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How to assemble a flat pack shipping container

Image of flat pack container once assembled

About to build a flat pack container for the first time?

It’s a lot easier than you might think. They come with everything you need to ‘do-it-yourself’ and, with the help of a friend, they can be up-and-running in less than an hour. Online, you’ll find countless tutorial videos, which are a great way to get to grips with the process. Just take your time and, to set yourself on the right track, be sure to follow our simple step-by-step guide.

6 steps to assemble a flack pack container

1. Choose the ideal location

Before it is delivered, you should decide exactly where you would like the new flat pack shipping container to go. That way, you can ensure it’s dropped off in a convenient location – as close as possible to the chosen erection site – and significantly speed up the assembly process.

If this erection site is small or has restricted access, don’t worry. Flat pack containers are made from durable yet lightweight materials. This is one of their main benefits. It’s possible to open the package in the drop-off location and simply carry each panel, by hand, to the place of assembly.

2. Unload and arrange the panels

Once in the desired location, it’s a good idea to lay each panel on the floor, in the correct configuration (i.e. with the base panel in the middle, surrounded by the four side panels). This is a great way to visualise where everything goes and can help to avoid mistakes.

To prevent confusion, it can also help to put the top (ceiling) panel to one side for later.

3. Insert the left and right-hand panels

You’re now ready to start the assembly.

For this stage, we strongly advise using the ‘one metre, one person’ rule. That is, if your flat pack shipping container measures two metres long, it should be a two-man job to lift the panels into place. If it measures three metres long, it should be a three-man job – and so on.

Start with the panel on the left-hand side. Using two hands, lift it off the floor and lower it slowly into the base. You should find that it slots in quite easily. To support the panel (and stop it from falling back down), one trick is to prop it up using a sturdy wooden joist.

Repeat this process on the right-hand side, again using a joist to provide temporary support.

one metre, one person rule for flat pack shipping containers

4. Add the front and back panel

This should be done using the exact same process as described above. Lift each panel using two hands and slowly slot each one into the base. However, rather than supporting the front and back with a wooden joist, they can now be secured in place by inserting a screw into each corner.

Once the screws have been added, you can then remove the joists and put them out of the way.

5. Lift the top panel

The next stage is probably the trickiest, as it involves lifting the top panel above your head. Try to take this step as slow and steady as possible. In our opinion, the easiest method is to rest the edge of the panel on the edge of the structure and carefully slide it across the top. Once you’re satisfied that it’s safe to let go, step inside the flat pack container and gradually manoeuvre the panel – until it clicks into place. Then, fasten it to the sides using the set of screws provided.

6. Add the final touches

Now the structure itself has been constructed, it’s a case of adding the final touches.

Flat pack storage containers typically come with a door handle and locking system, so remember to affix these to the front panel. Before you start to use the container, and fill it with your goods, it’s also worth double-checking that all nuts and bolts are secure and the final structure is sturdy.

Flat pack containers once assembled

Start building your flat pack container today

Flat pack containers are a convenient option for spaces with restricted access and limited storage. Even with no prior experience, most people find them quick and easy to assemble. But if you do need technical support, our team of experts – here at Gap Containers – are always happy to help.

We have over 30 years’ experience in the shipping container industry and, during this time, we’ve helped many people to select and build the ideal flat pack container for their requirements.

So why not get in touch today? To buy yours, or for further assembly advice, either give us a call on 0870 240 9405 or send an email to and we’ll get back to you.


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