Differences between portable buildings and temporary buildings

Differences between portable buildings and temporary buildings

While both temporary buildings and portable buildings share many common attributes, there are a few fundamental differences making them better suited for certain needs. Here’s everything you need to know.

Temporary buildings and portable buildings are frequently used in the same conversation — but are the two terms truly interchangeable, or do differences between them warrant greater levels of distinction?

Both types of buildings are incredibly similar and — on occasion — used for pretty much the exact same purposes; although one is sometimes better suited than the other at specific tasks. As a result, temporary buildings and portable buildings are frequently referred to as both names when in actual fact, that’s not strictly accurate.

Let’s get the most common trait out of the way first: Temporary buildings and portable buildings are both incredibly easy to transport and install; it’s probably their single-most defining feature and the reason why most people swap terminologies when talking about one or the other. But it’s the “installation” bit where the major differences soon come into play.

Whereas portable buildings need foundations to be laid in order to sit securely, temporary buildings do not, and can be built directly on to any hard ground or surface.

Examples of temporary buildings include jackleg cabins, which are commonly used at outdoor events like festivals, fairs, and concerts. Unlike their portable building counterparts, however, jackleg cabins have metal “jacklegs” attached at the bottom of each unit, which means they can sit securely on most surfaces (as well as stacked on top of other cabins of a similar build).

What are temporary buildings most used for?

Temporary buildings are typically used by organisations requiring just that; a temporary building solution — with industry and manufacturing making the most of them, suitable for warehouse, storage, workshop or loading areas. They are also, however, used as temporary kiosks, information desks, market stalls, and first aid centres.

As mentioned previously, temporary buildings are incredibly flexible and like portable buildings, are easily relocated from one position to another (often across multiple sites, hundreds of miles apart). Brand new units (or even some refurbished ones) are manufactured, shipped, and built in sections with the roof and cladding added thereafter.

What are portable buildings most used for?

While there is some crossover, portable buildings are typically reserved for when building space is required for longer periods of time — ranging from 6 months to 2-3 years, or sometimes even longer (hence the need to lay proper foundations prior to installation). Common examples include office accommodation and classrooms for schools, colleges, and even universities.

Like temporary buildings, portable buildings are also constructed off-site, which not only saves time but also reduces costs; adhering to stringent factory settings, processes, and systems that help ensure delays are minimised and turnaround is kept within budget.

At the end of the day, you’ve got to utilise the right tools for the task at hand. When it comes to the different kinds of buildings available, it’s important to know whether a temporary building or a portable building will serve you best.

At RBS, we specialist in both portable and temporary buildings for industry and commercial sectors. Quick, cost-effective, and supremely versatile — contact the team today to see how we can provide a tailored solution to meet your precise needs.

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