Temporary structures range from party tents and ramshackle wooden stands to rented trailers that are as nice inside as permanent buildings. There’s almost as much variety in their applications as the type of structures you can put up on short notice for a particular reason or event. What are the benefits of using temporary structures for your business? When are temporary structures the right choice over other solutions?

You Need Extra Space for a Limited Time

A common reason for putting in temporary structures is when you need the additional space for a limited time. For example, many retailers are putting up air-conditioned or heated tents with holiday-specific sale items in their parking lot for the days around the holiday. Now the retailer can handle the extra traffic of people buying gifts for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day without crowding out those going in to buy groceries or household items. They reduce the lines inside the store while allowing those looking for the holiday-specific items to find it even faster. A temporary structure is certainly cheaper than trying to build extra space that is only partially utilized the rest of the year.

Temporary buildings are commonly installed to meet seasonal demand. Perhaps you want to set up a workshop or commercial space during a month-long fair. Or you need to build a temporary building, so you can start training people in an area in anticipation of hiring hundreds as soon as you find a permanent facility for rent in the area.

It is also common to bring in a temporary structure to support extra staff for anticipated rush or known increase in demand. Bringing in a portable building to house extra staff as you handle extra load until you can build on that new addition is certainly better than trying to crowd people into the existing cubicles. Your main operations could experience minimal disruption as you move part of the expanded back office to a temporary building nearby.

You Need Specialized Space for a Limited Time

Many temporary buildings are very customizable because the vendors know they need to meet a variety of demands on short notice. If you need a new office that is handicap accessible or meets executive standards, you can order it delivered and it can arrive on short notice.

You can also find specialized temporary buildings for rent. Your office is having plumbing problems or has to renovate its bathrooms. Instead of asking everyone to go across the street or overloading the public bathrooms, the company rents a bathroom trailer instead with a standard entrance for its staff. Now the inconvenience is minimized. Portable buildings have long been used by schools to house children until new buildings are built.

Throwing up a tent and portable kitchen is a popular way to host barbecues, weddings, and fundraising dinners. Bring in the rented portable kitchen when your catering service is renovating the company cafeteria or food trucks that normally visit your site were banned due to new local restrictions.

Sometimes portable labs are brought in as you try to troubleshoot manufacturing problems, gaining far faster processing time while failures are diagnosed immediately. There are even temporary hospital facilities for rent. Someone bringing in a portable dental, medical, or surgical suite lets them meet public demand during a medical crisis or provide the necessary appropriate facilities when a charitable group sends in extra medical specialists.

You Need Full Facilities Somewhere Temporarily

Construction companies often bring in portable buildings to provide office space, bathrooms, and even dining facilities on a construction site. This lets their team have access to full amenities as they work. A group of temporary buildings can give you full facilities at a site for weeks or months as you wait for planning permission to build a new building.

Another reason companies may need temporary buildings is to fill in when their main building is unavailable. Perhaps the building was damaged by fire. Now you’re moving your office staff and retail operations into tents or temporary buildings so that the business itself isn’t shut down. Flooding or pests damaged the building, so you’re moving everyone into temporary buildings as the main facilities are cleaned up and repaired. Temporary structures are designed for portability, so you can move them in wherever you want them, and they can be set up immediately.

Temporary structures may be the solution when you need additional manufacturing, storage, or workspace. For example, you’ve seen a surge in orders. You don’t want to rent warehouse or workspace on the other side of town.

Temporary buildings like a Quonset or office trailer let you set up new workspace next to your main building. Hired contractors and existing employees can expand into the new temporary structures and get work done. If you end up with a permanent increase in demand, you can try out a mix of temporary structures to meet your needs until you’re ready to move to new and improved permanent facilities. Or, you need a temporary structure to act as a secure warehouse to protect the major shipment you just received; once the massive load has been processed and shipped to customers, the temporary structure goes away.

Conversely, you may want the temporary structure to house your inventory as you build it up in anticipation of your busy season. After you’ve shipped everything for the holidays, the temporary warehouses and customer service office space is sent back to the vendor and you resume normal operations in your smaller, permanent facilities.

Note that temporary structures are not necessarily poor quality. For example, companies like Smart Space offer temporary structures with a steel roof and insulation, which are perfect for project work or industrial sites; they are as durable as permanent steel buildings. And they can provide these temporary buildings for semi-permanent sites even as they build permanent steel buildings for you.

Utilities are major customers for temporary facilities. They may rent portable bathrooms, dorms, and workshops for the weeks it takes to build pipelines, power stations, and refineries before moving on to the next project.

You Need to Try Out the Facilities

And there are times that the temporary structure is a precursor to changes in your permanent facility. You have an office building, but you don’t want to commit to building a cafeteria when there are restaurants in the area and bringing your own lunch is an option. So, you rent a portable kitchen and cafeteria and see if it improves productivity.

Perhaps a business consultant thinks that moving more stock to the site will improve productivity over just-in-time deliveries. You bring in a portable building that can store raw stock or work-in-process while you test the theory. If it doesn’t work, you haven’t invested precious capital into altering your existing building. Say you have a manufacturing operation but no permanent office for managers and engineers. You can put in a temporary building for office staff, lab workers or any other experts to see if their proximity improves quality, production levels or response times when problems arise.


Temporary buildings should be seen as a long-term solution to seasonal demands, temporary project requirements, and as a way to test structural changes in operations. They’re already regularly used to meet the temporary demand for facilities before a new one is built or existing one repaired.

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