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Gap Containers Blog

How to create the ideal container conversion

  • September 8, 2020
Choosing a shipping container for a container conversion

Thanks to COVID-19, there’s been a significant rise in demand for container conversions.

Perhaps you require a new garden office? Maybe you need to expand your restaurant to comply with social distancing? Or just wish to create your own UK-based holiday home? We’re all trying to adjust to the ‘new norm’ and shipping containers can offer a practical (relatively inexpensive!) solution. But, for most people, embarking on this type of project can be a little daunting.

That’s where we can help, here at Gap Containers.

As specialists in shipping container conversions, we have unparalleled knowledge and expertise in this area. To give you a little insight, here our talented engineers outline the key factors that you will need to consider and explain how they can bring your ‘container’ vision to life.


1. Establish the facts

The first step is to figure out the basic facts.

For a start, how big (or small) do you need the container conversion to be? Shipping containers come in a range of sizes, from 6ft-40ft. Both single and multi-storey options are available and it’s possible to combine multiple containers – in any configuration you wish – to suit your requirements.

different sizes of shipping container conversion

With this in mind, be sure to measure the installation site accurately. Perhaps even mark out a full-scale plan using tape, to help you visualise the true size of the structure and where it will be positioned.

At this stage, you should also make a list of the basic facilities and features that you would like the conversion to have (e.g. plumbing, electricity, insulation, kitchen/toilets, air conditioning etc.)


2. Brainstorm design ideas

Having established these key facts, it’s time to get creative.

Start to jot down your ideas on paper – however weird and wonderful they may seem! Most people already have a design or colour scheme in mind, usually based upon their personal preferences or their brand identity. But if you’re struggling, Pinterest is a fantastic place to get a little inspiration.

Alternatively, you could look at an aerial photo of your site. What type of buildings are nearby? Is it situated in an urban city or in a rural countryside setting? One clever tip is to match the aesthetic of the shipping container conversion to its intended surroundings, allowing it to easily blend in.

examples of container conversion designs


3. Obtain planning permission

It’s worth pointing out, planning permission isn’t required for all container conversions. For example, in most cases, you won’t need to obtain permission for a garden office. But for some container holiday homes and businesses (e.g. bars, cafés, and restaurants), it may be necessary.

Whilst these are not technically classed as a ‘new development’, they are permanent structures. Therefore, before running full steam ahead with the project, it’s worth doing a little research into the planning rules in your area and – if needed – start the application process early.


4. Determine your budget

This is, arguably, the most important factor that you will need to consider.

Once you get started, it’s very easy to get carried away – perhaps adding extra features and design options that you didn’t necessarily have on your list at the start. So, figure it out. How much do you wish to spend on the container conversion? Look at your finances, perhaps even seek the help of a financial advisor, and determine your absolute maximum budget for the project as a whole.

plan for shipping container conversion and the final conversion


Time to recruit the container conversion specialists

Considered all the factors outlined above? Great, the next step is to contact our experts.

By combining your ideas with our skills and experience, we can help to create the ideal container conversion for you – both in terms of its aesthetic design and its practical features.

Our conversion service is fully bespoke and we offer an endless range of exterior and interior choices. The process starts with a one-to-one consultation, in which we establish your desired specification (and budget), offer tips on what works and what doesn’t, and come up with a shipping container design that ticks all the right boxes for you. Then, based on the information collected, our engineers will get to work putting that plan into action and make your dream structure a reality.

We’ve worked on countless conversion projects in the past, big and small, and are always excited by the prospect of a new project. In fact, we’d love to hear about the structure you have in mind. So, why not get in touch? To get started and discuss your ideas with a member of the team, 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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