Re-Use of Shipping Containers

Isn’t it good to know that the shipping industry is playing a role in recycling natural resources? While the thought of reusing shipping containers for emergency housing after a natural disaster caught the imaginings of 8th graders I worked with in a recent “Future City” contest proposal, DeMaria Design has brought the concept into reality. DeMaria’s hybrid design for a Redondo Beach container house uses conventional stick-frame construction combined with eight repurposed steel shipping containers to form a two-story home.

“For me as an architect, the challenge has always been how to give my clients the highest level of design while still keeping the projects on budget,” says Peter DeMaria, one of the country’s first architects to incorporate steel cargo containers into residential designs. His Redondo Beach container house, located in Southern California, won the American Institute of Architecture’s Excellence in Design Innovation Award in 2007.

DeMaria tells me that the shipping containers were purchased locally from a Los Angeles area supplier with consideration given to original fabrication, age, condition, and even the previous cargo shipped within the container.

The containers were retrofitted off-site, before being assembled on-site to help further reduce labor costs during installation.

With the large number of shipping operations located around the New York/New Jersey area, this technique may be a worthy consideration in the re-building of the eastern sea board communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Redondo Continue Reading…

No Harmonization for Combustible Liquids in the US

On May 30, 2012, the DOT rescinded an April 2010 ANPRM regarding Combustible Liquids. The DOT was soliciting comments whether to consider harmonization of the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR) applicable to the transport of combustible liquids with the international transportation standards as seen in the UN Recommendations.

The ANPRM was to invite public comments on the amendment to the HMR, and make recommendations on how to revise, clarify or relax requirements to facilitate transport and still ensure safety.

Under the HMR, when packaged in non-bulk packagings, a material with a flash point of 100 -140 oF may be reclassed as combustible liquids and are not subject to the HMR when transported by highway or rail. These materials ARE regulated as flammable liquids when transported by vessel under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code and by aircraft under the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions (ICAO Technical Instructions). In addition, there are some exemptions for combustible liquids when transported domestically in bulk quantities.

The classification system in the UN Recommendations has no combustible liquid category or hazard class. The domestic regulation of these materials is in conflict and may be confusing to both domestic and international shippers and carriers of flammable and combustible liquid shipments.

The Results are In

The majority of the commenters opposed harmonization and elimination of the combustible liquid classification and expressed support for the non-bulk and bulk Continue Reading…