Shipping Containers for the Construction Industry

Shipping containers are heavily used in the construction industry for site storage, site offices and welfare units.

For storage use, construction companies prefer using high cube shipping containers thanks to the extra foot of internal clearance. This additional height provides a more flexible storage solution for materials and some small plant and machinery. Here are some of the construction companies we’ve helped out in the past:

To give you some ideas on the wide array of uses containers have in the construction industry, we have some past real-world case studies you can read through.

Hazardous IBC Bunded Storage Container for Balfour Beatty

A white and blue modified chemical storage container with three vents along the side

We’ve done many projects for Balfour Beatty with one of our favourite projects being the construction of a chemical store for their rail division. This store had a number of additional vents fitted to allow for any potential chemical gas to escape, hazardous area lighting suitable for use in Zone 1, 2, 21 and 22 areas with a CEAG switch and three sets of double doors.

Balfour Beatty opted to have additional doors fitted in the side to allow for good access while using a forklift for their loaded IBC’s of goods.

In addition, a 1200 litre bund with a raised steel mesh floor was also part of the brief to catch any hazardous liquids if one of the IBCs they are stored in should leak for any reason.

Smoking SheltersA green shipping container converted into a 10ft smoking shelter

Sir Robert McAlpine have had a number of custom length refurbished containers for some of their construction sites along with a number of smoking shelters that we’ve produced from used shipping containers. Our smoking shelters can be constructed from new shipping containers but a lot of companies prefer the idea of refurbished used shipping containers.

Berkeley Homes and Persimmon Homes also chose us to produce a number of smoking shelters for use on their construction sites.

Both companies liked the idea of having smoking shelters produced from shipping containers for the simple reason that they are portable and can be moved around sites and from site to site without the expense of having to strip them down and then construct new foundations like you would with a more traditional design of a smoking shelter.

The side view of a black container re-painted in black with a shuttered window and a personnel doorShipping Container Security Office

Sometimes, a construction project might be too dangerous, or too private, to leave unguarded. In those situations, you might need to hire a security guard to keep uninvited guests out, or sign guests and workers in.

Sir Robert McAlpine certainly thought so, coming to us to custom build a 14ft security cabin for their site for workers and visitors to pass through and sign in on their way into the site. This saved everyone time in the long run, so they could get straight into the site instead of having to trek through the main reception. For further reading on this project and to see all the work that went into converting this into a heated, comfortable security office, please feel free to read our full case study article here.

Customising your Container

Indcom Construction ordered a refurbished container from us with two very important requirements. The first was the length of the container, it had to be 17ft 2’’, and the second was that it had to be painted a very specific RAL colour to match the colour of the cladding in their building.

Normally, when producing refurbished containers, they are produced with a tolerance of about +/- 4’’ with this tolerance being caused by the positioning of the corrugate in the side walls of the shipping container. We can produce specific lengths of containers but they will cost more than a standard refurbished unit.

Welfare and Office Containers

Welfare units are often overlooked inclusions on a construction site, but are extremely important for the welfare of the workers, ensuring they have safe spaces where they can do important admin or planning work away from the hustle and bustle of an active construction site, make their brews and relax on their breaks away from dust and loud machinery and do their “business” when a regular toilet may be disconnected or even non-existent.

Container Offices and Cabins

Interior of an office container, including two shuttered windows, wooden panelling and installed lighting and electricsContainer offices can come in a variety of sizes, qualities and colours. Sometimes, offices can come pre-owned from older projects that no longer have uses. Another popular option is to customise your container office to fit your construction needs or to buy them pre-built as office cabins.

Some people choose to go with a simple door and window option and others may choose to spruce it up with wooden cladding, heating, extra doors and windows, skylights and more. Most offices come with insulation, lighting and electrics as standard.Interior of a canteen container, with a sink and counterspace at the far end, insulated walls and ceiling and a wooden vinyl flooring

Breakrooms and Canteens

Another common use for a converted container on construction sites is for a break room, or canteen. These tend to come with electric points and heating included as standard, and can commonly be seen with plumbing and a sink installed, along with a bit of counter space for a kettle or toaster and further modifications can usually be made to add whatever you need to provide a well-deserved rest area for workers.

Toilets and Showers

A green block of two toilet cubicles with the doors open, showing ventilation, water tanks, sinks, toilets and chequerplate in both cubicles.

To complete the welfare trifecta, we can also offer a range of sanitary units, such as toilets, disabled toilets and showers. It’s important to note that these are not chemical toilets like you find on a campervan – these units are fully plumbed in and will need freshwater and wastewater connections, along with an electrical supply for water heaters, lights and so on.

We do suggest this a long term solution, as the plumbing is usually considered permanent and it can be a slog to get all of this uninstalled, disconnected and transported out to your next project. They come in extremely handy when pre-existing toilets might be out-of-order while work is being carried out and can save the trek to the nearest café or public toilet if your construction site doesn’t have any toilets available.

Flat Packs for Construction Sites

A number of smaller construction companies have elected to use our flat pack containers for onsite storage of tools and materials. These units are ideal for tradespeople who want to base themselves at a site for a period of time, and can be disassembled and moved between sites when the project is finished.

Chemical Stores

A silver chemical store with open red doors. Inside you can see a lowered floor with a metal grate over it for walking on and shelving with various supplies

A popular kind of pre-made flat pack facility for construction sites is a Chemical Store. Designed specifically with minimising the impact of a chemical spillage in mind, this flat pack container comes with a sumped base covered with a metal grate to keep any chemical spills out of the way with no danger to anyone coming in and out of the container.

These chemical stores come in a variety of sizes, from a compact 2×2 metre building to a larger 4×2.

A green medium sized flat pack office container with an integrated door an window
Flat Pack Office

Another convenient easy-to-build, easy-to-pack-away flat pack container for a construction site is a flat pack Office. With sizes ranging from a 2.3×2.3 metre cubicle to a 4.3×2.3 metre building, these offices can fit any construction site, no matter how large your project.

Additionally, an electrics package can be purchased separately to be fitted by a qualified electrician, allowing you to power a PC or other electrical devices from on-site.

Standard Flat Packs

A green container with a wide door, opened to reveal silver metal walls and a plywood flooring Specialised flat packs aren’t the only flat packs that may have a use on your site.  Sometimes, you might be after your regular, bog-standard container for storage of tools or building materials, but access for a hiab truck might be tricky, or you don’t quite have the space for a shipping container. In those cases, a flat pack storage container might be just the thing you need.

Available in a variety of sizes, flat pack storage containers are easy to set up – it’s just a two-man job and only needs basic tools to be up and ready to go. Once you’re done with it, you can just pack it back up, ready to head off to its next job.

The above are just a few examples of how shipping containers have been and are being used in the construction industry. offer the UK’s largest online range of shipping containers for sale with a nationwide network of storage and conversion yards and crane equipped delivery vehicles.

If you need a shipping container feel free to browse our online range of shipping containers for sale. You can also call us on freephone 0808 1234 215 any time 9am – 5pm weekdays and our team will be happy to discuss your requirements. Alternatively, you can use our online shipping container quote form or request a telephone callback. In both cases we aim to get back to you within 1-2 working hours (may take longer for more detailed quotes).

Back to top