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Affordable Portable Housing Hawaii

Considerations for Containers and Permitting

Do you need a permit for your office, spare room or storage containers?

For residential- you are allowed a total of 120 sq ft of storage units, not multiple 120 sq ft units, and the county says it is only for storage, not for a workshop, spare room or office. That is the technical law, what you in fact do with your unit is not our business nor is it our liability either. Believe it or not, you can run electricity into the unit so long as a licensed electrician pulls an electrical permit and does the work. No permit is required for the structure itself, but remember, its supposed to only be for storage.

For commercial- generally in hawaii, if on commercial property, a mobile shipping container office sitting close to the ground on foundation blocks is allowed without a permit. To get grid power to it, generally there has to be a permitted bldg on that property. HECO will not run grid power to anything mobile unless there is an existing permanent bldg on that property. There may be exceptions that we are unaware of, but this has been our experience 100% of the time so far. There are commercial landlords that will not allow you to put anything like this on their property, and that is their right, so check first with your landlord if in doubt before ordering your office.

Services and recommendations

We can install just about any door, window, A/C unit- window or split, flooring material, electrical system, partition wall, bathroom with or without shower, industrial kitchen equipment, sinks, cabinets, countertops- you name it. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Home Depot sells a really nice 6' wide pre-hung french door set that is wrapped in fiberglass for around $600 that we feel is much nicer and more functional than any sliding glass door you can name.

For sliding vinyl style windows, the 6x3 and 8x3 units look great on containers compared to say 4x3, 5x4 and 6x4 units. Also, we like single and double hung windows a lot for looks and function. (these units slide up and down vs side to side) They can lend a touch of class and uniqueness to your structure because just about everyone uses horizontally sliding windows in hawaii homes.

We can install exterior siding, but the cost is high due to materials and labor both.

We can install a gable style roof with mild overhang, but it has to be a very small slope so we can transport the unit without taking out bridges and pedestrian walkways. Cost is not real cheap to do this, but we can do it for you if you want that look.

For bathrooms- we recommend placing a wall just inside of the swinging cargo doors and having that be where all your fixtures get their water supply from, and placing vent pipes inbetween the cargo doors and that new wall. Reason is if you ever need or want to access a shower valve or any other plumbing component, its easily accessed by simply opening up those cargo doors and everything is right there. It costs a little more to do that, but the convenience and peace of mind that gives you is well worth it.

Cabinets- we recommend solid wood only. We get them from local chinese outfits whose quality and price is excellent. Particle board will fall apart and crumble in Hawaii's humid climate, and the screws strip out of the doors etc. We do sometimes use particle board countertops due to cost and convenience, but we insist on sealing the underside well for your best possible outcome.

We highly recommend a GE Enduris silicone elastomeric roof coating, which reflects heat and can stand up to ponding water and the sun to greatly prevent rust. It is a no-brainer. Because of our strong promotion of this, most vendors including State of Hawaii and the various Counties specify it on almost every container based purchase now. It is that effective, and holes thru the roof are a nightmare. We often coat the entire container with the product in areas with salt spray etc.

Special concerns and recommendations for N Island Clients:

If we are shipping to a neighbor island and you want any door with glass in it such as a sliding glass door or french doors with glass in the middle of each door- we need to weld the rough opening and either place the door inside of the office on the floor in its original factory packing, or you buy it on your island and do just the final install of that door. Reason is that door will break for sure during shipment.

If we can put all doors and windows on one of the long sides of the container and leave one side unmodified, we normally can ship the unit for YB's regular rate. If you want anything on both sides, you are looking at doubling your shipping and oahu trucking costs due to YB insisting on shipping on a platform. We do not guarantee that we can get thru the front gate with any modifications, but at the time of this update, we have had great success doing that. We can put an A/C unit on the butt end opposite the swinging cargo doors usually with no issue, we paint a piece of plywood same color as the container so its not so obvious to the person at the front gate.

Nothing can go beyond the roof line or extend beyond the exterior walls, so we recess doors and windows, and cannot install a roof system etc. Also- generally speaking, if your container gets damaged during shipment, YB may not pay out for the damage as they do not allow any modified containers to ship unless on a platform, so there is some risk, and we have had some damage incidents and cannot be held liable for that. Platform shipments are fully insured. Some clients have such a long standing relationship with YB that they have been able to recover for damages even though YB had no obligation to cover the damages. We give you the choices and you have to take responsibility for the outcome.

If there is anything you want to install and want to know what the cost is, or have any questions regarding any container structure, call or email us and we will be happy to go thru everything until you understand the costs and your options, as well as our recommdations.