Trendy solution to housing shortage

An innovative building design once reserved for trendy laneway cafes and the pages of a lifestyle magazine is coming to life in regional Gippsland.

A shipping container development is quickly taking shape in Rosedale’s central business district, but there will be no breakfast bars or pop-up stores.

Melbourne builder Don Blanksby is instead constructing sustainable housing tailored to the working individual in a bid to combat the region’s housing shortage.

“I’m building in Gippsland as there is a real demand for high-quality housing for working people, particularly single people,” Don said.

“It’s easy to rent a three-bedroom house, but for singles after a smaller space there’s not much around.”

He said shipping containers were ideal for smaller housing as construction was fast, material sustainable, low cost, and the homes portable. But he said the trick was to work with the constraints of the container. Ten containers, six metres and 12m in length, will make up the boarding house-style accommodation with “wide hallways and narrow rooms”.

When complete, the 240-square metre building will include eight bedrooms along with communal areas.

“Once you’re inside it is no different to your everyday house, it’s just a bit narrower,” Don said.

He envisions singles who commute to the area for work would use the housing during the week, while returning home on weekends. Don said this kind of accommodation was lacking in the region.

“Something affordable that’s not a motel, something a little more permanent that you can set up as yours during the week but then return home to family on the weekends,” he said.

Describing Rosedale as “a very active little town” Don believes with the expansion of the Sale RAAF base and advances in farming, Gippsland’s demand for smaller housing will grow.

He also expects shipping container construction to become more mainstream, but stops short of calling them a permanent living option for the typical family.

“If they were one metre wider we’d all be living in them,” Don said. The project is due to be completed by Christmas.