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Ask a building inspector – Do I need plans to install a shipping container?

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Hi, I have a piece of agricultural land in Grabouw (4,000m²) and am putting up four shipping containers to use for storage of fruit that will be grown on the plot. I cannot find any information on the internet regarding requirements for plans. Can you help me? – Shelley

Wanna live in a shipping container home?


Hi Shelley, a shipping container is considered as a “temporary structure” and may be placed on your property without submitting plans. Remember, though, that it is there at risk and you could be instructed by the council at any time to remove it or if a neighbour should object or complain. Discuss your plans with your neighbours before you do it, for good friendship.

Got a burning question? Email mariette@hometimes.co.za and we’ll be sure to assist you

Who is Albert van Wyk?


Albert van Wyk of Gauteng Home Inspections and author of The Proud Home Owner has been in the building industry for more than 38 years, having  built many luxurious houses on difficult stands to the satisfaction of very meticulous clients as well as office blocks, factories, cluster developments and townhouse developments. Many of the homes were featured in SA Home Owner and on the TV program, Top Billing.

Albert has extensive knowledge of the National Building Regulations and the NHBRC requirements, and is one of only 40 ITC-certified Roof Inspectors in the country.


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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