Focus on indieDWELL Container Housing Company
indieDWELL is a shipping container housing manufacturing and development company with a community conscience. Based in Boise, Idaho, U.S., the company works with interested parties on two fronts – firstly it seeks to create employment in depressed areas by setting up house building factories and training up the workforce to develop those homes. Secondly the company seeks partnerships with housing organisations concerned with building affordable housing in a given area, and works to build housing in that area.
Is this something we could do here in Australia?
The container housing concept
Shipping containers can be turned into homes for a lot less money than using other techniques. In last week’s blog we reported a developer estimating that a home could be built for as little as US$50,000, fully installed.
The developer could then sell for a healthy profit, even with the land it sits on factored into the costs. A US$100,000 home for a small family is extremely well priced and affordable for most medium-low working income families.
indieDWELL has a policy of building those homes to a high standard with a conscience for indoor air pollution (only water based paints), as well as high quality fittings (quartz topped kitchens) and solid fixtures and fittings.
Selling quality homes is important as it challenges the concept of ‘buy cheap/get cheap’ – something that often proud, lower paid people face in their lives.
Building work skills
As well as the idea of building high quality, yet affordable, homes, indieDWELL seeks to up-skill and re-skill the workforce in communities too. With capitalism fast moving and seemingly conscience free at times, one factory towns often lose those factories and not every former worker can simply pack up and follow the money. This is one example where indieDWELL can move in and reinvigorate a community.
The business’s website states, “We look for communities with the following attributes:
- Low to moderate income community
- Incentives for economic and workforce development
- Within 200 miles of major metro in need of affordable housing
- Good labor availability of general labor (not skilled)
- Near a Community College with vocational programs
- Community in need of economic development..”
With a number of other factors considered, notably including an order book for the next 12-24 months, the business is willing to set up shop in a rented factory site and to get building homes. In doing so, so indieDWELL can start helping drive and reinvigorate the economy of the community.
A two pronged approach to rebuilding communities?
In theory the factory could arrive in a town that needs life breathing back into it, start building homes and re-train and employ the locals to the point that they too can afford to live in the homes that they are building for their community.
At one level this is ‘capitalism with a conscience’ but it also makes good business sense. Capitalism feeds from a healthy economy and to inject capital into that economy is to help both the business and the community itself. That said, the model does rely on other business interests to get keep it moving – that can happen as other businesses take an interest in a re-born town, but equally as the factory exports its wares to other communities near and far with other businesses feeding demand for those.
Could this be done here in Australia?
That’s for you to decide. Could you match the model of indieDWELL? Do you have the knowledge and skills to scale up a shipping container housing factory? If so then give us a shout here at Gateway Container Sales and we would love to supply you the basic building blocks in our repurposed shipping containers for you to use.