Does one need a permit to have shipping containers on the property in Topanga? I was thinking of using them for storage and outdoor living space.

Asked by Chittu, Topanga, CA Wed Jun 26, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


6, Home Buyer, Topanga, CA
Mon Jul 22, 2013
Depends upon the size of your container and how you "set it on the site".

First lets correct a couple of mis-statements. Generally (exceptions are the rule), structures exceeding 120 sq ft require a permit. But you are not limited to 10 x 12. Nor will need a 40' container (good luck pulling a 40' doggy up our twisty narrow canyon roads) The most common container size is 8 x 20.
Containers are self supporting, so a foundation is not needed if you have a compacted well drained flat 9 x 21 pad. Unless you plan to dig footings deeper than 18" you will not need a permit.

Buy a 8' x 20 in good shape.
Find a spot more than 5' from proprety line and 10' from any other stucture or oak tree.
Open up one end of the container by cutting out 2 @ 5'w 6'h window from the side walls. Frame out a 8'ft door. You now have a 8 x 15 shed with a 8x 5 porch.
Set it atop a few scoops of compacted, contained 3/4 gravel.
Viola! you are now code compliant for under $3K.

Not a do-it-your-self-er (or own a tricky lot or want more SQ FT)? Topanga has local outfit that will set you up (for a price) and pull permits if needed.
1 vote
Don't cut into the container. The moment you do that, the factory spec sheet for the container becomes worthless to a county building inspector and they will require that you hire an engineer to inspect the container & create a new sheet. Obviously if you live in a county that still respects individual freedom, instead of treating everyone like an infant ward of the state, you can probably cut up the container however you please as long as it's on your property.
Flag Thu Jul 13, 2017
Sounds great. Could this be done in Timmins in the woods? We want to do a fishing expedition for our Eagle Scouts in July. The CoordinatesRoll Number is Coulson
CON 2 N PT lot 11 per LPAC. We are the Owner and have been since 1945. Does anyone know the rules here,
Flag Wed Mar 1, 2017
Does anyone know who this local outfit could be?
Flag Sat Aug 27, 2016
It seems like a good idea to check with your city before putting any kind of structure on your property. I am thinking of getting a storage container while we remodel our basement. I actually didn't think about the need for a permit but I would hate to get fined for not having the proper documentation.
Flag Mon Feb 9, 2015
I think the regulations surrounding something like shipping containers really depends on the location. It can have a huge affect on whether you are allowed to. Go ask whoever owns the land you want to store it on.
Flag Fri Nov 21, 2014
Thank you for establishing those guidelines. I am about to start a major home renovation project, and I will need a storage container for equipment and materials. I didn't think that I would need a permit, but it is better to be safe than sorry. An 8 x 20 container should suffice, so I think that I am in the clear.
Flag Fri Aug 8, 2014
Good idea. Can you refer me to this local outfit in Topanga?
Flag Mon Aug 5, 2013
Gary Dannenb…, , Topanga, CA
Wed Jun 26, 2013
The short answer is yes. You need a permit for almost any size structure or outbuilding and technically speaking the structure must comply with all kinds of rules dealing with oak trees and soil stability needed for the foundation.
1 vote
Shelly M Pal…, Agent, Topanga, CA
Wed Jun 26, 2013
Yes, a permit would be required for any structure larger than 10' foot by 12' foot, the size of a small "work shed" which is popular in Topanga. A typical shipping container is approximately 40-foot by 8 foot and whether used for storage or outdoor living, at 320 square feet, a permit would be required. Also, if you plan to install electricity or plumbing, a permit would be also be required.
1 vote
I believe you also need to have a structure already on the property. you cannot have any supporting strutter like a shed without and already built and permuted main structure. basically making it impossible to buy vacant land a put a storage container on it. :(
Flag Thu Feb 2, 2017
That's not as difficult as I thought. A storage container for outdoor living is a great idea. If you can't get electricity out there, it's still worth the effort to have one. If it's just a permit I need, I'm going to get a storage container as soon as I can.
Jenn |
Flag Mon Oct 27, 2014
COMKITDOC, Home Buyer, Pleasantville, NY
Thu Jun 22, 2017
If it not a commercial property, hell no, no shipping containers, or you would have to remove it and pay out some fines just to have it on your property, so if you are going to get it, do not tell and hope nobody will say a word.
0 votes
Faithpamrla, Home Buyer, Topanga, CA
Mon Jun 19, 2017
33617 zip code on temple height Blvd
0 votes
Yousef Hamed, Home Buyer, Breezy Heights, College Station, TX
Tue Mar 21, 2017
I want to make a house out of shipping containers, I have a builder that is going to help, and get a septic...but not worth it if it is going to cost me 300k to get utilities and septic out there, anyone ever done it around?
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Home Ownership in Topanga Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more