The most common type of storage container used in construction is the “dry” container, which comes in 10ft, 20ft and 40ft varieties. The industry uses many methods to grade them, and some suppliers have their own grading systems (often running A to C, or A to E) to briefly denote the overall condition of a container. However, these are not official measurements.
When sourcing storage containers for construction, you may come across the following phrases and abbreviations:
IICL-5 (Institute of International Container Lessors rating)
This means the container conforms to the international leasing inspection and repair standard, which is generally considered the most stringent in the industry. Containers with this rating should therefore be in excellent condition.
ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation)
This denotes that the container conforms to the dimensions and specifications outlined by the ISO – in other words, it’s a standard size and weight commonly used by the industry.
CSC plate (Container Safety Convention plate)
A CSC plate is a safety approval plate, attesting to the container’s suitability for international transport. Usually this means it will be free of holes and cracks, that its doors open and shut properly and it is watertight and dry.
CW (Cargo Worthy)
This is the standard used by most shipping lines, and denotes that the container has been inspected by a licensed cargo inspector and deemed worthy of ocean cargo transport.
WWT (Wind and Water Tight)
This means the container is in a good enough condition to protect its cargo from the elements and is internally dry.
SG (Storage grade)
Storage grade containers are no longer suitable for shipping. They are usually still secure, watertight and reasonably weatherproof, but may have considerable wear and tear.
AI (As Is)
This is often an indication that the container is damaged in some way, or it may have heavy corrosion in parts. There is no guarantee it is weatherproof or cargo-worthy. However, depending on the nature and extent of the damage, it may still be suitable for use in construction.