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We are in the process of building our first ever training facility in my volunteer outfit. We've looked at a lot of options and due to cost and being able to do a lot of the work ourselves have decided on building our facility out of metal shipping containers. Have any of you ever built or worked in a type of facility like this? Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Wow. What an accomplishment, especially through fundraising and community support. Way to market yourselves and show the value of well trained firefighters. Thanks for the photos, the basement door entrance is inspired! looking around the net, I had not seen that before. I am working off of an existing concrete structure we have burned in for years, with the resulting heat damage. In order to continue to get value from that building, I have to stop burning in it. so shipping containers seem the way to go. My City Council just did preliminary approval of my multi-year site improvement so we will start with a 40' box attached to the existing structure, then going up and out from there each year until we are looking at somthing similar to the facility you describe. I was considering the concrete pier foundation set up to save money, glad to see someone else prove it first! Did you just put them on the corners? With a 40' in mind, I am planning on a 4th and 5th pier midway to distribute the load. It sounds like you have a much larger facility than you sent photos of. Does your Job have a website I can look up to get a better view?  Thanks again for your reply and assistance. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Stay Safe.

Adam Bean said:

Hey Timothy,


Its been quite some time actually since that first post and we have gotten quite a bit accomplished since then.  We started the planning process in the fall of 2007 and due to financial constraints in our town/state we were forced to fundraise the entire project which added quite a bit of time to the project.  We started by visiting some other departments in our area who had already done similar projects and got some great ideas about layout and materials which we incorporated into our plan.  Next we started to fundraise as we sold our project to all of the town boards Selectman, Building Dept, Conservation, Zoning Board etc.. After getting approvals and changing our initial plan a few times to meet the requirements of all the regulatory agencies we started site work (spring 2009), we had been given a piece of land in the town gravel pit to use.  By November of that year we had finished the initial site work, poured sonotube bases for the two buildings and placed the boxes.  The next spring we got to work with a long punch list, a lot of custom metal work that we got a lot of help with from a couple of local welders, an outdoor classroom that was built as part of an Eagle Scout project, an office trailer that was donated by a local building contractor and quite a few props throughout the grounds.  By August of this year we had most of the facility operational and hosted a Firefighter Recruit Academy who did a lot of hands on training at the site.  We're just finishing buttoning it up for winter and plan on keeping the fundraising going again next year to finish off the punch list and keep the proverbial ball rolling.  The facility currently consists of a Burn Building that is one 40' container and a 20' container in an "L" configuration with some interior walls, it is built into the side of a hill so that we could install a set of bulkhead stairs and a septic tank (for confined space) into the hill behind the boxes with access into the boxes. The burn building also has two steel forcible entry doors and a standpipe riser.  There is also a Search and Rescue building that is two 40' boxes set side by side with three exterior doors and three interior doors cut between the two boxes, we have a moveable wall system inside so we can change the configuration to keep the guys on their toes and an SCBA confience course with wall breach, simulated high heat and suspended ceiling collapse props.  There is an outdoor classroom, office, hydrant prop, forcible entry prop. verticle and flat roof props.  We're hoping that next year we can purchase one additonal box and put a second floor on the Search and Rescue building so we'll have somewhere to conducted ground ladder training.  Hope that helps and if you have any questions or would like to see some more pictures send me your email address and I'ld be glad to help.


Adam Bean

Timothy Bullard said:



I came across your call for help and wanted to check in and see how it went. I have been greenlighted for some shipping container trainer construction and hope you have some photos or advice before I get in too deep. Anything is appreciated. Stay Safe,


Timothy Bullard


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