Shipping Container Home – Guatemala

A shipping container home in Guatemala is a viable solution to the country’s dire housing landscape. According to recent statistics, almost 1.2 million homes are needed in a country with a population of about 14 million.

The number of households that lack permanent dwelling units is not the only issue that the government currently faces. The present condition of housing in Guatemala is considered sub-standard, because most houses are temporary forms of settlement made of adobe, wood planks, corrugated metal sheets and palm thatching. For households who lack even the most basic shelter, they had to pay more than half of their monthly income for rent, or if they cannot afford that, co-locate with other families in already crowded living quarters so rent would be more affordable.

This housing problem is aggravated by Guatemalan’s lack of access to land or legal tenure. This means that a significant portion of the population live in properties either owned by the government, private companies or “danger zones”, areas that are prone to floods and other natural calamities because they are located near river banks and ravines (where margins of unused land are considered public property that may be revoked by the government by virtue of eminent domain).

A shipping container home Guatemala addresses not only the people’s problem with housing, but also with land tenure. Because shipping container homes can easily be assembled and disassembled, temporary to medium-term housing can be provided to eligible households until the government or the private landowner concerned would need their land for other uses. In short, a shipping container home Guatemala can fill in the gap that traditional construction companies cannot. Even better, housing projects based on repurposed shipping containers addresses the problem three ways: They provide more permanent and stable shelter to needy families; they can efficiently utilize interim land in favor of those without access to residential lots; they address the present shortage of housing units in the country.

On top of repurposing end-of-life shipping containers into something that appropriately addresses the issue of homelessness in Guatemala, the move into this rather novel “cargotecture” will help alleviate worldwide problem of post-consumer trash. Granted that decommissioned shipping containers can easily be salvaged for further processing and fabrication of other metal-based consumer products, reusing shipping containers as foldout dwelling units is an efficient alternative to salvaging them which would require intensive energy and additional labor. Decontaminating the containers, refitting and repainting them are less labor and energy-intensive than melting them down and converting them into other metal-based items.

Most important, compared to traditional residential structures, a shipping container home Guatemala would be more affordable since these decommissioned containers are close to, if not already, zero book value. Putting them up does not require significant time and labor (as opposed to traditional construction), so the overall cost to the eligible household, assuming amortization is an option, would be within the budget.