The history of Portable and Modular Buildings

Portable Cabins:

The company who claim that they built the first building of it’s type was Portakabin Ltd based in York and built a product called the PK16, a 16ft Portable Cabin built for the construction industry. Since then many companies have made their own version so the choice for buildings is vast. There are now many companies who supply good quality portable cabins and portable buildings at competitive prices. Cabinlocator can help in finding the right portable building or cabin for you for the right price.

Anti Vandal Portable Buildings:

Anti Vandal Portable buildings were developed in the 90’s to offer better protection for the contents stored inside the portable building. As computers became more important on construction / building sites and vulnerable areas, there became a need for better quality and stronger windows and doors, also the wall structure itself required re-enforcement. The early versions were made from converted shipping containers, but these were not really a suitable environment for people to work from, so certain companies developed purpose-built units to cater for human occupation to properly protect the contents, also there are buildings that retain fire for insurance reasons.

Thurston Buildings were one of the first companies to develop portable cabins for human occupation, but there are now more companies who make very good Anti Vandal portable buildings. Cabinlocator works with several Quality Anti Vandal portable building manufacturers to offer cabins at more favourable prices.

Modular Buildings:

Modular buildings are made up of sections called bays or modules, and are designed to create large open plan areas, suitable for school classrooms, offices, large canteens, hospital wards, and so on. This type of modular shop building has been around for many years and called many different names, one of which is a prefab, and really this is a good description as these buildings are pre-fabricated in a factory and then transported to a pre-prepared site and erected in a fraction of the time that it takes to build a traditional building.

Most modern Modular Building Manufacturers and modular builders, build to a very high standard, using materials you would find on modern construction projects, e.g. steel frame buildings clad in plastisol steel outer walls. Windows are UPVC or Aluminium and are double glazed and meet the latest building regulations. The internal finishes are similar to that of traditional buildings with plasterboard walls, suspended ceilings, air conditioning units, IT networks, glazed internal walls, and ultimately anything you would expect to find in a modern office.

Modular buildings and Construction has now moved to another level where you will find Hotels, Airports, Train Stations, Schools and even McDonald’s Restaurants built using Modular Building Systems, with Brick Cladding Systems on the external walls to give a sense of permanency and more traditional feel. Modular buildings can also be clad in timber to help blend in with the surrounding environment.

If you would like to sell a Portable Cabin on our web site it would be advisable to find out who manufactured it. Sometimes a modular shop building or portable building is called “a Portacabin” but this is incorrect and in fact is an infringement of Portakabin Trademark, which is registered by Portakabin Ltd, a company based in York. The use of the word “Portakabin” must only be used to describe buildings that are manufactured by Portakabin Ltd and must not be used on our web unless you are selling a Portakabin Building as follows: Pacemaker, Solus, Pullman, Titan, Duplex, Ultima and Lilliput.


  • Modular Buildings ( Buildings made up of more than 1 section to form open plan areas)
  • Portable cabins
  • Portable Buildings
  • Anti Vandal Building
  • Office Cabin
  • Containers Store
  • Site Cabin
  • Container Office

If you are still not sure please send an email to and one of the team will help you identify the building type.

Categories: Portable Cabins,
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