibilities are endless. A recent internal design pictured here made it possible to create two good functioning spaces on different floors.



In Uganda I also noticed businesses sharing a single shipping container. This seemed to be  pretty standard design throughout the country where one business only needed a small space to operate.

building homes from shipping containers





Of course, the advantages in reusing old shipping containers are much more significant in reducing cost. Many of these containers are made to be shipped for single use. Globally we are realising the impacts of wasteful, single-use items such as aluminium cans or plastic bottles. The impacts on our environment are truly devastating.

Search the web, take a look at some of the possibilities of reusing and repurposing unused structurally sound containers or buses. The benefits speak for themselves.

Are you worried about planning permission, maybe how to transport, purchase or renovate one of these structures? Get in touch today to find out if we can help.