If space is limited at your construction site, renting shipping storage containers that you can stack allows you up to 2x more space vertically, while conserving ground space to no more than what a single container takes.
When construction space is tight, you don’t have the room to store as many materials and equipment you need. So, you have to pay someone to constantly go back and forth bringing them to the jobsite, which wastes time, money, and productivity.
Plus, space limitations may force you to forgo having a mobile office onsite. This leads to needing to travel to conduct meetings and less site control, making it more difficult to keep your construction project on task and costing your company even more money.
In this article, we’ll look at why stacking containers reduces the cost and stress of limited space without losing shipping container space.
How Stacking Shipping Storage Containers Maximizes Space
Renting storage containers make it easier to access equipment and materials, so you don’t have to pay someone to retrieve them every day. As a result, your construction company saves time and money and becomes more productive.
Meanwhile, mobile office containers provide a safe, comfortable office environment onsite for superintendents to oversee the construction site. This gives you the ability to respond quickly to any problems while ensuring the project is kept on track so you can keep your clients happy and maximize your profits.
Renting a shipping container or mobile office for your construction site has many great benefits, but with limited spacing, you may have to choose between the two.
Luckily, you can have both a storage container and a mobile office onsite or double up on storage containers to get twice as much storage using the space reserved for only one container.
For example, stacking two 20-foot shipping containers at your construction site allows you to keep your most used equipment, such as heavy tools, in the bottom container and then store any other tools in the top container — especially those that aren’t used as frequent or won’t be needed until much later.
When you stack your containers, you only use the space that one container would take up while still enjoying the cubic storage feet of both containers.
This lets you have the site control of a mobile office and the convenience of a storage container even when your construction site has limited space. So, your construction company gets to save time and money while improving profit and reputation.
Tips for Stacking Shipping Storage Containers Safely
Stacking containers requires careful attention to safety to reduce the risk of injury and death for the public and your crew and ensure your stored materials are not damaged.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set guidelines for safely stacking cargo containers. It’s always your construction company’s responsibility to ensure you’re compliant with OSHA guidelines when renting storage containers.
This is especially true for the top container, which should be used for tools that won’t be frequently used. If you do need to regularly access the top container, be sure to check any requirements or conditions set by OSHA regarding ways to access the top container, such as stairways.
Here are a few tips to help you get started with stacking shipping containers:
Tip #1: Make sure you’re on level ground
If your containers are unstable, they could fall and seriously injure or kill anyone underneath.
Level ground increases the stability of your shipping containers, reducing the risk of falls. So, it’s always important to place containers on level ground.
Place the first container in an area that will allow easy access and is sturdy enough to bare the weight of both containers and any equipment that will be stored inside. You can check out our shipping container dimensions and weight guide to help.
Tip #2: Use the right machinery
Using the wrong machinery to lift your containers risks accidents that could damage your equipment or injure people nearby.
Cranes and forklifts are able to handle the weight of empty containers and safely lift them, helping you protect people at the jobsite and the machinery.
Only use forklifts and cranes that can handle and lift the weight of an empty container. An empty 20-foot container will weigh about 5,000 pounds, and an empty 40-foot container weighs around 8,500 pounds.
20-foot shipping containers come with forklift pockets. These pockets are spaced 69 inches from each other, so you will need to ensure that your forklift is able to fit this length.
If the forks don’t reach that length, they should be at least 8 feet long to lift the container from the bottom. This is especially true for 40-foot containers, which do not have forklift pockets.
Tip #3: Always make sure you’re stacking same size containers
Stacking containers that are not the same size leads to uneven weight distribution, which increases the risk of damaging the structural integrity of the bottom container.
To prevent the bottom container from collapsing and ensure the safety of your crew, make sure you only stack storage containers of the same size.
In addition to only stacking containers of the same size, make sure the weight of the top container does not exceed the weight of the bottom container once loaded.
Tip #4: Use the locks on your storage containers when possible
To prevent the stacked shipping storage containers on your construction site from shifting, use container locks whenever you can.
Every 20 and 40-foot shipping container comes with four corner posts or castings that allow containers to be locked into place. This is how they are locked together while on cargo ships.
When locking containers together, the most common locking mechanism that you can use to secure your containers together is a twist lock.
Twist locks are a staple in the shipping container industry and allow you to twist the lock, usually with a lever or knob, to lock the containers in place. They are lightweight, made with an all-steel construction and can be purchased from transportation and shipping industry parts suppliers.
Watch the video to learn how to stack shipping containers using a double cone Twistloc by Tandemloc.
Renting storage containers and then stacking them safely on a construction site can be a great and beneficial way to use a limited space while gaining considerable cubic storage feet. Always remember to check with OSHA to be sure you’re being compliant with their regulations.
Now that you’ve learned about stacking and renting storage containers, check out different ways you can optimize your storage container organization and how to better store piping or cording in a shipping container.