02. Cargo Architecture 101: What You NEED to Know About Building with Shipping Containers

Here's a glimpse at what you'll learn from us in this episode:

  • The top concerns & misconception about building with shipping containers... and how to navigate through them.

  • What makes shipping containers such a fascinating building material.

  • The secret to building FASTER & how that translates into COST SAVINGS.

  • How Three Squared navigates permitting & building code the right way.

  • Container homes VS. traditional homes when they are appraised.

  • The easiest way to avoid exposure to toxic materials.

  • Breck's Project Highlight of The Week: Cass Tiny Home!

For behind the scenes footage, project updates & more, follow @threesquaredinc on Instagram. Find the full show notes from today's episode here. >> Ask us about your project HERE.

“Wow, that [traditional] building took 6 months to frame… and we could have done it inside of 3 weeks [with containers].”


-Leslie Horn (CEO of Three Squared, Inc.)

Show Notes:


  • 0:05 - Introduction to the second episode.

  • 1:18 - Where to find Three Squared’s Instagram & Website.

  • 1:42 - Questions? Submit them directly to us here!

  • 1:56 - Leslie’s introduction into Episode 2.

  • 2:10 - The story of Three Squared’s very first project

  • 3:44 - How many completed & active projects do we have?

  • 4:34 - Breck’s highlight of the week: Cass Tiny Home

  • 6:08 - What you need to know about using shipping containers as a building material

  • 7:50 - General overview of shipping containers and why they make good building materials.

  • 9:16 - #1 Shipping containers are always going to be around.

  • 9:21 - #2 Shipping containers are easy to move.

  • 9:50 - Shipping containers are readily available and standardized.

  • 10:16/10:28 - Pro’s & Con’s: The good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful.

  • 10:40 - Why use containers?

  • 11:08 - A different way of doing things, and the benefits.

  • 13:08 - You can put a building together very quickly.

  • 14:06 - Leslie’s favorite benefit of building with shipping containers.

  • 14:28 - How they can save you time and money.

  • 16:17 - What are the sustainability advantages?

  • 16:25 - Issue of containers piling up, not just in the United States, but internationally.

  • 16:48 - It takes far more energy to melt a container vs. modifying it into a building material.

  • 17:33 - Time invested to meet building code.

  • 17:49 - Design options that make Three Squared’s buildings energy efficient.

  • 18:14 - The unique factor of shipping container structures.

  • 19:04 - Appraisal of Three Squared’s buildings.

  • 20:11 - How do we choose the best containers to build with?

  • 20:20 - Shipping containers are incredibly strong.

  • 21: 21 - Shipping containers are made out of patented Corten Steel.

  • 21:37 - What about rust on shipping containers? Will that affect a building?

  • 23:47 - What about shipping containers that carry toxic materials?

  • 24:19 - Rules and standards for how toxic materials are packed and shipped.

  • 24:54 - Three Squared does not use containers that shipped toxic materials.

  • 27:59 - Final thoughts to close out Episode 2.

  • 28:19 - The top misconceptions about building with shipping containers.

  • 29:00 - The potential to do more with shipping containers.

  • 30: 47 - Why Three Squared is here to stay.

  • 31:44 - What we have in store for future episodes & what you can expect.

  • 32:15 - Click here to contact our team and get advice for your project!