Difference Between a Temporary Building and a Portable Building

What are the actual differences between temporary buildings and portable buildings? Are there any, or is it just marketing talk and labelling the same structure with difference names to suit different audiences and needs? The latter is certainly true in some case. Both types of buildings share very similar attributes and as such both are referred to with both names. Herein lies the confusion! So, let’s try and shed some light on it.

Temporary buildings and portable buildings are both very easy to transport and install. The primary feature of a temporary building however is its easy and fast installation process; which in turns makes it very easy to fulfil temporary requirements; hence the name.

The build process doesn’t need any foundations as buildings can be built directly onto existing hard ground. Typically these buildings are used for industrial uses as they are large clean span structures suitable for warehousing, storage, workshop or loading areas. They are also however used as temporary supermarkets, garden centres and fire stations to name but a few alternative functions.

With industry and manufacturing making the most use of them however it is these sectors that can react quickly to unforeseen growth and the need for more space that is quick and easy. In fact, temporary buildings literally give them the ability to expand and contract their operational space in line with business and market demands.

The frame of these buildings is manufactured, transported and built in sections with the wall and roof cladding adding thereafter. Because they are so easy to transport though they can and are often referred to as portable buildings or re-locatable buildings’.

The more traditional portable buildings are typically the kind supplied by Portakabin for example. These buildings are completed in the factory so they can literally be transported whole and dropped into place on site. They do need foundations laying so don’t provide the same fast response as an industrial temporary building.

That said though they are used for very different purposes like offices or classrooms. These buildings can be hired as well as purchased so can legitimately be classed as a temporary building as well.

What both these structures benefit from however is the off-site construction. And, just to confuse matters even more they could both be also classed as prefabricated buildings because of this!

Manufacturing a building off-site saves in both time and costs. You could say half the time because the building will be manufactured while the site work or other project work is being carried out simultaneously. And, in the factory environment, systems, procedures and controls can be kept tight and efficient keeping waste, mistakes and delay to a minimum. Not only will this save again on time, but it will keep costs within budget. With the building being delivered practically built, there is minimum disruption to site and daily operations.

So, there are differences between temporary and portable buildings. It may be more accurate to say however that there are a range of different prefabricated buildings available, both offering multiple benefits to multiple businesses.

Bernice E. Middleton

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