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Shipping containers have been at the heart of the construction industry since the early 1980s. With the hectic nature of building sites and the extensive amounts of staff, materials and equipment that need management, it’s hardly surprising that demand for affordable, mobile structures has remained high.

Their durable and versatile design makes them useful in various ways, so here we break down five popular uses for shipping containers on construction sites.


The most common use for shipping containers on construction sites is storage. In the often-chaotic environments of construction sites, it’s vital to have a place where tools, materials and other equipment can be organised and stored in a safe way but accessible to staff. Shipping containers provide a durable, weather-resistant solution to this problem. With the variety of dimensions available, along with features like racking and anti-moisture units, finding a suitable container is easier than ever.

Shipping containers can protect your goods from more than just weather, though. With the price of building materials such as timber, plaster and steel rising due to shortages, construction sites are an attractive prospect for thieves. Unfortunately, tools are also in high demand for criminals, with four in five tradespeople experiencing tool theft. Many shipping containers feature a welded Lockbox and Corten steel construction, meaning users can relax knowing that their equipment and materials are as safe as possible.

Rest and Recreation

It’s widely understood that physically and mentally exhausted employees make more mistakes and, in the construction industry, mistakes often result in injuries and even fatalities. When polled, 23% of construction workers admitted to falling asleep at work, showing how widespread this problem is.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that every employee is entitled to enough tables and chairs for each employee, facilities to prepare and eat food and hot drinks, as well as ventilation and insulation in hot and cold weather, respectively.

That’s why rest and recreation areas are one of the most important ways that shipping containers are being used on construction sites. Whether it’s a canteen where employees can enjoy a meal, a break room where they can relax or even sleeping accommodation for those locations where a daily commute is impractical, a shipping container can provide the answer. Canteen interiors offer a sink, water heater and worktop, making them the perfect space for employees to take breaks.

Interior of Philspace shipping container kitchen

Office Space

Many construction sites use a workspace for project managers, as well as holding conferences, meetings and training. We know that comfortable, happy employees work harder, so it’s essential to make sure that these spaces are temperature controlled, as well as spacious enough to accommodate the right number of staff comfortably.

As mentioned above, the security benefits of shipping containers also mean expensive office equipment like computers and printers can be left on-site with confidence and peace of mind, making office space a perfect use of shipping containers for construction sites.

Well-lit, insulated office interiors with heating and electrical sockets should come as standard. With pinboards and furniture as optional extras, shipping containers can provide an adaptable and bespoke on-site office space, no matter your requirements.


Good-quality bathrooms are vital to any construction site, with staff often working in high numbers and close proximity.

HSE guidelines dictate that employers must provide toilets wherever possible and that comprehensive washing facilities are needed for employees to properly wash and dry their hands, face and forearms.

This is a great example of how shipping containers are useful on construction sites.  As many construction sites are in secluded locations where access to a traditional bathroom may be limited, shipping containers provide a mobile and adaptable solution. There are three main types:

Single Toilets

These fully mobile and self-contained units come with a hot-wash facility, meaning they don’t need to be connected to a mains water supply.

Toilet Blocks

Featuring anti-vandal construction and easy-clean interiors, these easily-installed blocks are perfect for larger sites.

Portable Shower Hire

Designed for a wide range of uses, portable shower units have fully-adjustable showerheads, soap trays and privacy curtains.

Philspace shipping container toilet block

First Aid Station

The construction industry can be a hazardous environment, with a higher risk of injury than almost any other sector. As a result, most employers are aware of their duty of care to employees, one of which is providing an accessible and proportionate first aid box. For smaller sites, this might be in a section of a larger work area, such as an office space or break room, but having a specialised first aid zone can be a major advantage for larger workplaces.

With a legal requirement of one first aider for every 50 construction workers, the space and facilities for those trained in first aid to store their equipment and carry out their skills is vital for a hazardous workplace. This is an excellent way shipping containers can be used on construction sites.

Looking for construction site solutions?

With our product variety, complete service package, and in-house fleet, Philspace provides a reliable and high-quality service regardless of your requirements.

Take a look at our products here, or feel free to get in touch for a more detailed chat.

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