PermitsPermits For Steel Storage Containers | Do You Need a Permit?

A steel storage container is a cost-effective solution but do they require permits? Here’s what you need to know before you buy or rent a conex box.

You’ve probably seen photos of steel shipping containers being used for a wide variety of purposes, from tiny houses to hospitals, from food trucks to coffee shops.

Whether you are planning on doing something very creative with your skills storage container or if you are just hoping to use it for some temporary storage on your property, it’s important to look into whether or not you need a permit issued by your local government.

Is a permit required for a steel storage container?

The answer is: maybe. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.

What Is a Permit?

A permanent is essentially the official approval given to you by your local government agency allowing you to proceed with whatever project you are working on your property. They exist for the purpose of ensuring that your project will comply with local zoning, land use, construction standards.

Note: If you are looking to rent or buy a used steel storage container your supplier can answer all of your questions about permits.


Do You Need a Permit For a Steel Storage Container?

Whether or not you need a permit for steel shipping containers depends on a number of different factors. Some of the factors that can impact whether or not you need a permit include:

  • The local rules and regulations.
  • Where on the property the container will be located.
  • The physical condition of the container.
  • How long does a steel shipping container will be used on the site?
  • The attitude of neighbors regarding the presence of the shipping container or the effects it has on the community.

In general, the last time that you are planning on leaving your storage container on the property the more simple it will be for you to get permission. In some scenarios, you might not even be required to get a permit so long as the shipping container is temporary and not a permanent structure on the property.

In some places and in some cases, your city might require that you obtain a temporary use permit. It is not nearly as time-consuming or complicated to get a temporary use permit then it is to get a permit for a permanent structure.

The state, county, and city that you live in might have an impact on whether or not you need to get a permit for your storage container. It’s important that you always check with local authorities so that you understand what is allowed and what is not.

Metal Storage Containers for Shipping

Another consideration is the reality that there tend to be stricter permitting requirements in residential areas or in highly trafficked areas. In low traffic areas or on rural farmland, however, it might not even be required that you obtain a permit in order to use the container on your property.

Familiarizing yourself with your local laws before purchasing a shipping container can save you a lot of frustration, time, and headache.

In many cases, using a shipping container as temporary storage might not even require a permit. However, if the container becomes a permanent structure, you could be in trouble.

Check with your municipality to find out if there shipping containers below a certain size do not require a permit. For example, some cities don’t require permits for the temporary basement of containers under a certain size, such as under 200 ft.²

Used Metal Storage Containers

If you live in a homeowner’s association, you’re definitely going to want to check with the HOA about whether or not they allow the use of storage containers for temporary storage. As storage containers are often not seen as desirable features within residential areas, it is likely that your homeowner’s association will have some rules regarding their use.

If you are struggling to obtain a permit after you have determined that you need one, you can consider hiring a permit expediter. These are consultants that can help you take care of the necessary paperwork so that you can get your permit and move on with your project.

Another thing you will want to look into is whether or not there are any deed restrictions included on the deed of your property. These are not exactly the same as the homeowners association rules, but they are essentially restrictions that the original developer instituted.

If you are going to be placing your storage container as a permanent structure on your property, you will most likely need a permit. You also need to look into the building regulations and the zoning codes.

How to Apply For a Permit

If you have determined that you need to acquire permits for containers on your property, the next step is to apply for one. You’ll want to contact your city and ask them which department handles applications for storage container permit.

It’s important to remember that municipal and government offices of this type do not always have the fastest turnaround. What that means is that you will want to plan ahead so that you can get your permit by the time that you need it for. This can ensure that there is no lag-time and that you do not face any consequences for having a shipping container on your property before you are legally allowed to do so.

How Much Do Permits Cost?

How much your permit will cost depends on whether you are getting a permit for a permanent structure or a temporary use permit. Temporary use permits are generally relatively inexpensive, though they will vary between municipalities and locations. To receive a permit for a permanent structure it will likely be more expensive but it will also depend on where your property is located.

Are You In The Market For Storage Containers For Construction or Other Purposes?

At Tuff Shipping Containers, we offer new and used storage containers for sale. You can also rent a steel storage container on a weekly, monthly, or yearly schedule based on what works for you.

And remember, your shipping container supplier can address questions about permits in your local area.


Find Permits for Storage Containers Near You

Here is a list of popular cities and links to get local information about permits for steel storage containers.

Houston; Los Angeles; Chicago; Phoenix; Philadelphia; San Antonio; San Diego; Dallas; San Jose; Austin; Jacksonville; Fort Worth; Columbus; Charlotte; San Francisco; Indianapolis; Seattle

Don’t see your city listed? You can get a free quote here on Conex boxes and your local dealer can help with you obtaining a permit if applicable.