Container homes are gaining popularity in Ghana

Many people are reconsidering their building projects because of the new container home trend. The question that almost everyone is asking is, “Are container homes a better option?” 


Container homes are just as they sound. They are homes you can build from steel shipping containers that transport goods in trains, trucks, and ships. You can construct houses of different shapes and sizes by combining two or more of these containers. 

The containers usually come in sizes of 10, 20, and 40 feet. The size of the home you want will determine what containers you should use and how many. Typically, a home with a 10 feet container can provide about 100 square feet of floor space. Meaning. you can use multiplication to determine what sizes to go for. You can easily prepare a good budget with this information.

Building a home is not easy. That is why it’s important to weigh all available options before deciding on the style, and financial commitment. Our goal is to assist Africans in the diaspora to know the housing options available in Ghana.


  1. It is cost-effective. Container homes are more affordable than normal brick homes. They are also low maintenance, which means you don’t have to prepare a big budget to keep your home in good condition over time. 
  1. Containers are readily available. There are over 14 million out-of-use containers that you can convert into beautiful homes, offices, etc
  1. It may be a good recycling approach. Building a home with a container may be a good way to ensure that they do not rust away after they have served their purpose of transporting goods.
  1. They are durable. Because industries use shipping containers to transport goods to far destinations, they consist of steel to protect the content they’re carrying (even under the worst conditions). This makes container homes more durable than normal homes.
  1. They save time. The shipping containers are prefabricated so the building process is quicker and shorter than usual. This makes it a good option for emergency shelters, etc.


  1. Recycling may not be the best option.  Many architects prefer single-use shipping containers for these kinds of homes. Moreover, single-use containers have more shipping life hence, using them for something else is not a better option than using them to ship another set of goods.
  1. They may have structural issues. The roofs of shipping containers are not as strong as the sides. You need to add reinforcements to protect the building. Outside of this, your home can easily cave in.
  1. They may not be safe. Purchasing a container may not come with information on what it previously transported therefore, you may purchase a container that may be potentially hazardous. Developers have found safe ways to treat containers before use but it’s still important to note that this is a risk factor.
  1. Limited space. Because the containers are pre-fabricated, and designed to fit a train, truck, or ship, they come with limited space. Insulation and plumbing alone can take a lot of that space. Some creative developers have found ways to expand the space with excellent container merging designs however, this issue of limited space is still a  challenge for DYI projects and developers without expertise in this area. Building container homes in Ghana can be challenging.


Unlike what you may have heard, container homes are not always cheaper to build or more cost effective than traditional concrete homes. The good thing is that because they are usually prefabricated, they are more likely to be cost effective, however, there are other factors that influence the building cost. These include, the location of the building, the intended size, the overall design and interior finishes. 

The actual cost involved in purchasing the container itself can range from $1,400 (for smaller, pre-used containers) to $6,000 (for a larger, brand new 40-feet container). It is important to note that brand new containers are more costly than older containers. A steel container has a flat metal roof, exterior walls, and a metal frame that can act as a foundation for your home. These features are frequently mentioned as cost savings because extra money is not spent on building these parts (as the case would’ve been for a traditional concrete or wood home). Even though this assertion is true, you may still have to pay for the cost of moving the container from a warehouse or manufacturer to your building location, treating the container, insulating it from heat, and completing other interior finishes.

Apart from these factors, you’ll also have to pay for a parcel of land for your container home. The good part is that container homes can be built on (well levelled) land that may not be appropriate for traditional brick or wood construction. For instance, If the building site is rocky or hilly, shipping containers can be elevated on solid pilings rather than spending extra money for excavation, etc.


Container homes are built faster than typical concrete or wooden houses. Even though container homes are still susceptible to normal building delays, the most basic container home can be built in a matter of days or weeks, depending on the amount of finishing work required by your selected design. More sophisticated homes will typically take at least a few months to complete. If you want your building ready in a day or two, there are companies which can prefabricate the structure offsite before moving it to your land to be erected. These prefab-style shipping container homes are typically smaller in size, but they arrive pre-assembled with nearly everything you need to move in right away.

This is definitely better than building a traditional concrete house which can take months to complete due to bad weather, and other building challenges. 


There are basically two options with regards to building a container home in Ghana: 

  • buying an empty shipping container and using it to design the home you want or 
  • buying a prefabricated container home that fits your style. 

Both options have advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost and design options. 

Buying a brand-new shipping container

If you decide to buy an empty, brand-new shipping container, it will most likely come from a Chinese manufacturer. The Chinese own over 82 percent of the world’s steel shipping containers. They also have prefabricated homes that you can ship to any part of the world including Ghana. It is undeniable that the Chinese Container Home Association (CHA) has taken over the international market.

You can purchase brand new, used shipping containers or even prefabricated homes and import them from China or other real estate companies in Ghana. Because of shipping costs, it is more advisable to buy from Ghanaian companies. With about Gh¢ 40,000, you can erect a sleek apartment or office for yourself. A finely-designed family-sized house may cost around Gh¢ 150,000 or more depending on the style of design. This is more cost effective than building a conventional home in Ghana which may cost between Gh¢ 65,000 and Gh¢300,000. You can contact the following companies for your container home in Ghana.

Buying a used shipping container

Used shipping containers are more environmentally friendly and cost-effective. You just have to thoroughly inspect it to ensure that they don’t pose any health risk. You need to take note of the container’s certification/ product description to determine its durability and other vital information. Some containers are certified to move products internationally, while other certifications indicate containers that are wind and water tight. Containers labelled as “one trip” may provide an excellent blend of value and decent condition.  Avoid “as is” containers  because they are usually used to transport dangerous chemicals. They may also have corrosion, doors that don’t seal, or holes; these are not suitable for home construction.


  1. ArchiDesign Concepts 

This is an international architectural, construction, and design firm that specializes in commercial, residential, and public sector projects.

TELEPHONE: +233 307010236. ADDRESS: no. 9 5th Circular Road, North Labone Estates Labone, Accra EMAIL:

  1. Nest Realty 

This company creates alternative housing solutions by using shipping containers that are sustainable, durable, convenient, and affordable.

Address: Orgle Rd, Accra, Ghana Telephone: +233 55 171 5723 Email:

  1. Karmod Prefabricated Technologies

This is a leading Turkish company founded in 1986. It has since completed projects in over 90 locations worldwide.

WhatsApp: ‎+90 530 322 99 23 Skype: karmod.en Fax: +90 216 304 06 85 E-Mail: Mobile:   +90 530 322 99 23 Phone: +90 216 392 00 02


  • Contact the Metropolitan Assembly (of the region you want to build) for a building permit. You must also apply to the Secretariat of Statutory Planning Committee (SPC) and follow the required procedure. Reach out to us if you need any help.

  • Consider natural light when creating your building design. Steel shipping containers aren’t open to natural light so you must consider integrating artificial light. Include glass doors or skylights to make your interior area appear bright and open. You can buy a high-cube container if the standard space is insufficient. High-cube containers are slightly taller than the standard shipping containers.

  • Make sure your container is in good condition before you buy it. As with any large-ticket item, it’s critical that you look out for dents in the siding, rust on the exterior, and leaks. These are costly to repair.

  • Make a plan for plumbing and electrical installations. You’ll need to find an expert electrician to install specialised electrical systems for your home. You can skip this if you intend to live off-grid. You’ll also need to hire a plumber to connect water and toilet facilities. We can help with this, reach out to us.

  • Plan for reinforcements and treatment (especially for used containers). Shipping containers are made of strong steel. However, certain alterations, such as cutting holes for doors or windows, can make the containers weak. You need to include concrete, metal, or plastic reinforcements to prevent your home.

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