We are proud to announce Forte Shelter – turnkey, COVID-resistant dwellings and home offices made out of shipping containers and delivered straight to your door.

Forte Shelter is a home-building company based in Redlands, CA founded by my brother Lucas Forte. We are teaming up to produce ADUs as an elegant, affordable housing solution for anyone seeking to add a new dwelling or home office to their property.

Our container homes are multi-functional, which means that in addition to dwellings and home offices, they can also serve as weekend or vacation homes, guest homes for family or visitors, workshops or studios, or rental units to produce extra income.

What are container homes?

Container homes are independent, multi-functional dwellings made out of standard shipping containers. When converted into ADUs, or “Accessory Dwelling Units,” they are designed to provide everything a person might need to live and work productively for many years.

How containers change construction

We’ve been building homes in the United States the same way for decades.

To build a conventional home, thousands of individual pieces of building material have to be brought together on site. There they are mechanically assembled one piece at a time, requiring extensive coordination and customization which produces a lot of waste.

This is akin to building an entire factory, which will be used only once and then disassembled. Construction plans are developed across a large team of professionals to never be used again. It is terribly inefficient, expensive, and wasteful, all of which shows up in a cost for the home that is far higher than it needs to be.

Innovation happens slowly in the home-building industry. Changes have to be made throughout the entire supply chain – not only with the builders but with transportation methods, designers, structural engineers, architects, and tradespeople. For this reason, the whole process looks much the same as it did half a century ago.

With container homes, we start with a container as the structural component. These containers are made according to precise standards, and are available in the millions around the world. With this starting point, the rest of the work can proceed much more efficiently, lowering costs while maintaining the highest standards.

Who is behind Forte Shelter?

Forte Shelter is an independent company founded by Lucas Forte and based in Redlands, CA. Lucas has worked on more than 50 homes over 10 years in the construction management industry.

As the Project Manager or Superintendent for projects totaling as much as $10 million in construction costs for a single property, he has broad experience in numerous aspects of the industry:

  • Roles at multiple highly regarded Southern California developers, both conventional and modular, including Dugally Oberfeld, Dvele, and Connect Homes.
  • Managed teams of up to 50 people on a single construction site, regularly coordinating designers, engineers, building departments, subcontractors, vendors, and in-house personnel.
  • Worked directly with clients including building the personal residences for heads of multinational corporations
  • Managed construction of hillside foundations, basement foundations in bedrock, and Passivhaus builds
  • Managed high-speed factory assembly lines in coordination with various modular home builders.

Lucas is applying his knowledge and expertise to produce a new line of container homes as part of Forte Shelter. I am helping him tell his story and recruit the first customers for this new generation of accessory dwelling units.

What are the benefits of container homes?

There are many reasons that container homes are not just up to par with conventional homes, but in some ways actually superior. They are:

  • Durable: virtually impervious to wind, water, earthquake, fire, pests, and mold due to strong steel construction
  • Turnkey: all appliances and features arrive ready to be used, with no setup or installation required by the homeowner
  • Affordable: more affordable than conventional homes due to the efficiency of the build process
  • Ecological: make use of a widely available resource, with more than 1 million containers abandoned in the U.S. alone, which means the carbon footprint is minimal
  • Transportable: built to move with a stable structure, containers can be transported long distances on flat-bed trucks and no special permits required
  • Secure: built out of reinforced steel with welded edges and joints, containers are naturally highly secure
  • Easily serviceable: containers are far simpler than conventional homes, allowing you to easily understand what needs to be repaired and how to do it
  • Quickly assembled: because most of the home is built off-site, the final installation requires a small footprint and is quiet and unobtrusive

The Forte Shelter Design Philosophy

Forte Shelter is a small, family-owned business with a deep design philosophy at its roots.

This philosophy has emerged from Lucas’ hands-on experience leading crews putting hammer to nail, and can be summarized with the observation that “Design can create or solve all your problems.”

When you have a well-designed home, your home works for you instead of against you. Every detail of construction is thoroughly tested and refined so that the home lasts for decades. Maintenance is minimal and easy to perform. Every aspect of the design works together to enable a lifestyle of balance and simplicity.

The Forte Shelter philosophy is to design construction details and convey instructions in such a way that each tradesman can focus their attention completely on the task at hand. By shielding them from vague instructions and constant changes, we can leverage their skill and artistry while keeping efficiency high and costs low. Lucas has seen time and again how standardization leads to proven, time-tested construction methods that can be relied on and optimized.

Aligned with this philosophy, Forte Shelter uses standard, widely available materials with no lead time. This allows construction to move quickly without waiting on custom parts.

The thought and consideration that goes into the initial design of these container homes has benefits at every subsequent stage. Tradespeople don’t have to reference blueprints as often. The number of steps and layers is minimized. Labor costs are kept in check, errors are reduced, and quality is maintained at every stage.

If you want to learn more, join a live Q&A, and have the first chance to join our waitlist, please enter your email address below.

Disclaimer: Forte Labs, LLC is not legally affiliated with Forte Shelter and does not inspect, authorize, or otherwise control any of Forte Shelter’s products or services.

Frequently asked questions

What is the price?
To be announced. Please join our email list to be the first to know.

 Where do we sell and ship to?

We are currently only serving customers in the continental U.S.

Do I have to own or lease land where this will be installed? 

How long does it take to build?
12 weeks.

Do I have to pay for delivery?
Yes. Transport cost is generally $4-8 per mile.

How do I get the local permitting?
Permits are not always required, but we can provide CA state-approved plans for your container home. You are responsible for the permitting process. Permitted projects will have additional costs for inspections, certifications, etc.

Is there a warranty?
Yes, we offer a 2-year warranty.

How many square feet is the unit?
160 square feet (8’ x 20’).

How tall are the units? 
9’6” tall.

How wide are the units?
8’4” wide.

Does Forte Shelter have any certifications? 
We are a California-licensed general building contractor, #1000576.

What is the final weight of the unit once complete? 
Each container weighs 12,000–15,000 lbs. 

What does it take to move it? 
Flat-bed truck, and a crane in certain situations.

Is the unit certified or inspected by third parties? 
We can arrange state inspections if desired.

What utilities are needed?
Water, electricity, and waste.

Are appliances and furniture provided? 
We provide electric appliances, a wall-mounted desk, bathroom fixtures, flat screen TV, and Nest Hub smart display with Google Assistant. Full list of features to be announced.

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