21/09/2023 - Shipping Containers

By Huska Cehic

A 5-step guide to prepare a site for your shipping container

One of the innovative ways to maximise efficiency when building a house or office is shipping containers. These metal boxes are sturdy, cheap, and can be used for anything from building a shipping container home to a retail storefront. The only challenge is the prep work.

How to prepare your site for a shipping container?

A lot of site work needs to be completed before delivering your containers to the site. Failing to think through site preparation early on in the project can cause expensive rework later. For example, a shipping container could sink into the ground if the foundation isn’t packed tightly.

Below are a few essential things to consider when choosing a site to place your shipping container.

  • Level and firm ground: This makes getting the shipping container in place more accessible and avoids unwanted tilting, sinking or flipping.


  • No pooling water: Standing water near your container site can damage the container and its contents over time.


  • Minimal vegetation: Plants and tree roots can cause structural damage and make it difficult to level the container properly.


If your site doesn’t meet all these requirements, start working around them. If the ground is not level, you can use blocks to raise the container.

Follow these simple steps to ensure successful site preparation:

Step 1: Getting permits

Before you plan any construction, check with your local and national authorities to determine if you need any permits for placing a shipping container on your property.

Permit requirements may vary depending on your location and the intended application of the container. Have all the necessary building code permits and planning permission in writing when you buy or hire shipping containers.

Step 2: Choosing the right location

Consider where you are going to place the shipping container. Choose an ideal location to avoid future nuisances for everyone involved in the delivery, setup and usability process.

When choosing a location for your shipping container, you must consider proximity to utilities, sunlight exposure and drainage. The ground must be well-drained and levelled to prevent water from pooling around the container. Make sure there is no debris, rocks or vegetation.

Step 3: Determining the foundation type

The type of foundation you choose depends mainly on the intended application, the shipping container you buy and local regulations. Some popular options for the foundation include:

  • Concrete slab: It provides a durable surface ideal for containers used as permanent structures, such as offices and workshops.


  • Gravel pad: This foundation is easy to install and offers good drainage and stability. It is suitable for temporary or portable container structures.


  • Wooden pier: Using piers to support the corners of the container is a common approach – as it provides proper ventilation and prevents moisture build-up.

Step 4: Preparing the foundation

Depending on your chosen foundation type, start preparing the land accordingly. You can hire a professional to prepare the foundation. If required, excavate and backfill the area to achieve a level surface.

Also, install a proper drainage system to prevent water pooling around the container. If you plan to place your shipping container on a gravel pad or pier foundation, ensure the land is graded to direct water away from the container.

Step 5: Mark the area of the container

Once the site is fully prepared, mark the location of the shipping container to help the delivery crew place the container in the correct area. Be sure to keep the container off the ground by using railroad ties under it. This will protect the container from corrosion and make opening doors easier.

Are you searching for shipping containers for sale in Melbourne?

Get in touch with us today! Whether you want to hire shipping containers or are looking for shipping containers for sale, we’ve covered your unique needs at Affordable Containers. We can provide you with high-quality containers for any project so you can have them ready for use.

1300 ACONTAINERS 1300 22 66 82
Get a quote