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Sidney gets glimpse of out-of-the-box office and housing solutions

Local container home company cuts shipping containers into auxiliary pods for other uses
Adam Benning, owner-operator of Westcoast Container Homes, relaxes inside one the company’s OfficePods recently on display in the parking lot of Sidney’s Monk Office. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Adam Benning, owner-operator of Westcoast Container Homes, hopes to help solve two problems brought to light amid the COVID-19 pandemic: rising housing unaffordablity and the need for additional space in the face of that.

“We have the housing crisis and we have the work-from-home issues,” said Benning, sitting inside one of his company’s customized OfficePods on display in the Monk Office parking lot in Sidney. “How can we address those in a sustainable way? I’m very passionate about small living and small carbon footprint and minimal waste. At the same time, I like the technical side of building. This is just my best version of what we came up with to address those problems with our expertise.”

While customized for the display as a cigar room, the 104-square-foot large pod could easily serve other purposes, such as an office space for a wide range of blue- or white-collar jobs, he said.

“You can put a chiropractor table in here, it could be a massage or a physio room, or a doctor’s meeting room,” he said, adding to that list a temporary construction site office or artist studio. “It could be anything. It could be a kids’ play room. It could be a gaming room. It could be a sewing room. It could be a TV room. It could be any of the above.”

With no requirement for a foundation, the pods are easy to install and move, Benning said. “The metal box provides such a good foundation for a structure.”

RELATED: Tiny home demand up during pandemic as people seek change

One standard-sized 40-foot-long container yields three pods, which respective buyers can customize – the only limit is their budget, he said.

Benning clarified Westcoast Container Homes does not design its pods as living spaces. “We designed them to give people space (and) separation from the spaces where they live,” he said. As such, they appear as plug-and-play alternatives to potentially expensive additions to existing living spaces in the face of the scarce land and construction tradespeople.

“These are all problems that we are trying to address,” he said.

The company does offer a container home, the Clovelly model, with 320 square feet of living space for singles or couples who want to downsize.

While that product is a long-term project for the company, which formally launched in Greater Victoria in February 2020 – just before the pandemic took hold – Benning has fielded calls from a wide range of potential clients for the office pods.

“The interest has been phenomenal,” he said.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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