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Industrial Tents vs Temporary Buildings: What is the Difference?

Let’s say you need a new temporary or semi-permanent  warehouse, for example an industrial building, and you need it quickly for extra space. After doing just a small amount of research, you will more than likely be presented with two options: industrial tents and temporary buildings.

At first glance, the two might seem interchangeable, but upon closer inspection, there are significant differences in terms of safety, quality, functionality, and longevity. Industrial tents and temporary buildings are both structures that can be used for temporary covered solutions and provide additional storage space, yes, but they differ in several key ways. This blog will give a brief overview of what industrial tents and temporary buildings are and discuss the quality and practicality considerations in more depth.

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What is an Industrial Tent?

Industrial tents are large, lightweight structures that are typically made from canvas or other durable fabrics. Similarly, to the construction of marquee’s, they are designed to be easily set up/taken down.

No footings or foundations are required, making them ideal for temporary events or as a temporary solution for shelter or storage. Industrial tent structures are often used for outdoor events, such as weddings or music festivals, as well as for emergency shelter or as a temporary workspace.

Overall, an industrial tent is a versatile, portable structure designed to meet the temporary space needs of industries, offering a cost-effective and flexible alternative to traditional permanent buildings.

What is a Temporary Building?

Temporary buildings, on the other hand, are more substantial structures that are designed to be used as a long-term solution for shelter or storage by those in the industrial sector, anywhere up to 25 years. They can be made from a variety of durable materials, including steel, aluminium and fabric PVC roofing, and are often insulated for added protection from the elements.

They also don’t require foundations and ground works like a permanent structure so can be installed far quicker, and can be customised to meet specific needs, such as adding windows or doors, heating or cooling systems or even full interior fit outs.

Quality Considerations: Industrial tents vs Temporary Buildings

While both industrial tents and temporary buildings can be used for shelter or storage, the main quality differences between the two is their durability and longevity. Industrial tents are typically used for very short-term applications, while temporary buildings are designed to be used for months or even years at a time.

Industrial tents, often made from PVC or other lightweight materials, are typically used as temporary shelters for events or very short-term storage. While they are quick to set up and can be placed on an existing hard surface, they have limitations in terms of durability and safety. Tents are not designed for permanent use, and their lightweight nature can make them vulnerable to damage from harsh weather conditions or accidental impacts. Additionally, tent structures may not meet the necessary safety standards required for industrial use, which can pose risks for workers and equipment.

Temporary building structures, such as those from Spaciotempo, are designed with safety, quality, functionality, and longevity in mind. These structures are engineered to withstand the rigors of industrial use, including harsh weather conditions, heavy loads, and frequent use. They are also designed to meet or exceed relevant safety standards, ensuring a safe working environment for employees and protecting valuable equipment.

The temporary structure should have BS EN 1991-1-3:2003 – General Actions (Snow Loads) and BS EN 1991-1-4:2005 – General Actions (Wind Actions) accreditations meaning it has been engineered to meet the UK’s maximum snow and wind loadings standards. After all, structural integrity improves not only safety but longevity too.  Safety is a critical consideration when it comes to all industrial structures. Industrial tents, while often compliant with basic safety standards, may not be designed to withstand the same conditions as Spaciotempo buildings, and you can check our accreditations page for more information.

They may be vulnerable to wind damage, collapse under heavy snow loads, or fail to meet fire safety regulations. By contrast, Spaciotempo buildings are engineered to meet the most rigorous safety standards, including requirements for fire resistance, wind and snow loads, and even earthquake resistance. This ensures a safe working environment for employees and protects against potential damage to equipment.

Practicality Considerations: Industrial tents vs Temporary Buildings

One of the main practical differences between industrial tents and temporary buildings is the level of insulation they provide. Industrial tents typically have very little insulation, as their roofs are made from PVC fabric. This can make them less suitable for use in cold or hot climates, as they will require more heating or cooling to maintain a comfortable temperature inside. In contrast, temporary buildings are steel structures that can offer better insulation and may be more energy efficient to heat and cool.

Another consideration when choosing between industrial tents and temporary buildings is water resistance. Industrial tents can be difficult to waterproof, as water can seep in around the base of the structure. This can be a problem if the tent is being used to store or protect equipment or materials that are sensitive to moisture. Temporary buildings made from steel or other materials may offer better water resistance, as they can be designed with a flashing, guttering systems or a raised pad to prevent water from entering the structure.

Finally, there is the issue of heating and cooling. Industrial tents can be expensive to heat and cool due to their frame design and PVC roof fabric. In contrast, temporary buildings made from steel or other materials may be cheaper to heat and cool, as they are often better insulated and designed to retain heat or cool air. This can make them a more cost-effective choice for industrial applications where temperature control is important.

Planning Permission

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The reality is that most developments in the UK and Ireland will require planning permission and that applies to temporary structures too. The distinction is that planning consent is only required for structures in situ over 28 days.

The cost and time of the planning application is largely dependent on the size of the proposed development and the type of proposal and application fees vary depending on the amount of floorspace created too. Spaciotempo can offer help and advice, or even work with planning consultants and authorities on your behalf to take the stress away.

Considering Building Regulations

To ensure the safety, health, and welfare of occupants, building regulations are a set of legal requirements and standards that dictate the design, construction, and use of buildings. Important differences arise when considering industrial tents and temporary buildings, as building regulations may vary in terms of purpose, structural integrity, fire safety, and accessibility. It is crucial for the success and productivity of any business to ensure that your storage environment complies with these factors.

In certain circumstances temporary buildings may need to meet the same safety and regulatory standards as permanent structures, whereas industrial tents may have more flexibility in terms of compliance due to their temporary nature.

When choosing between the two it is advisable to consult with building professionals like Spaciotempo to ensure compliance with the relevant building regulations before constructing or using either an industrial tent or temporary building.


In conclusion, there are several important considerations to keep in mind when choosing between an industrial tent and temporary building.

While industrial tents may be a good option for some applications, those looking for better quality, such as durability and longevity and practicality, with better insulation, water resistance, and energy efficiency, may want to consider temporary buildings made from steel.

Also, the requirement duration plays a key role. Anything under a few months and an industrial tent should be a viable option but anything over a few months and you’re moving into temporary building territory. Despite there being a wide range of factors to consider, by carefully evaluating your needs and budget over a longer period of time, you can choose the right temporary structure to meet your industrial needs.

If you’d like to get in touch to discuss any of the points raised in this blog in further detail, our team will be more than happy. Contact us on 01889 460049 or get a quote using our interactive Let’s Build form.

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