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Are Shipping Container Homes Legal in South Carolina?

shipping container house

In an age of unprecedented housing shortages, many people are turning to atypical housing solutions like shipping container homes. For other people, it may be a lifelong dream to convert a shipping container into a home. Sadly, these types of homes may not be allowed everywhere.

For instance, are shipping container homes legal in South Carolina? Yes, but with some unique caveats.

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Legality of Shipping Container Homes in South Carolina

The state of South Carolina has no laws that prohibit shipping container homes. However, this doesn’t mean you can just go grab one and set it up—your county might have regulations or restrictions. In fact, Beaufort County recently voted to ban shipping containers. Most counties will allow shipping container homes, though, provided they meet local building codes and zoning standards.

This means your shipping container home will have to meet all the same building codes that a regular home would. This applies to walls, foundation, plumbing, wiring, and more. Be sure you have all the relevant info for building inspectors to verify when you have your inspection and turn in your paperwork.

Understanding the rules you must follow is vital. If you miss something, inspectors can halt your construction, force you to make changes, and even make you tear the project down and restart properly. Doing things right the first time will save you a lot of time and money!

person handing over building permit and helmet
Image Credit: DmitryStock, Shutterstock

Pros and Cons of Container Homes

Like all homes, shipping container homes have their pros and cons that might make them perfect for you or not feasible at all. Let’s check out why you might want to get a shipping container home, and why they might not be for you.

  • Affordability. Shipping containers are significantly cheaper to purchase and turn into homes, especially if you put them on cheap land.
  • Customizability. Shipping containers can be adapted to fit nearly any conceivable floor plan, but you have to factor special additions into your budget and work plan.
  • Can be relocated. Regular homes are almost impossible to move, but shipping container homes can be relocated just like mobile homes.
  • Faster build time. While traditional homes can take months to construct, shipping container homes can be made in just a few weeks in an offshore manufacturing facility.
  • Durability. Shipping containers are already built to withstand wear and weather and making one into a home lends extra durability.
  • Low maintenance. These homes require little in the way of maintenance and are typically easy to clean.
Container House
Image By: Ezzolo, Shutterstock

  • Limited space. While you can have larger shipping container homes made, standard homes are rather limited in floor space compared to traditional homes.
  • May require special work. Shipping container homes are an atypical choice and not all contractors are licensed or experienced enough to handle that type of work.
  • Susceptible to extreme temperatures. If you don’t insulate it properly, a storage container home can get very hot or cold.

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Shipping container homes are a choice of desperation for some and a dream house for others. With endless customization options at the cost of floor space, you can have a storage container home built at the fraction of a regular home and in a fraction of the time. They are legal in most of SC, although you will still need to meet all the usual building codes you would with a regular home.

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Featured Image Credit: Tillo2015, Shutterstock

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