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admin | Category: Modular Container Homes | 15.03.2015
Containers offer several housing solutions: they are faster to build, cheaper and more environmentally sound than brick and mortar. A The containers are stacked then moulded to make flatsBUNCH of discarded shipping containers is being upcycled in Joburg’s northern suburb of Windsor, to create the city’s first shipping container multistorey building. Jika Properties, the biggest owner of residential property in Windsor, which has invested about R1-billion in residential property development in Gauteng, appointed Citiq, one of its subsidiaries, for the construction. Reusing obsolete shipping containers to build hotels, hostels, clinics and community centres is a growing trend in countries like China, Holland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Upcycling means “using a product in its original form without melting it down to create a new product”. Shipping containers become obsolete when they are no longer 100 percent seaworthy, but are still strong and usable. Durable steel“Steel shipping containers are manufactured from cor-ten steel, a group of steel alloys that were developed to eliminate the need for painting,” says Citiq. The complex, in Countesses Avenue, joins numerous other blocks of flats in the traditionally working class suburb. To build the three-storey complex, 21 steel containers, each measuring 2,5 metres by 12 metres, are being used, to create 15 units. And by making use of something that is already manufactured, there are enormous cost-saving implications for a country with a huge housing backlog. The external walls will be insulated with 80mm thick polystyrene and plastered with 35mm thick plaster before being painted. Green features will be a heat pump with a 5 000-litre hot water storage tank on the roof of the building.
ResistanceBlake says at first the Windsor community was up in arms when residents saw containers being moved on to the site. It took some persuasion but eventually the Windsor community was won over, realising that the development will add value to other properties in the suburb.

Journey of exploration“This has been a journey of exploration,” says architect and urban designer Michael Hart, whose firm’s design was chosen from seven that submitted proposals.
Single shipping containers can be seen around Joburg, where they have been converted into spazas and Vodacom shops, creches and classrooms, but so far a container building of several storeys has not yet been built in the city. Callidus Capital alleges Deepak International said these steel shipping containers near the Yellowknife airport contained $18 million worth of new diamond cutting and polishing equipment. A Bay Street financing firm is looking for $15 million in rough diamonds and a missing shipping container that may hold diamond cutting equipment worth $18 million. The company loaned Kumar the money to buy two empty diamond cutting and polishing plants from the Northwest Territories government. Callidus says Kumar put up the diamond cutting equipment as security for loans and told the lender the equipment was stored in shipping containers near the Yellowknife airport. A lawyer for Deepak Kumar told Callidus Capital Corporation that rough diamonds worth $15 million were in a secure location in Yellowknife. But Bowra said the local man, Darwin Rudkevitch, told him that at the time he moved the equipment, there were five containers.
Rudkevitch said one of the containers a€” possibly the one with the high value equipment a€” was removed from the site sometime in September 2014. The day before Callidus and Bowra found nothing but junk in the four containers near the airport, Deepak International's lawyer sent Callidus's lawyer an email saying Kumar was willing to put up rough diamonds worth $15 million as additional security in exchange for more time to find another financier. Bowra and Callidus have demanded that Kumar reveal the location of both the equipment and the diamonds. This means that the building is being constructed with a “greater environmental conscience”. A 12-storey container hotel was built next to Heathrow Airport in London; locally, a student hostel in Simon’s Town, in Cape Town, was built with 40 shipping containers. Each unit can easily house a compact three-bedroomed flat, with kitchen, single toilet, bathroom with toilet and shower, combined dining room and lounge, and a small verandah.

A second advantage is the speed of construction, at three months compared to the conventional 18 months for a similar building. The wiring and plumbing easily fits into groves in the container walls, so no chasing of walls is needed, another cost- and time-saving measure, explains Blake. Operating like an air-conditioning system but in reverse, water will be heated and sent through the building, supplying each unit with hot water. Besides, once complete, the building will look exactly like its neighbouring blocks of flats in Countesses Avenue. There was also resistance in the city council, and the company had to persuade the building inspector of the practicality of the construction method.
Callidus says they turned out to be 'full of junk:' used equipment left behind by the factories' former owners. When Callidus opened four containers last fall, all it found was worthless office furniture and equipment. When he bought the plants, the government certified him as a northern diamond manufacturer.
He admits the company didn’t consult the community because it didn’t think twice about the use of the unusual materials.
An affidavit filed in a lawsuit says the high value equipment may be in a fifth container somewhere in Yellowknife.

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