Latest Trend In Dispensary Design: Shipping Containers and Prefab Steel

Exciting trends are taking place in the world of cannabis dispensary design and we are here for it!

Have you considered building your next dispensary from recycled shipping containers? How about prefabricated steel? By now you’ve likely heard of cannabis grow pods made from recycled shipping pods. And you’ve probably seen some great modern, Architectural Digest worthy homes made from the same containers, painted, stacked and turned in unique ways with amazing windows. Well, the same holds true in the world of dispensary design!

Recycled Shipping Container Design

(Grassy Knoll in MI)
Co-owner Janet Tombre of Grassy Knoll says they chose to build out of shipping containers because her stepson’s construction company specializes in using repurposed shipping containers for construction.

“We had always kind of talked about that, so it was kind of a family deal,” she says. “Plus, we’d like how they looked, and they’re made out of steel, and we just kind of wanted that modern vibe as well.”

The benefits from building your dispensary with shipping containers

  • They can be more cost-effective than traditional buildings because they require fewer materials, contractors and labor to construct. You can purchase a single container for as low as $12,000.
  • They’re quick to construct. Some contractors can build a shipping container building in just a few months. There are also companies that specialize in prefab container buildings. They will construct and customize the containers off site and ship them to your location for final assembly.
  • Shipping containers are easy to modify- think of it as building with lego’s.. You can build with a mix of 20- and 40-foot containers. You can also combine multiple containers, turn them, add a courtyard. The possibilities are limitless.
  • They’re super durable. Manufacturers typically use corten steel to build shipping containers. This self-healing steel protects cargo during transport across bodies of water. Shipping container buildings made from weathering steel can likely withstand inclement weather conditions better than traditional housing. Most container built structures can withstand 150+ mph winds.

Prefabricated Steel Building Design

Are you combining some onsite manufacturing and need a large space to divide? Many clients have opted for a steel prefab building design. With a steel building, you can set up your growing facility, processing, and retail shop all in the same building. In most states, you will need to obtain a separate license for each of these functions, and you may need to give each of these sections separate entrances, but this will allow you to do everything in the same location, so your business is not spread out in multiple locations.
I know what you’re thinking, having a prefab steel cannabis dispensary design sounds pretty lackluster; but with some great design touches and calculated decision making in the early planning stages, they can really shine!

Eh Lo Dispensary, Tulle River Tribe, CA

Two key considerations when designing with prefab steel:

Acoustics. Most of these buildings have soaring ceiling heights, not many windows, and sit on a concrete slab. Hello echo! To mitigate the echo factor, we like to add as many soft furnishings as possible, and hidden acoustic panels in the ceiling. In some cases (such as a consultation room or cash wrap area) we create a soffit to bring the ceiling down to a more comfortable human scale.

Lighting is super crucial. You need not only general (indirect) lighting, but specialty task (direct) lighting and also decorative fixtures. Lighting is one way you will lead your customer through the space and create visual areas of interest that actually encourage “shopping stops” in the sales floor path. Guess what? The products you display at these “stops” will sell the most. Other important lighting factors are bulb temperature, fixture heights and efficiency/longevity.

Benefits of a Prefabricated Steel Design

Save Time. Save Money. Similarly to container builds, pre-engineered steel buildings can be built in days or weeks and don’t require the planning of an architect. They usually come pre-cut and pre-drilled so field work is simplified and minimized. This greatly speeds up the process. And when we save time, we also save money.

Cost is an amazing benefit. Steel buildings can be built for about $40-60 per square foot, compared to the $160-275 per square foot price tag of traditional building methods.

All the benefits of building a dispensary with prefabricated steel or recycled shipping containers really add up. What was once considered “nonconventional materials” is quickly becoming the gold standard of design.

Need direction on how to choose the best design for your medical or cbd dispensary? Sungrown Studio offers hourly consultations, pre-license renderings and complete dispensary design. When you’re ready, Schedule a call with our lead designer and we’ll get you moving in the right direction.