Modular Building Institute
Relocatable Buildings Annual Report 2019 | Modular Building Institute

Relocatable Buildings Sector: Markets Served


Relocatable buildings have become a critical factor in managing student demographics and increasing enrollments. Relocatable classrooms are also ideal for swing space during new construction or renovation. Convenient, flexible, cost-effective temporary buildings can be delivered and operational in as little as 24-hours. These classrooms are measured for quality and code compliance by state or third-party agencies through routine and random inspections, testing, and certification services.

Customers may choose single classrooms or arrange multiple buildings in clusters to create a campus feel. MBI members supply steps, decks, ramps, and even furniture. Members also offer lease, purchase, and lease-to-purchase financing for a variety of public and private school needs. These classrooms are sometimes referred to as temporary, portable, or mobile classrooms.

School districts across North America are collectively the largest owners of relocatable classrooms, with about 180,000 buildings. California schools own close to 90,000 units; Texas schools own about 20,000; and Florida owns about 17,000. Typically, larger school districts with high growth are more likely to own the units, which explains why California, Texas and Florida have so many. States like Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland own and operate about 3,000 each.

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Relocatable buildings have their roots in construction-site trailers where speed, temporary space, and relocatability are important. Used as standard field offices, construction site and in-plant buildings are available for immediate delivery. Standard construction is wood, but steel units are available to meet noncombustible requirements. In-plant buildings are available as single- or two-story units for industrial environments with noise-reducing insulation, and are typically moveable by forklift and include electrical and communications wiring, heating, air conditioning, and even plumbing.

2020 Modular Construction Industry Reports from the Modular Building Institute


Relocatable buildings for healthcare applications are designed and constructed to uncompromising standards of quality. A customer’s new clinic, hospital extension, laboratory, diagnostic center, MRI unit, dentist office, or other medical facility can be open for business and serving communities in as little as a few days. Is your interest in serving patients as quickly as possible in the most-safe and aesthetically pleasing environments available? These facilities offer quick, quiet, safe, and clean buildings with an unlimited choice of interior décor and furniture and equipment leasing.

General Administrative & Sales Office

When production demands increase, relocatable buildings can temporarily enlarge a current facility without permanent alterations to the site. Because the space is not permanent, many companies are able to expand without the budget approval process necessary for traditional capital expenses. Relocatable offices can be single- and multi-story buildings configured to include independent offices, conference rooms, and large open spaces for cubicles or other partition systems. Large and small businesses, as well as local and state governments, are typical users of relocatable office space.


Earlier occupancy means quicker return on investment. For retail occupancies, this can mean significant cash flow advantages. Standard floorplans are available for immediate delivery while custom buildings are built to specifications in weeks, not months. Unique to the modular process is concurrent construction: site-work occurs while buildings are being put together in a quality-controlled factory.

Typical retail applications include new home sales centers, banks, golf pro shops, automobile fleet ownerships, college bookstores, and concession stands. If a client’s emerging business needs are short-term, temporary space will accommodate their financial situation, space requirements, and deadlines.


Relocatable buildings can be custom built for a variety of access and control situations. Toll booths, tickets sales offices, guard stands, and weigh stations are common applications. One- and two-story wood and steel buildings have straight walls or walls that are tilted to improve views and reduce glare. MBI members supply a full line of portable storage containers for either short- or long-term. Heavy-duty storage units feature ground-level entry with double-swing doors for easy accessibility and are ideal for construction-site storage, equipment storage, warehousing, recordkeeping, industrial manufacturers, retailers, and others.

Equipment & Storage

Economical and convenient equipment and storage buildings offer onsite protection from inclement weather and theft. Consistently relocatable buildings offer durability and strength. Equipment shelters for construction sites, chemical storage buildings, temporary generator housing and other applications are designed and built by MBI members to guard a client’s investment. These buildings can be as simple as steel containers to units that are heated and air conditioned with exteriors of brick, stone aggregate or stucco.

Emergency/Disaster Relief

There is simply no other means of providing fast, transitional shelter and basic community needs following natural disasters than relocatable buildings. Relocatable buildings can be quickly and efficiently deployed for emergency shelter, medical and educational needs, or to accommodate relief workers.

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