Shipping containers are used to build tons of commercial structures today, including bathrooms. Since they are built with high-grade, weather-resistant, extremely versatile steel, shipping containers are perfect to repurpose as a bathroom building for outdoor needs. You can customize your shipping container bathroom with your supplier and have it conveniently delivered to your location in just weeks. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about shipping container bathrooms.
Related: Shipping Container Renter’s Guide
What is a Shipping Container Bathroom?
A shipping container bathroom is a commercial restroom building constructed using a repurposed shipping container. They are modified off-site by a supplier and come equipped with restroom essentials like plumbing and running water, climate control, ventilation, and a variety of other amenities of your choosing. In this sense, they can be customized to function the same as any indoor bathroom, which delivers a great deal of hygiene and comfort than alternatives such as port-a-potties. Shipping container bathrooms are:
- Weather-proof and durable
- Convenient, turn-key solutions
- Portable and relocatable
- Deliverable to your location
- Pre-equipped and easy to install
- More hygienic, comfortable than port-a-potties
Related: Mobile Office Trailer with Bathrooms
Shipping Container Bathroom vs. Port-A-Potty
When it comes to outdoor restrooms, shipping container bathrooms are preferable over port-a-potties for many reasons. Take a look at some of the key advantages of shipping containers compared to port-a-potties:
- Plumbing: Shipping containers have built-in plumbing (flushable toilets and sinks with running water) while port-a-potties collect waste in a vat and lack sinks.
- Odor control: shipping containers have ventilation while port-a-potties attempt to neutralize odor using blue antibacterial liquid and lack ventilation methods.
- Sanitation and cleaning: Shipping container bathrooms have drains that dispose of waste and slip-resistant floors that are easy to clean. Port-a-potties have to be pumped to dispose of waste and are only cleaned about once a week.
- Cost: Port-a-potties are rentable for about $200 per month while shipping container bathrooms are normally purchased.
Shipping container bathrooms are clearly the cleaner and more comfortable option. Similarities between the two options include site prep and portability. Both restroom structures are delivered to a level-grounded location and can be easily relocated.
Shipping container bathrooms are commonly used for outdoor commercial purposes. This is because they can take the place of an indoor bathroom with running water and accommodate workers that are on-the-go or have outdoor projects. Alternatively, they can be extremely useful for community organizers, non-profits, public event managers, and others who need to accommodate groups of people who will congregate outdoors. Some common uses for shipping container bathrooms include:
- Construction sites
- Outdoor events, festivals, and concerts
- Outdoor parks and campsites
- City centers
- Disaster relief
- Industrial and infrastructure facilities
- Power plants and refineries
Sizes and Floorplans
When planning for a shipping container bathroom for your needs, you will want to think about the size and floor plan of the bathroom structure. There are several different sizes of containers to modify as a bathroom. You will want to choose the container size based on how many stalls you need to provide:
Note that you can choose several different floor plans after choosing your container size. Think about the purpose and function for your shipping container bathroom when choosing the best floor plan. For instance, is the bathroom for a work community or for a public event? If you work with a team, you may choose a single-entry bathroom with individual stalls. For a public event, you may want individual stalls with private entries. Here are a few ideas for floor plans:
- Separate/private entries for each stall
- One entry with individual stalls
- One main room with several stalls + one stall with private entry
- ADA-compliant layout
Also keep in mind that you may want different floor plans for male, female, all-gender, and ADA-compliant bathrooms. Visit ContekPro to see some examples of floor plans, or learn more about shipping container sizes and dimensions here.
When working with a supplier to design your shipping container bathroom, they will likely ask you to choose add-on features and modifications. You will want to get a good idea of which features you want to include before requesting quotes. For instance, do you just need toilet stalls or showers too? How many stalls do you need? Do you need separate gender restrooms or all-gender/family restrooms? Here are some ideal features that you can add as modifications to your shipping container restroom:
- Water-proof, slip-resistant floors
- Toilets or urinals
- Built-in stalls
- Sinks and running water
- Hand dryers
- Sliding windows (with or without security bars)
- Air conditioning and heat
- Water heater (if shower included)
- Odor-control ventilation system
- Vinyl or tiled flooring
- Shelving, storage, or closets
The cost of a modified shipping container bathroom largely depends on factors like size, amount of customizations, condition of the container, delivery distance, and much more. To start, containers can cost anywhere from $1,0000-$10,000+ depending on its condition. Then, add-on features will tack on an additional price.
To understand pricing better, take a look at our shipping container pricing guide. Then, use our free tool to get custom quotes for your shipping container bathroom.