Cardiff houses homeless in shipping containers

image taken from Cardiff Castle building overlooking Bute Park in Cardiff, Wales
Cardiff Castle overlooks Bute Park, one of the few areas in the centre Cardiff that haven’t been transformed in recent years

Thirteen brand new homes created from converted shipping containers are set to be introduced later this year as a temporary housing solution for homeless families in Wales. Cadwyn Housing Association is fronting the scheme on behalf of Cardiff Council, with the aim of tackling some of Cardiff’s rising homelessness.

The scheme is being jointly funded by Cardiff Council and Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme. New temporary accommodation made from shipping containers will soon offer innovative high quality living for homeless families in Cardiff.

Seven two-bedroom homes will be provided, comprising two combined containers of 40ft and 20ft, as well as six one-bedroom homes, made from one 40ft container. The standard layout of the containers will offer a living area with open plan kitchen, one/two bedrooms and separate bathroom. Each container home will benefit from solar panels and a sprinkler system. Residents will also have use of a communal area and the two bedroom units will have access to a safe play area for children.

Shipping containers are a cost effective way of providing energy-efficient homes. The homes have a greater level of flexibility than traditional build property, and the benefit of being available for relocation and reuse in other locations in response to changing demand for housing.

The project will provide a supervised construction training programme that uses local people to help kit the containers out with all the amenities needed. This scheme definitely has the potential to grow in Cardiff and Cardiff Council plans to launch eight more shipping container homes at another city site. Similar schemes already exist in Merthyr Tydfil and Wrexham.

While these shipping container homes are being introduced to tackle homelessness, elsewhere there is a growing trend for their use as portable office space. A basic shipping container in the UK can be purchased for around £9,000 including the basic shell fitted out with insulation, interior and exterior paint, electrics and installation. Prices range from basic to bespoke high end versions, costing around £35,000. These luxurious units have air conditioning units that heat and cool, wireless remotes, sliding doors, LED lighting systems and underfloor heating.

If you’re thinking of transforming a shipping container into your home, you may not need planning permission, as they are usually seen as non-permanent structures. However, is not the case in all local authority areas or if you are planning on siting shipping containers in a residential area, near a road or junction, or where neighbours are likely to be unhappy. To avoid expensive mistakes, always check with your local planning authority before going ahead with any amendments to your existing home or creating new living accommodation.

It is always advisable for a Chartered Surveyor to advise and oversee any major structural change on your property or land.

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