Do I need planning permission for a converted container?  

This is perhaps our most commonly asked question. It depends on use and the specific conditions of the site.  

90% of our installs don't require planning, that is a using the container as an ancillary garden room / office / art studio / gym, or a caravan spec accommodation unit for personal use. This comes under permitted development rules, which state as long as not a conservation area then the container due to size & shape as long as placed in the correct position, would not require planning permission. And if you want peace of mind, for a small cost (circa £40) you can apply for a permitted development certificate from your local council before you commit to an order.  

Our BS3632:2015 park home models can also generally be used for family own personal use but we do always advise you contact your local authority for advice as each site has its own conditions attached.  

Whilst we don’t handle planning applications ourselves, we may be able to assist with your instructed planning consultant / architect if they have any questions.

What is a standard shipping container size? 

Shipping containers come in a range of shapes & sizes - luckily at CDB we do them all, and if that’s not enough for you, we also do custom sizes on request.  

Here are a breakdown of standard dimensions:

10ft / 20ft / 30ft / 40ft / 45ft

2400mm External
2250mm Internal

Standard Container
2600mm External
2250mm Internal
High Cubed Container
2900 External
2650mm Internal  

For a full breakdown of all external, internal measurements, please see page showing detailed measurements & elevations: shipping container dimensions.

How do you deliver & where do you deliver?

We deliver your converted container using a standard HIAB operated lorry which is more then capable of lifting over small fences, bushes etc. It needs good access to position itself with extendable feet on either side of the lorry while in operation which gives a span up to 6-8m Wide x 10-14m L depending on the size of the container.

If access is restricted, we can arrange for a fully insured lift plan & crane operator to lift the container into position for you. A site survey would need to be undertaken by the crane operator prior to ordering a container which may incur an upfront cost.

In terms of location, our standard pricing includes UK mainland, but we have been known to go much further afield, from the top of Scotland to the south coast.

What about overseas/international customers? Can you export?

Yes, we have exported from the heats of Qatar & the middle east, to the cold temperature of the Falklands Islands. Hence, we can export anywhere in the world to all major ports & destinations. After modification, we certify our containers with new CSC plates to make them suitable for cargo transport by container ships. Typical shipping costs vary country by country but typically can ship to any country worldwide for approx. $2000 -

Can I have a plumbing such as wet-room and Kitchenette fitted in the container?

Yes, absolutely, all our projects are designed and built to your own specification. Whilst we do full design + build, we tend not to get too involved in on-site works so you would need to contact and arrange with a local builder / plumber run the utilities to the container unit - the exact detailed location & type of fittings will be specified during the design phase - typically 15mm/22mm water supply, 40mm for water waste & 110mm soil pipe for effluent/sewage. Note: if going into mains sewage, please check with your local planning authority first as planning permission may not be required for the container, but may be required for connecting into the mains sewer.

Remote location with now access to mains sewer? No problem, there are other options for more isolated installs such as septic tanks and soak away’s.

Can I use my converted shipping container all year round?

Yes, converted containers make excellent spaces all year round. We use a PU spray foam insulation which creates a vapour barrier to prevent condensation, once they have warmed up to the desired temperature they retain the heat very well, and in summer they keep cool.

Whatsmore, our habitable containers manufactured to BS3632:2015 park home spec are certified for living all year round and acceptable on most major leisure parks for such use.

What insulation do you use?

We use Polyurethane spray foam insulation (FIRERATED CLASS I-BS476) which is applied directly to the interior (& exterior if required) shell of the container to create both a vapour barrier & insulate the container.

What are the U Values Ratings?

As all our projects are bespoke, the overall thermal efficiency/performance of the unit or the 'U-Value' depends on the final spec - ie, external cladding, internal wall finish. 

Some typical U values are below based on the PU spray foam insulation only (U value likely to improve when tacking into consideration internal wall lining and external cladding choice)

25mm - 0.84W/m²K - Ideal for containers inside insulated buildings 50mm - 0.437W/m²K - Ideal for Garden rooms, offices etc. [our standard spec] 75mm - 0.295W/m²K - BS32 Mobile Park Home spec (all year round living) 110mm - 0.225W/m²K - Full building reg spec,

Do you offer a design service?

We sure do at CDB every project is bespoke in design & build to the customers exact detailed specifications. We have a 3 step design process which starts with an initial consultation/sketch - you can even email us your own mock up by using this handy
shipping container layout.

Our second stage is AutoCAD layout with side elevations showing you the exact location, layout & measurements of details such as sockets, windows, doors, partition walls etc. We can revise this as many times as you like until we get it just right.

The final step once the AutoCAD drawings are approved & signed off is the 3D visuals, which whilst not photo realistic but helps you imagine your space & finish materials from 3 different angles.

Whilst we aim to turn the layouts around in 3-5 days and 3D visuals in 7-10 days, this process can often be quicker or longer depending on how responsive the client is to changes & approvals. Furthermore, whilst we do have a small upfront charge for this service (£200.00 ex VAT), we do endeavour to credit this back when placing an order with ourselves.

Finally, whilst the design service is accurate and detailed and has been used to support some customers on applications etc. we do not guarantee/advise that the supplied design be relied upon for permitted development/planning applications. If needed, we recommend you contact a planning consultant or architect to provide such scale drawings & block plans.

What is the typical lead time?

Whilst we endeavour to turn most projects around in 6-10 weeks, the actual lead time depends on the spec of the project. For instance, large full side bi-fold doors & windows can be 8 weeks alone to manufacture from our suppliers, so we will always advise a realistic lead time depending on the spec and current production line capacity at point of quotation. If you need if quicker, do let us know and we will always do our best to help where we can.

Do I need foundations? 

Generally, you don’t full concrete bases/foundations, in most cases concrete slabs, pads, treated timber or portable building foundations on each corner are suffice. That said, every project & location is specific the set-up, use and ground conditions so please check before ordering.  

Do you used New or Used containers? 

At CDB, we use both, from 10-15-year-old used containers that have travelled the world carrying various amounts of cargo, to one-shipper/new containers that have often been built in the far east and used once to transport goods.  

All projects are guaranteed wind & watertight and cleaned up cosmetically freshly primed & painted a choice of RAL colours so the only difference is cosmetic, in a used container due to its age and history, it may have a few cosmetic dents here and there, but due to the nature of the supply chain we are unable to confirm the level of dents or provide photos prior to ordering. If in doubt, we recommend, whilst a slight increase in cost that you go for new containers which are cosmetically pristine. Whatsmore, we do offer a external timber cladding option which although freshly primed & painted, avoids any doubt or worry about cosmetic damage etc.

Can you build to full building regs spec?

Should your project require (generally dwellings over 30sqm or commercial over 50sqm) we can build to full building regs spec, however with extras such as increased insulation, SAP assessment etc. costs may increase slightly. Please see our pricelist for further details.

How long to shipping containers last? 

That depends on a number of criteria, namely around environment & maintenance. However, an unmaintained new shipping container in a standard urban environment can will be cargo worthy for around 25 years. Remember these things are built for the harshest of conditions around the world, in saltine sea environments and transported from port to port with heavy loads.

What paint do you use/offer? 

We offer any RAL colour finish as all our projects are bespoke. The paint we used is a single coat anticorrosive coating, specially developed for dry cargo transport containers, ISO tank containers and anti vandal industrial steel fabrications. It contains zinc phosphate anticorrosive pigment and thus offers a high level of anticorrosive protection in aggressive environments, tested for resistance to BS148 transformer oil for 196 hours at 90˚C at approx. 100 µm.  

Is VAT included / chargeable?

Whilst we deal with a number of businesses as well as zero or reduced rated mobile park homes, all of our prices advertised and quoted or exclusive of VAT. Supplied to Europe to a EU VAT registered business will be treated as exempt. Exports managed by ourselves outside of europe are outside the scope of VAT and thus VAT isn't charged.

In the case of UK supply, most supply will be subject to standard 20% VAT.

Mobile park homes to BS3632 spec are zero rated for VAT.

Accomodation units supplied to caravan spec, that are longer than 7m in length up to a maximum of 20m in length can be charged at reduced rate of VAT at 5%.

Have a question we haven't answered?

Please feel free to contact us at hello@containerconversiondb.co.uk and one of our team members will be happy to help you.


2021 Brochure