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  #1  
Old 22-04-20, 01:19
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Default Shipping Container Parts Storage Layouts

Hello All,

I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

Has anyone a parts storage setup in a shipping container that you are happy with - and would like to share?

What size shipping container did you buy?

There seem to be some good deals lately on the prices of shipping containers.
I want to consolidate a number of parts vehicles to make my paddock look a bit tidier. After some vehicles are disassembled the parts will could be stored in a shipping container. Items to be stored are things like differentials and bulky body panels like mudguards (fenders), doors, windscreens and wheels. Plus one or two good chassis.

Engines and gearboxes will be stored in my shed.

I am thinking of making a multi-tier stepped rack to stack the differentials on.

To be able to move heavy things I would like an overhead "I" beam which a chain block can be suspended from. I would also like to maintain a corridor so I do not risk life and limb every time I want to retrieve a part.

So 3/4 of the space would be racks and shelving - not piles of unsorted detritus. There would be a walk-way either along one side or centrally.

Has anyone set up their shipping container like this?

Does it seem achievable? What other ideas would you like to add to solve your parts storage issues?


Kind regards
Lionel
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  #2  
Old 22-04-20, 01:38
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Greetings
I used to have a 24ft van body that I set up with shelving units down both sides as well as across the back.
If I recall, I built my own shelves from lumber approx 24” deep. That gave me a nice wide 4ft aisle down the center which doubled from time to time as floor storage for heavier items like engines etc.
Key is manoeuvrability, I used flat dolly cats with casters to be able to roll heavy items within the van body.
This way I could at least get them to the rear door to pick with a lift or man handle into a trailer or what have you.
Recently I purchased a 40ft high cube which is 9ft high inside.
I will likely do something similar again with 24” deep industrial redi-rack running down both sides floor to ceiling.
One of the first things I will likely do is to install lighting down the center to see what I have ...
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Old 22-04-20, 02:03
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Phil Waterman Phil Waterman is offline
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Default Shelves, shelves, shelves

Hi Lionel

Though I don't have a shipping container, when I built my new shop a few years ago I spent a lot of time figuring out storage for the 2nd floor.

Worst option no shelves, end result stuff one layer deep on the floor.

Option I went with, 3 layers of shelves 2 feet between layers, shelves 4ft wide with isle 3ft apart with main isle down the middle. The ide of the intermediate isle was the everything was only two two feet from isle. Now the first fill of storage the shelves filled up, and the intermediate isle got engines on rolling base or other easy to move stuff.

So with a shipping container I'd probably go with shelves 2 feet wide down sides.

Cheers Phil
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  #4  
Old 22-04-20, 04:19
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Hello All,

Thank you Chris and Phil for your insightful replies.

Phil are you describing a mezzanine type of level in your shed? Also known as partial second storey.

I have three options running through my head at the moment. Two of which are the Shipping Container instead of a mezzanine. The main limiting factor of the mezzanine would be the cost of structural steel and flooring.

The third option would be another shed. Living on acreage does have one or two benefits.

With a mezzanine it would be a lot of expense providing storage for parts that really just need to be kept out of the weather. That is why I thought of a shipping container.

There is a fourth option: I have two tray-back or flat-bed 1.5 ton trucks in the shed. With something like six steel posts and a number of horizontal joists each truck could have a deck where things could be stored. The deck would be raised above the truck bed. Once the vehicles can move under their own power each truck could be moved in and out of the shed. The trucks are parked nose out to the roller door by the way. So the area above the cab would remain unobstructed.

There is a fifth option: it is not mine .... it goes something like this..." how about you have a big clean up and get rid of all that rusty greasy old junk".

Kind regards
Lionel
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Old 22-04-20, 04:27
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Lived in them, worked in them, stored stuff in them and have two in the yard right now.

The door latches on the bottom make it difficult to put a good ramp to transition small casters over. The dimensions are for the OUTSIDE so with the corrugations your useful interior space is a bit reduced. But they are pretty darn moisture tight. I put some tape over the vents on the inside and run a dehumidifier. No problems with high humidity or rust on my stuff. You only need to support the corners. Some people put cribbing in the middle, but that's not needed. I'm still waking up here, so maybe tonight I can elaborate more.

Matt
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Old 22-04-20, 06:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew P View Post
Lived in them, worked in them, stored stuff in them and have two in the yard right now.

The door latches on the bottom make it difficult to put a good ramp to transition small casters over. The dimensions are for the OUTSIDE so with the corrugations your useful interior space is a bit reduced. But they are pretty darn moisture tight. I put some tape over the vents on the inside and run a dehumidifier. No problems with high humidity or rust on my stuff. You only need to support the corners. Some people put cribbing in the middle, but that's not needed. I'm still waking up here, so maybe tonight I can elaborate more.

Matt
Thanks Matt,

Look forward to hearing from someone with lived experience of shipping containers.

Kind regards
Lionel
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  #7  
Old 22-04-20, 07:05
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Hello Chris and Phil,

Shelves and racking - hear you loud and clear. I am currently in the transition stage of making up for 10 years of poor storage.

I had those cardboard pack press galvanized paper thin five tier shelves. Every project had hours of inbuilt down-time and offered risk to life and limb as I fossicked for what frequently proved an elusive part or tool.

After one prolonged attempt to find something and after having some stuff in a pile shift I reached a point of no return. I saved up for proper industrial pallet racking and the rectangular cubed steel shelving.

I took every thing off the old flimsy gal shelves and whacked it into the new pallets and shelves.

My next task is to buy some of the base-board supports that go under sheeting to make more shelves.

Once everything single thing is off the floor I will go through everything one shelf at time, until I have stuff sorted, labelled and with its own spreadsheet entry.

There is nothing more frustrating than knowing you have a specific tool. Then when you go to use it - somehow it has disappeared. Then more time is lost trying to find it. Enough. Once the support bars are back home and installed the times will be a changing - for the better.

Shelves and racks are great!

Kind regards
Lionel
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  #8  
Old 22-04-20, 18:40
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In some of the rougher containers over in Kandahar we had wood studs jammed floor to ceiling. Basically wedged in friction fit, then hung plywood. This was sometimes done for an easy to use man door as well. That way you didn't have to fight the main doors. But then in the desert we didn't have to worry about humidity. Because once you started drilling holes in a container it was no longer seaworthy and somebody in the Army got upset with you. So sometimes for mini-spit air conditioners we would run them through the plywood front wall too.

We usually had steel angle welded up into shelving units with heavy plywood. Worked fine for all the generator or vehicle parts. I have some where I'm at work now. I'll try to get some pictures shortly to show you.

At home I have two with the common walls cut out forming a larger temporary shop space. I just moved them from my old home to the new place and they aren't set up yet. I have to build a roof over the whole mess. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get the seam between them to be water tight on the roof. I would have a pond and it would drip. I had begun welding steel studs to the interior, insulating and hanging plywood. Something I plan to finish up next month.

Matt
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Old 23-04-20, 01:52
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Further to my early comments.
Ultimately, I have a plan to purchase a second sea can identical to my first.
I would like to put them beside each other with a space in between, maybe 12-14ft or so. Overall this would be a footprint of 28/30ft x 40ft. I am thinking of adding a roof to this structure so the center would act as extra storage or even shop space in the future. Initially I'd put down gravel but eventually perhaps a concrete slab, especially if it turned into a semi indoor/ outdoor work shop area. This in in addition to the 1200sq ft shop that I already have, which is full btw...
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Old 23-04-20, 04:17
Matthew P Matthew P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris vickery View Post
Further to my early comments.
Ultimately, I have a plan to purchase a second sea can identical to my first.
I would like to put them beside each other with a space in between, maybe 12-14ft or so. Overall this would be a footprint of 28/30ft x 40ft. I am thinking of adding a roof to this structure so the center would act as extra storage or even shop space in the future. Initially I'd put down gravel but eventually perhaps a concrete slab, especially if it turned into a semi indoor/ outdoor work shop area. This in in addition to the 1200sq ft shop that I already have, which is full btw...
That's pretty popular in the States. There's even some enterprising pre-fab metal shed/garage makers who sell kits sized for mounting to shipping containers. The center space is great for large equipment because of the clear span and height.

Matt
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Old 23-04-20, 04:21
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Chris, If you slab it first, you container shouldn't sink (in the wrong place) and have water running back to the covered area. We have an old set up like that at work. The roofs are rotten where the shelter sits on the edge of the containers.
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Old 23-04-20, 06:12
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I was very fortunate to be able to acquire base units and rails for a compactus rolling shelf set up that was no longer required by a city book store. I came away with a truck load of the stuff.
The units are six feet long and about 32" wide. I installed 17 foot rails in a 20 foot container and built shelves on a number of base units which leaves me with a walkway down one side and one empty space that can be opened up between any of the rolling shelf units. It is the optimum use of space as it only has one lengthways aisle and one crossways. The 3 foot shelving at the far end is fixed.
I would not have a container for storage without a roof of some sort over it. this is for two reasons. One is that there is no runoff and water will inevitably pool in some areas and the other being a bad tendency for containers to sweat and promote surface rust on any unprotected steel or iron. I once opened a container in Melbourne that had been packed in the UK and of course had to pass through the tropics. it looked like someone had hosed the underside of the roof.
A friend packed his workshop into a container in Darwin and had it shipped to Victoria where it sat for some months. When he opened it the rust had really taken hold.

David
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Old 23-04-20, 06:23
Paul Singleton Paul Singleton is offline
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Default Permanent structure

In some areas you will be taxed on your property taxes for using shipping containers. It would be something that you should check into first, especially if you put a roof on top of a pair of containers. The tax man would consider them permanent if they can’t be moved.
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Old 23-04-20, 06:47
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Originally Posted by Paul Singleton View Post
In some areas you will be taxed on your property taxes for using shipping containers. It would be something that you should check into first, especially if you put a roof on top of a pair of containers. The tax man would consider them permanent if they can’t be moved.
Hello Paul,

Not sure about taxation of shipping containers here in Australia; or in Queensland. I do know that some local councils will not allow shipping containers on private property. This is something that I have to check with my mob here.

We also have a limit of roof space for sheds on each property. This is not per ... shed per property; it is an overall percentage of all shed roof-space to square measurement of land. If a shed/s exceed that size it has to go before a Environment and Planning meeting with the local council for approval. Yes, and you pay for such a pleasure; even if they deny you permission. Yes, this has to happen even when your property is rated as "rural".

Kind regards
Lionel
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Old 23-04-20, 15:38
Allan L Allan L is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lionelgee View Post
Hello All,

...........

There is a fifth option: it is not mine .... it goes something like this..." how about you have a big clean up and get rid of all that rusty greasy old junk".

Kind regards
Lionel

I don't understand the 5th option?????
In my last clean up I got four piles:
one pile of stuff I'm keeping
one pile I'm not chucking out
one of stuff I have a use for
and one of stuff that might come in handy!
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Old 23-04-20, 16:39
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I lived and worked in 20' ISOs in Bosnia over a winter. The camp also had container-sized modules for the dining hall. While the bright idea fairy will blink and waive their magic wand to make sleeping quarters, offices, etc, they are not well suited for heating and cooling. Someone mentioned rust already .... heed the warning.

The sleeping unit needed a proper window cut into one end. There was a proper swing door on the other. So a crew of locally-engaged-employees sabresawed a square through to the outside. These ones were outer skin, insulation and vapour barrier, and interior wall, with the utilities built around the baseboards and ceilings. Built from the outside in.

The office unit had a lot of foot traffic and floor load. The middle of the floor spans sagged, but the design has no 8' joists only 8' floor boards. Ours had some sort of rolled linoleum. Heating was similarly challenged, with baseboard radiant heat, a 220v plastic laminator, and in summer a small a/c unit and fans.

The dining units were delivered as flats. I think they were made in Turkey. While the floors were ISO dimensions, the walls and ceiling were collapsed for transport. The contractors had to find a crane that was low enough to pass a particular doorway and still be strong enough to hoist an 8' x 20' ceiling while the workmen raised four corner posts to vertical. I think they had a Czech Tatra boom truck.

Finally, outside storage ISOs were no better than outdoor ambiant storage except not exposed to direct rain. Beware of air flow to move humid air without condensing on metal objects. We had plywood map storage racks in ours, and the paper was invariably more humid than we liked. Paper does not like to be dried too many times. The sheets had lots of wrinkles. And yes, the floors were instant junk magnets if there was no clear shelf space.
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Old 24-04-20, 01:44
Lang Lang is offline
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Lionel

I have 3 containers;

A 20 footer with 3 foot shelves along the back for larger items. I park my Jeep in this.

Another 20 footer same shelves with my FIAT Spider

A 40 footer with 3 high 2 foot shelves running along one side starting about 6 feet in from the door. They finish about 6 feet from the end. Across the end there are racks for smaller (jeep and car size tyres). On the right side along the wall are my truck tyres - lots of truck tyres. You could make these more shelves if you did not have tyres. Make sure the first shelf is at least 2' 6" off the floor if you are trying to store heavy axles and gearboxes to get reasonable "grunt" space.

This gives about 2' 6" passage. The reason for starting my shelves in from the door is to give a full width area for any large junk to be brought in and maneuvered or just to put stuff out of the weather temporarily.

The advice to roof the container is very sound as the cheap ones you buy often leak. Some old roofing sheet on a couple of 4x2 pine supports running the full length (Bolt or tie it down!) gives water protection but more importantly drops the temperature as I have measured a sealed one in the sun on a hot day at 65 degrees which will not do rubber etc much good.

Now the real winner. Get yourself a whirly-bird, they are very cheap if you look around. Cut a couple of holes about A4 size in the far end low down. Put some mesh or something over them to stop snakes and other creatures getting in. Put the whirly-bird on the roof near the door end.

This gives you full container circulation and even on the hottest day, inside will be very similar to outside temperature. Most importantly it eliminates sweating and subsequent corrosion that is a real problem with sealed containers.

Here is a photo for people who call a whirly-bird something else. Also a photo of my place with the shed and 3 containers out the back, bottom left two 20 footers with a truck parked between them, north side of the shed the 40 footer with a truck body on top of it. - no problems with Moreton Bay City Council.

Lang
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Old 24-04-20, 03:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lang View Post
Lionel

I have 3 containers;

A 20 footer with 3 foot shelves along the back for larger items. I park my Jeep in this.

Another 20 footer same shelves with my FIAT Spider

A 40 footer with 3 high 2 foot shelves running along one side starting about 6 feet in from the door. They finish about 6 feet from the end. Across the end there are racks for smaller (jeep and car size tyres). On the right side along the wall are my truck tyres - lots of truck tyres. You could make these more shelves if you did not have tyres. Make sure the first shelf is at least 2' 6" off the floor if you are trying to store heavy axles and gearboxes to get reasonable "grunt" space.

This gives about 2' 6" passage. The reason for starting my shelves in from the door is to give a full width area for any large junk to be brought in and maneuvered or just to put stuff out of the weather temporarily.

The advice to roof the container is very sound as the cheap ones you buy often leak. Some old roofing sheet on a couple of 4x2 pine supports running the full length (Bolt or tie it down!) gives water protection but more importantly drops the temperature as I have measured a sealed one in the sun on a hot day at 65 degrees which will not do rubber etc much good.

Now the real winner. Get yourself a whirly-bird, they are very cheap if you look around. Cut a couple of holes about A4 size in the far end low down. Put some mesh or something over them to stop snakes and other creatures getting in. Put the whirly-bird on the roof near the door end.

This gives you full container circulation and even on the hottest day, inside will be very similar to outside temperature. Most importantly it eliminates sweating and subsequent corrosion that is a real problem with sealed containers.

Here is a photo for people who call a whirly-bird something else. Also a photo of my place with the shed and 3 containers out the back, bottom left two 20 footers with a truck parked between them, north side of the shed the 40 footer with a truck body on top of it. - no problems with Moreton Bay City Council.

Lang
Hello Lang,

I would have thought the BCC would be not that supportive of shipping containers in residential estates?

I have two whirly-birds on my house roof and they are good value.

I have a some images still in my head of when I worked in an abattoir to put myself through the first year of Queensland Agricultural College. I can still clearly picture the gantry or overhead rail systems they used to break beasts down.

When I retrained into the disability sector ironically I came across a similar gantry system in people's homes. That is why the concept of an overhead "I" beam instead of wheeled trolleys sprang to mind.

I have a trailer with a "ute" crane on the back so it could be reversed to a container and the heavy stuff deposited on the floor. Where it could be picked up by the "I" beam. Maybe I could even make a mini-circuit of a gantry system - where the horizontal system is shaped like an elongated "O".

My father in law has three - not sure how long - shipping containers with metal "C" beams forming the roof structure and corrugated sheeting as a roof. There are two motor vehicle sized gaps in between the inner containers. However, he lives on a farm within a rural shire council who tend to be a bit more lenient towards structures.

I have a month or so to explore different options. I have a weatherboard Old Queenslander on concrete stumps house. I closed off one corner of the front verandah. Now the new room needs new floor joists and a new floor put in. Plus, a ceiling installed so the new room matches the rest of the house. Then walls lined with cladding. Plenty of time to think though storage alternatives in my head.

I can picture my trailers under one section of the space between shipping containers. This is instead of it being parked out in the weather.

Oh well a To Do list is forming: contact Council and my F-i-L

Kind regards
Lionel
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Old 24-04-20, 07:32
maple_leaf_eh maple_leaf_eh is offline
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A supplemental roof is always a good idea. ISOs get scrapped because after they have been on the bottom of huge stack 8 or 10 high on the open deck of a pitching cargo carrier ship, they develop cracks and stresses. A timber frame and sheet material roofing skin will keep rainwater from pooling and furthering the deterioration.

Someone mentioned ISOs falling under military lifecycle material management.

As I recall, that is a task assigned to Canadian materials technicians. I believe that during and after the UN missions in Bosnia, the Mat Techs were given care and scrapping duties. So yes, just like managing a properly "built" building, managing the "built-in" infrastructure is important. The best example of unplanned construction I know was the British field print press' container was installed in the middle of a huddle of ISOs inside the Banja Luka Metal Factory. when the press needed to be replaced or was needed somewhere else, the carpenters and structures folks realized it had become a structural member of a multi-level installation, and could never be removed without unbuilding everything around it.
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Old 24-04-20, 08:00
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Lang, Thanks for the info. I never knew what those things were called. And I would never have guessed a Whirlybird. I've just sent an email for a quote.
Cheers.
BTW I have two shipping containers for storage. Both are insulated. Only the ends of the roof rust. The corners of course are steel as well but the insulated containers are made of stainless and aluminium I've never had any condensation, but do open them up often.
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Old 24-04-20, 12:40
David Herbert David Herbert is offline
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Before I moved to my present location I had three 20 foot demount-able truck box bodies for storage. These had roller shutter doors at the end and also a personnel door on the side. They were made of quite thick plastic coated plywood with a translucent fiberglass roof. Although they were not insulated they were much better than ISO containers (and cheaper). I never had trouble with condensation which is an achievement in the UK. They came with fold down legs so that the truck could be driven out from underneath and I originally intended to remove the legs but the covered space underneath proved too useful for storing big stuff. I wish that I had brought them with me when I moved but I didn't think that I would need them then.

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Old 24-04-20, 13:30
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Instead of shipping containers my neighbour buys old buses that are running. He figures you can move the bus around your property easier than a shipping container . He recently got a 1968 Leyland bus ex Brisbane City Council , its huge, 83 passenger . The Leyland Diesel engine is 11 litres and it runs like a Swiss watch. The price of the bus is around the same as a shipping container.
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  #23  
Old 24-04-20, 16:37
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Tony Smith Tony Smith is offline
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It would pay for itself in the long run if you swiped your MYKI card every time you went in to fetch something.
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Old 24-04-20, 17:27
Mike Cecil Mike Cecil is offline
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Lionel,

We had three 20 foot containers at Gunning, NSW. Two were mine, with shelving along one wall, walkway along the other. The third belonged to a friend who stored his Jensen in it for several years before taking it to the UK & restoring it. Purchased them in Victoria and used them to move everything to Gunning when we moved in 2000, so useful for transferring 'stuff' as well as static storage.

Never had any problems with rust or moisture, spiders or rats. I sometimes let off a insecticide can 'bomb' inside to be sure to eradicate any spiders I had not found. The containers were there for 10 years without any extra roofing - good intentions to roof them over but never quite got around to it. Each one was supported on a concrete block at each corner.

One was sold to Qld with the Dingo packed inside; the other two went in the clearing sale. It was the cheapest storage I've ever had: all three sold for more than I paid for them 10 years earlier.

Mike
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Old 25-04-20, 01:50
Lang Lang is offline
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Mike


How often do you need to move your container around your property?

Every bus I have ever seen being used for storage looks like some derelict Steptoe and Son junk pile. A container outside still looks like a nice square box even if it is a bit rusted after 20 years while a bus sitting there will be most unattractive.

Anyhow to each his own.

Lang
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  #26  
Old 25-04-20, 14:33
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Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lang View Post
Mike


How often do you need to move your container around your property?

Every bus I have ever seen being used for storage looks like some derelict Steptoe and Son junk pile. A container outside still looks like a nice square box even if it is a bit rusted after 20 years while a bus sitting there will be most unattractive.

Anyhow to each his own.

Lang
Yes that's true but my neighbour likes to tinker with anything mechanical , he waterproofs the buses and he keeps everything looking neat and tidy. He actually sleeps in a 1959 Austin bus that runs, the Austin is clean and cared for. He isn't married of course.
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  #27  
Old 29-04-20, 12:39
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Hello All,

I made initial contact with the local council today. The contact being one of those general enquiry - central numbers. The ones that take down your details and your request for what information. This is then sent to the relevant department - who may or may bother to ever respond.

Little steps at time...

Kind regards
Lionel
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Old 29-04-20, 13:05
Lang Lang is offline
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Lionel

I know you like to do things properly but my approach would be "tell them nothing take them nowhere"

I would just set my container up and if and when they said anything you could string it out forever with reams of correspondence on claims about temporary storage, requests for regulation variation (great ploy that takes forever), protests and chucking their letters in the bin.

What are they going to do - put you in jail? By the time and if, they ever got around to forcing a removal by getting a tilt tray at your expense to remove (they can't confiscate) the box you would have had a couple of years of good use and have it removed the day before their truck arrived.

Probably not good advice as this is rebellion more than most people would extend to but it is great sport if you can stand the stress! Volunteering to put your head on the chopping block only encourages the bastards.

Lang

Last edited by Lang; 29-04-20 at 13:12.
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Old 29-04-20, 13:48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lang View Post
Lionel

I know you like to do things properly but my approach would be "tell them nothing take them nowhere"

I would just set my container up and if and when they said anything you could string it out forever with reams of correspondence on claims about temporary storage, requests for regulation variation (great ploy that takes forever), protests and chucking their letters in the bin.

What are they going to do - put you in jail? By the time and if, they ever got around to forcing a removal by getting a tilt tray at your expense to remove (they can't confiscate) the box you would have had a couple of years of good use and have it removed the day before their truck arrived.

Probably not good advice as this is rebellion more than most people would extend to but it is great sport if you can stand the stress! Volunteering to put your head on the chopping block only encourages the bastards.

Lang
Hello Lang,

Yes I hear you - well read.. unfortunately my block is looked over by the road and has new estates popping up - we were on the outskirts of town ... Plus the road is now a connection point for other townships. We were in the country ... then the town has grown.

For example, I lit a within regulations - size and height . - pile of branches next thing the local fire brigade turned up due to some one in the new estates seeing smoke. No this was not recently and especially not during a fire ban. Being ex-bushfire volunteer I now contact "Fire Central" and now notify them of my intention to burn.

Oh - did I mention about looking at perhaps three shipping containers with spaces for trailers or a working area in between them with a roof . Also asked about the alternative option of more shed space. Just in the research and possible alternative stage. Establishing parameters and courses of action.

Most of the local containers being advertised are only 20 feet. I was thinking the 40 foot option that other people have mentioned in their replies.


Kind regards
Lionel
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1940 Chevrolet MCP with Holden Built Cab (30 CWT).
1935 REO Speed Wagon.
1963 Series 2A Army Ambulance ARN 112-211
Series III ex-Military Land Rovers x 2

Last edited by Lionelgee; 29-04-20 at 13:53.
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  #30  
Old 29-04-20, 13:54
Lang Lang is offline
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Lionel

Good call. Run your own race.

I remember my mum saying when I was stopped going to the movies with my mate Alan

" Just because Alan is going does not mean you have to. If Alan jumped off a bridge would you jump off the bridge?"

Mother's logic!
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