NewLiving Container Homes | Frequently Asked Questions - New Living
Frequently Asked Questions that will assist you in determining if a container home is the right option for you
banks, finance, municipal permits, building accreditation, guarantees, warranties, standard and custom designed homes, insulated, how long does it take, home, customise a standard design, building plans, cheaper to build, container home, building methods, shipping container
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Frequently Asked Questions

Will banks finance it?

Right now most banks don’t finance container homes. ABSA might on a case by case consider financing container homes in South Africa, but don’t count on it. Unfortunately if you want to build a container house, you will have to do it cash, or consider a personal loan.

Do you need municipal permits?

Yes for permanent fixtures. Because there are elements like plumbing and electricity involved, you need the municipality to issue you with the relevant documentation.

For non-permanent fixtures this could vary according to you preference of non-permanent building method, and alternative electricity and plumbing options. We advise that you always check with your local municipality before you commence with building, alternatively we can consult with you to make it easier.

What building accreditation do you have and need to comply?

The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) regulates the quality and standards of the building industry. Our building teams are all accredited.

Secondly, we make use of structural engineers to assess soil conditions and any structural implications when we consult. Accordingly, you are issued with the relevant certification from the engineer as well.

Finally you need an Occupancy Certificate from the Local Council which is submitted by New Living on your behalf.

What guarantees or warranties do I have?

There are two types of warranties or guarantees to take note of:


This pertains to the actual products that were used on the finishes of your home. Here the warranties are specified by the manufacturing company.

Building Quality (Latent) – Latent and Patent defects.

Patent defects will be dealt with immediately and this pertains to things like when a window is cracked when installing it for example.

Latent defects will have a period of 5 years from completion and the guarantee is held with the contractor.

What is the difference between Standard and Custom designed homes?

Standard designs are designs which we already drafted. We often refer to them as ‘on demand’ houses. These pre-designed homes are the quickest to build because we have a simple methodology and process in place to get your home up as soon as possible.

Custom designs refer to homes where that have unique requirements that fall out of the set of Standard plans that we provide. Often at times, people want to build bigger homes or the surroundings of the land require a different type of design. In these cases we will consult with our clients and still stay true to our vision, which is to supply a creative and stunning solution that is affordable.

Will the home be insulated?

Yes. All homes are insulated to protect you against the harsh South Africa weather.

How long does it take to erect a home?

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Can I customise a Standard design?

If you want to customise our current Standard designs it can be done, but it will have an impact on the costing.

Can I provide you with my own set of building plans?

This won’t be advised but it could be possible. We won’t just show you the door if you have already drafted plans, but we need to ensure they are achievable when using our building methods. In most cases there would be some tweaks required to the current plans that you provide us with.

Is it cheaper to build a container home than using other building methods?

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Will my home look like a shipping container when it's done?

No. You have various options on the finishes of your home. If you like the robust look of a container, you can choose to keep it like it is, but generally nobody will be able to tell that you used container conversion as a building method.

Can I build a container home in my back yard?

This depends on whether there is sufficient access for a big truck to off-load a container. Often times people forget how big a container is and that you need good access for a large truck and the container to fit. If you have a big enough yard and enough access to where you want the container house to be built, then the answer is yes.

How much do shipping containers cost?

The 12 meter shipping containers can cost anything from R25 000 to R50 000 depending on the condition and where in the country you live. In-land regions tend to pay much more for shipping containers due to the cost of transporting them to the central regions of South Africa.

Where in South Africa can New Living build container houses?

Although it is possible to build anywhere in the country, building schedules do determine the feasibility of building outside of regions that is close to our head quarters in Port Elizabeth.

Can I build a multi-level house using containers?

Yes you can, however you will need a structural engineer to issue a certificate to comply to building regulations. Containers are stacked 8 levels and higher when being shipped over seas, so they are structurally capable of being used for multi-level homes as long as an engineer ensures that the integrity of the container is not compromised.