New Standard For Shipping Container Homes

April 10, 2018

Relevant Buildings Sets New Standard For Shipping Container Homes

CANBY, Oregon – March 13, 2018 – As Portland-Metro housing prices continue to skyrocket and real estate inventory dips to an all-time low, Canby builder Relevant Buildings ( is reimagining livability by giving new life to otherwise unused shipping containers.

“It’s the ultimate up-cycle,” says Matt Melton, Sales Manager for Relevant Buildings. “There are around 5 million shipping containers that land on our shores each year that are abandoned. Instead of using the energy to tear them apart for recycling or just stacking them up, we are using them as literal building blocks for homes.”

Utilizing both 20-foot and 40-foot containers, Relevant Buildings has created four prefab residential models, ranging from 160-900 square feet, that will please the pickiest of buyer. These homes are packed with the most environmentally friendly closed-cell spray foam insulation, exceeding the R-value of new homes by over 10%. And each comes complete with highly efficient mini-split heating and air-conditioning units, giving these small homes an even smaller environmental footprint.

By constructing these in their large shop, they are able to build year-round without fear of moisture issues, which is critical in the Pacific NW. This also gives them the ability to maintain higher quality standards with only a few models in construction at any one time.

One of the reasons that led owner, Carl Coffman, to investigate containers as a viable building option was seeing months of work and tens of thousands of dollars reduced to ashes when vandals torched a wood framed home he built with his sons in Roseburg, OR.

“Sustainability is the number one focus for how we build,” Coffman said. “With the home in Roseburg, we employed as many environmentally friendly building techniques as we could to make the home low impact. However, the one thing we couldn’t escape was fire.”

That got him thinking about how they build and, more importantly, what that means for the future. A future that many scientists say will be much warmer and much dryer. With a steel exterior and by using far less lumber than other modular and stick built structures, these container homes are virtually indestructible.

The main difference between this grass roots startup over other builders is that they have worked with the State of Oregon over the past 18 months to develop standards which allow all of their units to be fully UBC compliant. Translation: Wherever land is zoned for residential structures, one of these fully appointed homes can be placed. This gives potential buyers peace of mind that they won’t have to fight to get permits or try to hide from building officials.

“Instead of an expensive one-off build, we are working to provide an affordable home to those looking for a sustainable building option,” Melton said. “We hope to be the catalyst for legitimizing this building method.”

And, by the looks of it, creating some very impressive homes in the process.