Portable Building Options: Which Should You Choose?

mobile portable buildings

There are many different portable building options. Which one is the right choice depends on your size requirements and the need for mobility.

Modular, steel buildings, storage containers and office trailers can all be considered portable options in one sense or another, but each one comes with its own unique qualities. These differences are how you can choose the one that best fits you and your needs. The following is a breakdown of each portable building type, along with an estimated cost.

Modular Buildings

Price Modular Buildings Modulars are produced and manufactured almost entirely within a factory before being shipped to a building site. How they are made does limit transportability somewhat, but it’s common practice to connect several of these structures together on a building site to create a large building, including multi-level buildings. Many offices, dormitories, classrooms, medical labs, retail stores, and coffee/food stands are modular and made from wood, wood composite, or vinyl for a traditional look. Those materials are more susceptible to cracking and rotting, which is definitely something to keep in mind if you will need to move the portable building around a lot.

Many modular building retailers will provide you with the convenience of being able to customize your building for being mounted on wheels and lifted with a crane. If you need a small portable building, then it will likely be fitted with forklift pockets.

The cost of a modular building averages out at between $50 to $100 per square foot. You can expect to pay between $55 and $90 per square foot.

Storage Containers

shipping containers Storage containers may not seem like a potential building solution at first, but surprisingly they’re potentially your best option for a portable storage building.

These repurposed shipping containers come in a variety of lengths, but most are 10, 20, or 40 feet long. The standard dimensions are 8 feet wide by 8 foot 6 tall so they feel quite spacious. Unlike the other building options, they have carrying hooks already in place (for shipping purposes) and this allows them to be easily lifted in and out of place.

Another benefit of these over some other options is that there’s no assembly required. You know exactly what your costs are when purchasing. There are also less stringent requirements when it comes to foundations. Storage shipping containers are often just placed on a bed of gravel.

There are a couple of other points that make storage containers unique when compared to the other options. First, they’re built to withstand being stacked many units high on ships. This simply isn’t possible with other building options that require engineering for any load adjustments. Second, they are easily shipped and can fit on standard transport truck beds. This means you can fill a container with any content you’d like to move and have it delivered to your final destination.

When it comes to portability, it’s hard to beat a shipping container. You can find the best storage container prices and options here.

Office Trailers

portable office trailers Portable office trailers are made and manufactured entirely within a factory before being shipped to the work site. As such, there are limits on the size of an office trailer when choosing a portable building. These officer trailers are good for small labs, residences, and construction sites. One of the most common uses of office trailers is as a temporary large-scale workplace as part of crisis response.

They may have limits on their size, but office trailers are the most portable option for portable buildings. That’s because they are towed in whole from one site to another. Being able to transport them like this limits impacts that can damage their structure and integrity, such as bumps in the road. Unlike Modulars and steel buildings, office trailers can be rented as well as purchased. This provides a lot of flexibility when you only need them on a temporary basis or aren’t sure how long you’ll need them.

The cost of an office trailer ranges between $100 and $500 per month for rentals, and up to $20,000 for purchases.

Steel Buildings

steel buildings Steel buildings come in two main variations, straight-wall steel buildings which utilize an internal frame, and arch style buildings also known as Quonset Huts. Both are typically factory manufactured and assembled on site. This means that there are no limits in terms of size as the buildings are shipped in parts. This allows you to build something small like a storage shed or something as large as a military barracks or a stable. The other uses of steel buildings include;

Steel is a tough and durable material that is able to withstand elements better than the wood, wood composite, and vinyl used to make Modular Buildings.

Portable Foundation Options for Steel Buildings

concrete building foundationSteel buildings are at their most stable when built on a concrete slab. The standard procedure is to sink your building into the concrete foundation and pour around it. This can limit their portability and can compromise the integrity of future construction. If you do decide to go with a concrete foundation, then ask your supplier about Baseplates. Baseplates are also made of steel and are anchored into the concrete, then the panels of your building bolt onto the baseplates to improve portability. You have to consider the time it would take to disassemble the building, transfer it, and the re-assemble it. You’ll also need to have a truck that can accommodate the size of the kit. Lastly, the entire process could require several people or a hired crew each and every time it is moved.

If you plan on choosing steel for your portable building, then consider a portable steel building foundation. Portable foundations utilize a steel frame and are available from some building factories, but not all so be sure to ask prior to purchase.

Buildings using a fabric wall and steel interior frame are the most portable option when it comes to steel buildings. These buildings are best for large spaces and are certified for wind and snow load. Fabric walled buildings are also cheaper than a conventional steel building, costing around 30% less.

The cost of a steel building typically ranges between $16 and $125 per square foot. The most common price is between $20 and $30 per square foot.

Whatever portable building options work best for you, we can help you find the best solution for your needs. Browse available options and get the best prices from top American providers with a free quote request.