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5 Reasons To Use Shipping Containers On Construction Sites

29 December 2023



Seeing a container on a construction site probably isn’t an unusual sight, it’s more common now than ever before. Construction sites appear as quickly as they depart so it’s important that any site necessities can be transported at short notice to the next location.

What is a construction site container?

A construction site container, often referred to as a construction trailer, job site trailer, or portable office, is a large, mobile container used on construction sites for various purposes. These containers are typically made from steel and are designed to be durable, weather-resistant and secure. 

Converted shipping containers are ideal for temporary construction sites for a variety of reasons, including ease of transportation, cost-effectiveness and durability, especially when compared with more permanent structures. 

Uses for shipping containers on construction sites

Shipping containers have found a versatile and practical role in construction sites, going beyond mere storage solutions. Thanks to their modular design, they can be easily adapted to serve a range of purposes, including:

  • Office Space: They often function as on-site offices for project managers, architects, and engineers, providing a workspace with desks, chairs, and necessary office equipment.
  • Worker Facilities: They can provide facilities for workers, such as break rooms, restrooms, and sometimes even small kitchen areas.
  • Meeting Rooms: Converted shipping containers can also serve as meeting rooms for staff, client meetings, and project planning sessions.
  • Workshops: For tasks that require an enclosed space, such as welding or painting, containers can be transformed into workshops.
  • Sanitary Facilities: During the modification process, shipping containers can be fitted with plumbing and used as temporary toilets or shower rooms for workers on site.
  • Security Posts: At large sites, containers can serve as security posts at entry points for monitoring and controlling access.

For more innovative and practical applications of shipping containers on construction sites, explore our article: 4 Ways to Use a Shipping Container on a Construction Site.

Benefits of using shipping containers on construction sites

Using shipping containers on construction sites offers numerous benefits, from cost effectiveness to durability, and their modular design allows for versatile construction solutions.

Here are 5 main reasons why construction sites more often choose converted shipping containers.

Shipping containers are extremely customisable

Shipping containers are not only extremely customisable but also open to a wide range of modifications, making them ideal for various needs on construction sites. The adaptability of shipping containers means they can be converted into almost anything, including multi-functional spaces suitable for multiple uses. 

When it comes to modifications, the possibilities are nearly limitless. For instance, adding heating and air conditioning can make a container a comfortable office space for any season, while enhanced insulation solutions can reduce noise levels. 

Shipping containers are completely portable

Many construction companies choose to use shipping containers, but they are as temporary as the construction site itself. Often, construction projects have relatively short timelines, sometimes lasting mere weeks so it’s important that all facilities and the workforce itself can be transferred to another site quickly and efficiently. 

Fortunately, modified shipping containers are designed with portability in mind, ensuring that you can seamlessly transition to a new construction project location, equipped with the necessary facilities for your workforce to get the job done.

Shipping containers are built to last

Shipping containers are made from sturdy, galvanised steel. In short, this means that they are built to last. Keep in mind that in their first life, shipping containers were made for being transported across oceans, battling the elements on the way – and protecting precious cargo in the process. Due to this, not only are they strong and secure, but they require little maintenance. In fact, these containers have the potential to last for over 30 years, withstanding extreme weather conditions in the process. 

This means that construction companies can invest in a converted shipping container with the peace of mind that it will stand the test of time and remain a reliable asset for years to come.

Shipping containers are easy to stack

The size and location of each construction site might affect how you arrange your on-site facilities, this isn’t an issue with converted shipping containers. Not only are converted containers portable, they’re stackable too. This means that if you’re pushed for space on site, you can stack your containers, with the option of adding landing and staircases, to maximise space making it the ideal on-site solution.

Shipping containers can be set up quickly

These robust units can be transported and installed on-site quickly and efficiently with minimal preparation, bypassing many of the time-consuming phases associated with traditional construction. This is a game-changer in the construction industry, where time is often a critical factor.

Whether it’s establishing temporary offices, storage units, or worker accommodations, these containers can be quickly positioned and made functional, often within a single day. This quick and easy setup not only saves time but also reduces labour costs and allows for a more streamlined project timeline.

Renting vs buying construction site containers

When it comes to renting or buying containers for construction site use, the choice between the two options depends on several factors that construction companies need to consider. 

Renting construction site containers offers flexibility and cost savings in the short term, allowing companies to access the necessary facilities without a significant upfront investment. It’s an ideal choice for projects with fluctuating needs or those with limited duration. 

On the other hand, buying construction site containers can be a strategic long-term investment, especially for companies with multiple or long-duration projects. It’s usually a preferred option for companies with consistent demand for containers across multiple projects as it provides ownership and the potential for customisation, making it suitable for companies looking for a more permanent solution.


The use of shipping containers on construction sites offers a variety of advantages that are transforming the way construction projects are managed. These versatile containers, originally designed for oceanic transport, have found new life as essential components of modern construction sites. Their adaptability shines through in various applications, from on-site offices and worker facilities to meeting rooms and workshops.

As construction sites come and go, the reliability and versatility of shipping containers continue to prove their worth, ultimately contributing to streamlined operations and cost savings in construction projects.

Helpful? We hope so! If you’re still unsure as to whether repurposing a shipping container is suitable for your temporary construction site, feel free to reach out to us for no obligation advice, or call the Universal team today on 0161 775 3217.

You can even pop down to see us! Our site is based in Irlam, Manchester, located very close to the M62/M60, so we’re certainly easy to find!

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