Are temporary buildings classed as semi-permanent structures?

Debunk the myths surrounding semi-permanent solutions

If you’re considering installing a temporary structure on your site you may be wondering if temporary buildings are classed as semi-permanent structures. Temporary buildings were once perceived as a quick-fix temporary solution for short-term needs. While that is still the case, big improvements in manufacturing and production technology have definitely blurred the lines between what is a “temporary” and “semi-permanent” structure.

Temporary buildings have undergone a transformation, from almost disposal products to durable, long-lasting and essentially, semi-permanent structures. As a result, this shift towards quality and durability has challenged conventional perceptions. 

This article delves into the key question: Are temporary buildings classed as semi-permanent structures? We unravel the intricacies, debunk myths, and explore the robust features that make temporary buildings a wise investment in the long run and why we consider temporary buildings to be semi-permanent solutions.

semi-permanent Temporary building installed by Field & Lawn

Understanding the terminology:

The terminology of semi-permanent structures and temporary buildings is often used interchangeably, leading to confusion. While they share similarities, they are distinct in their intended use and benefits.

Before looking into the durability of temporary buildings, it’s crucial to clarify the terminology. Temporary buildings are portable, de-mountable and movable structures. This gives you a large amount of flexibility and the ability to relocate or rent a temporary building.

A semi-permanent building generally has a steel or solid roof and is much more complicated to move or relocate. Compared to a temporary building, which features a robust PVC roof and is easily re-located. A semi-permanent building will commonly use a steel frame, whereas a temporary building will use a strong but lightweight aluminium frame system.

Depending on the size and construction methodology, a semi-permanent building may also need more complex foundations and feature traditional construction elements like brick and block. Whereas temporary buildings can simply be installed on a concrete pad or other ground surfaces without too much work.

When looking at temporary buildings, they are designed to be erected quickly and easily due to their modular construction, providing a swift solution for immediate space requirements. On the other hand, semi-permanent structures take longer to install.

The differences between the two structures can be blurry, with many temporary buildings exhibiting durability and longevity that challenge the perception of ‘temporary.’

The evolution of temporary buildings:

Gone are the days when temporary buildings were synonymous with flimsy structures lacking durability. Advancements in construction materials, engineering, and design have led to the creation of temporary buildings that rival their semi-permanent counterparts in terms of strength and longevity. This plays a crucial role in answering the question “Are temporary buildings classed as semi-permanent?”

Our modern temporary buildings use high-quality materials such as robust yet lightweight frames, durable fabrics, and advanced modular components. These materials contribute to the overall structural integrity, enabling temporary buildings to withstand various weather conditions and environmental challenges.

What about planning permission and building regulations?

Depending on how long you intend to use the temporary building structure, in most cases, you will need to submit a local authority planning application. Due to our experience, we can support you with your planning application. Our structures meet building regulation standards and can also be integrated into any original building on your site.

Find your local planning authority on the government website.

Durable Features of Temporary Buildings:

Structural strength and durability:

Temporary buildings are no longer makeshift structures with questionable stability. Today’s designs incorporate robust frames that provide the necessary strength to endure heavy loads and adverse weather conditions.

Inside a temporary warehouse solution under construction

Weather resistance:

The materials used in temporary buildings are chosen for their ability to resist the elements. From heavy rain to strong winds and even snow loads, temporary buildings are designed and engineered to weather diverse environmental conditions.

Bespoke options and flexibility:

One of the unique features of temporary buildings is their adaptability. They can be easily customised to suit specific requirements and can be reconfigured or expanded as needs evolve. This flexibility enhances their long-term viability. Again, this is a slight difference compared to a semi-permanent structure which is harder to extend if you need additional space.

Quality cladding options:

The cladding options used in modern temporary buildings are again, engineered for durability. UV-resistant, fire-retardant, and thermally efficient materials contribute to the extended lifespan of these structures. Like a semi-permanent structure, high levels of thermal efficiency can be achieved by selecting insulated sandwich panels. Or, if the application is more industrial, for example, a workshop, steel cladding can be specified.

Are temporary buildings semi-permanent?

While the term “temporary” implies a finite lifespan, the durability and longevity of modern temporary buildings challenge this perception. With their advanced engineering and high-quality materials, a temporary building can be in place for over 20 years.

In conclusion, the classification of temporary buildings as semi-permanent structures is not just a matter of terminology; it is a reflection of the evolving nature and enhanced durability of temporary buildings.

Choosing a temporary building is an investment in a structure that stands the test of time, offering longevity and adaptability that goes beyond the temporary label. If you need additional space and capacity, I would be more than happy to arrange a local site visit to see the quality and durability of our temporary buildings at a recently completed project.

About us

F&L Temporary Buildings are leading modular building experts, providing a wide range of temporary storage buildings and loading bay canopies. If you are looking for a temporary structure to increase your capacity in the short, medium or long term, we can provide a quick and cost-effective solution. Our range includes insulated buildings, canopy systems and industrial sheds.

Temporary structures: Industrial temporary buildings for construction and infrastructure projects

Why are tier one construction contractors turning to industrial temporary buildings on large infrastructure projects?

Temporary buildings are widely used in retail and logistics as a fast and affordable method to increase storage space.  In recent months, we have seen an increase in demand from construction contractors working on longer-term, large-scale projects requiring extra space.  As a temporary building can be installed in most locations, they make for excellent site storage facilities for construction and infrastructure projects. 

While the structures may be called “temporary”, the reality is they’re usually in place for many years, such is the quality and life expectancy of our structures.  The benefit of a temporary building is that once the project has completed, it can be easily relocated to other sites or another project.  As they are modular buildings, it is possible to easily add or remove bays, giving you the right space for your site.  They meet all relevant building regulations and are designed to comply with local wind and weather loadings, which we include as standard during the design process.

external overview of a temporary industrial building used for storage

Where can you install a temporary building?

A temporary building can be installed on almost any ground surface.  Our expert team can design bespoke solutions to fit a building on your site. A temporary building does not need complex groundworks and we can accommodate slopes, obstacles and existing structures in the design.  Field and Lawn can provide a temporary building solution for your project.  

Case Study: HS2 Infrastructure Storage

A large industrial temporary building with a loading canopy

Field and Lawn provided a bespoke 15m x 32m, temporary structure for a tier one construction contractor who required a medium-term storage facility.  The building features a large, 5m integrated open sided loading bay.  The structure was finished with internal pallet racking for additional storage. The valuable storage space will be used to store items needed throughout their build programme.

Based on this success and the flexibility provided by industrial temporary buildings, we are embarking on a programme of ten further industrial buildings across the UK. Considering the total cost and speed it takes to install, the high standards and quality will impress even any site or project manager.  Giving you more flexibility and space than a standard portacabin. 

What can temporary industrial buildings be used for?

The possibilities are endless! Primarily, they are used for storage facilities, warehousing space, industrial canopies and material stores.  However we have solutions for a full range of uses, from offices, canteens, drying rooms and full semi-permanent welfare villages.  A temporary building will also provide industrial workshop space, a fabrication and finishing building or security structures.  They can be specified with full insulation, partitioned and specified to meet all your space needs. 

A steel sided industrial temporary building structure with pedestrian access door

Field and Lawn have over thirty five years of extensive experience in designing and installing temporary structures and modular buildings.  Our product range is diverse, and we can supply short term industrial storage tents through to fully insulated, semi-permanent highly insulated ambient temporary storage facilities.  


Hire or purchase?

If you are looking for a short to medium term temporary solution, hiring a temporary industrial building may be the best option.  Once the hire period is complete, we simply collect the structure.  If you are embarking on a longer-term project and require longer term temporary storage, an outright purchase option may be the perfect solution to get the additional space you need

Industry expertise for construction

When it comes to delivering high quality industrial buildings, working with an experienced team like Field and Lawn can make a significant difference. We are experts in working with industrial contractors and construction companies to provide safe and robust solutions.  With over 35 years of experience, our team bring a unique blend of problem-solving skills, engineering knowledge and project management expertise. 


With years of experience in delivering high-quality temporary warehouse buildings. We offer tailored, bespoke solutions to meet your exact storage needs.  We have supplied temporary building solutions to a wide range of clients.  From large, multi-national blue-chip corporations to small, industrial businesses. 

We have a proven track record of successful temporary building projects across various industries.  Our client portfolio includes: 

Conoco Phillips

Configure my building

With construction costs of traditional storage increasing, it may be the first time a temporary building solution has been considered.  We have a varied portfolio of completed projects across the UK and would be delighted to arrange a site visit.  This will give you and your team an opportunity to see, first hand how durable, high quality and cost effective temporary buildings can be.

safety and compliance

When it comes to working in partnership with construction contractors, we are a trusted pair of hands.  We have robust and audited procedures and meet the Constructionline gold standard, holding IS0 14001, ISO 9001 and ISO 48001 certification.  We are also JOSCAR registered and will meet all supply chain standards required to work on main contractor sites.