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SI CONTAINER BUILD: Educating our community about repurposing shipping containers

This month, the South Side Builder’s Association (SSBA) invited Rory Rubin, CEO of S.I. Container Builds Inc., to discuss the value of container builds in our southside communities. The demand for homes that people can afford are at an all-time high, and the desire to adopt a sustainable lifestyle is following closely behind it. S.I. Container Builds manufactures sustainable structures for developers with immediate need for accessible, durable, profitable, easy-to-install housing out of one-trip shipping containers.

Rory founded S.I. Container Builds with the inspiration to repurpose one-trip shipping containers that litter US and Canadian shipping ports. The shortage of women in leadership, especially in the construction industry, has led Rory to establish a brand that offers an innovative perspective to the traditional way of home building.

"We are not a manufactured housing facility. The work live play mentality is really what we are striving for. It’s not a rusty old box. We provide a quality product that blends into the community."

- Rory Rubin , CEO

The container build warehouse is located in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, a north west suburb of Chicago. SICB builds economical solutions for dwellings, campgrounds, short-term rentals, off-grid living, vacation homes and guest suites with recycled shipping containers.

"Our commitment to sustainability, smaller carbon footprints, giving back to communities and building quality structures is always first and foremost" - Rory Rubin

This topic was extremely intriguing to the builders, lenders and community leaders in attendance at the seminar. The largest setback for this company is the lack of education there is about using containers in construction.

Q: We [Lenders] can quote the borrower based on what they can afford. How do we [lenders] underwrite these as properties given that there aren't comparables in the Chicago market?

A: Lenders might not have seen any in Chicago, but can use comps from other states. Our anticipation is that an appraiser will view this product as any other comp! We are making sure these look and are created almost as similar to a typical build. The only difference, it is in a container.

Q: What municipality are you working with?

A: Michigan and Wisconsin are continuing to use this product. We do have a client in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago (an ADU pilot area). There was a single family home on the lot and they were already in a pilot area. A perfect example of how we can customize a space that fits the users needs. The clients' mother was getting older, and wanted to have a wheelchair accessible living space for her that was close-by. In the future, this will be a living space for the clients' college age kids. Beyond that this space could be a rental.

Q: There are thousands of vacant lots on the south side. What can we do to educate our community, the city, in terms of construction.

A: Vacant lots are a prime example of a blank slate. We can customize a build that suits your zoning. Whether you are looking for an office space, retail, single-family home, multifamily, or apartment community, we can help you. The key too is affordability, these builds cost minimal compared to a newly constructed home.

Q: Have you experienced issues with union roadblocks?

A: No, and again this goes back to educating people to further understand how simple this is. Because we are DIY by design, we start and create the build in our warehouse and leave it up to the unions to complete the build when it is delivered to the site.

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