3 Innovative Ways That Portable Buildings Can Be Used

TotalSpan - Portal Frame Building with Goosewing Grey Plastisol steel cladding and roller shutter door.

Portable buildings are increasingly a part of the solution to the many issues we are facing today, from the climate change emergency to the surge in demand for healthcare, the poor state of our school buildings and the chronic shortage of affordable housing.

They are also often used for gatehouses or marketing suites, but there are many lesser known uses of portable buildings. Here are just a few examples.

Community spaces

With council budgets under more pressure than ever before, community and social spaces have often been the first in the firing line. However, places such as libraries, community halls, and arts centres are the lifeblood of our neighbourhoods, bringing a sense of togetherness and pride in the area where we live.

Such spaces also provide enriching opportunities to both young and old alike and can be vital for people to maintain a sense of belonging and a strong social support network. Therefore portable buildings can provide an ideal temporary or permanent solution for communities to benefit from a shared cultural and social space.


Since the pandemic, there has been a surge in the number of drive-throughs in the UK. They were once considered a novelty, but now big-name brands are racing to install them everywhere from motorway service stations to out of town shopping centres. They are very popular and convenient, especially for people who travel a lot or work shifts.

They are not just for grabbing a quick coffee or a bite to eat either, as during the pandemic they were the perfect socially distanced solution to deliver vaccines and PPE materials to the public. It seems that we are only just beginning to realise how convenient and versatile the drive-through concept is.

Portable buildings make ideal drive-through venues because they can easily be relocated to reflect changing demand. For example, they may be used seasonally in popular tourist areas or moved around festival sites or other temporary cultural venues. Portable buildings can be installed in a matter of days and adapted for a variety of uses.

Sustainable cafes and shops

As the demand for sustainable and energy efficient buildings continues to grow, portable buildings are coming to the forefront. Traditional brick and mortar construction methods can take twice as long to build and have a far larger carbon footprint. They require multiple on-site deliveries and the use of energy-intensive and polluting heavy plant equipment.

Older buildings can be very energy inefficient and difficult and expensive to retrofit with more modern energy efficiency measures. This can be incompatible with the aims of modern start up businesses, particularly cafes and shops that do not necessarily have large budgets.

Portable buildings can be designed or very easily adapted to modern eco-friendly standards, with features such as solar panels and living green roofs.

This makes them a perfect choice for new businesses who take pride in their green credentials and who would struggle to afford the higher rental or mortgage rates, as well as the running costs, of a more traditional building.

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