Temporary structures that immediately spring to mind include tents, marquees, gazebos, greenhouses, sheds and prefabricated cabins. Permanent buildings include brick and mortar houses, offices and factories, as well as steel or aluminium warehouses, workshops and showrooms.
Let’s pause it here… The more we think about different types of permanent and temporary building, the clearer it becomes that the dividing line is not so sharp. For instance, is a steel framed warehouse extension, insulated and designed for continuous use for two years or more, a permanent or a temporary structure?
This is an important question because it has a bearing on how much you should expect to pay and if finance is available, as well as what building regulations apply. A building defined as temporary in law has reduced compliance requirements or even exemption from many building regulations. In some cases planning permission may not be required. You may also be unable to get finance on buildings that are considered ‘demountable’. This checklist will help you define whether or not a proposed building is permanent or temporary:
How Long Will the Building be Used?
Temporary buildings are designed for a shorter period of use than permanent buildings. How short is temporary? A strictly temporary structure will be used for 28 days or less. More realistically – in a commercial context – a temporary space could be used for 2 to 7 years. A building designed for more than 10 years of use is usually considered a permanent structure. This being said, our ‘temporary’ steel buildings are fit for use for up to 35 years.
Permanent buildings are built to last. They are usually made of brick, concrete and steel, with a wooden or fabricated steel frame. Temporary buildings, on the other hand, can be either aluminium box framed, for structures designed for two years of use or less, or steel framed and clad, for longer term temporary buildings.
Temporary buildings are designed to be fast to erect. This means a lead time of 7 to 28 days, depending on the size and style of the building. Permanent buildings, on the other hand, may take between two and six months to complete. Short construction time does not mean that temporary buildings are necessarily flimsy. It simply reflects their modular and prefabricated nature.
Some temporary structures are designed to be fixed to any hardstanding surface using bolts or spikes, without any foundations or ground preparation. Other, semi-permanent buildings, make use of foundations or a poured concrete base. Either way, temporary buildings require little or no capital outlay prior to installation, which is a big advantage over permanent buildings.
Can it be Relocated?
An important feature of a temporary building is the ease (or lack) with which it can be relocated. Many temporary buildings can be relocated and installed on as many different sites and as many times as you need. This gives you enormous flexibility regarding positioning and use. It also means that temporary buildings can be used on irregular or uneven ground surfaces without the expensive preparation that would be necessary for a permanent building. Many of our temporary designs are purpose designed for use on sloping or uneven ground.
Making the Right Choice for Your Business
At Smart Space we provide high quality temporary and permanent buildings, which are used for applications as diverse as car showrooms, warehouses, school sports facilities, workshops and even churches. The decision about whether you need a strictly temporary, semi-permanent or permanent building will depend on the needs of your organisation – as well as the duration of use. For instance, you may decide you need an interim, or semi-permanent structure for your purposes, even if you only intend to use the building for a couple of years.
To make the right choice for you, please download our free Which Building Guide, a new e-book that explains all the features and benefits of every type of building we provide. Click here to access a complimentary copy today.