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Off-site Storage vs On-site Temporary Buildings

It could be a seasonal surge or rapid growth for your business that means you are suddenly in the market for a temporary warehouse or temporary loading canopy. Whatever the reason, weighing up your options for short-term or medium-term storage and warehouse facilities can be very overwhelming.

First and foremost, the good news is that there are plenty of options available, but there are also a lot of factors to consider beyond the finances. It is a choice you should spend a little time thinking over because, while cost ultimately plays a hugely significant role in the decision, you might also want to take a more methodical approach and come to a decision that truly works for your business and not just because it is the cheapest option. For example, warehouse efficiency, location and safe working conditions are all of equal importance and can help to save precious money in the long run.

With all that said, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is whether to hire space off-site or hire space on-site. Each has its merits, which we’ll look at in more depth below.

Storage Building Facilities – Off-Site

Traditionally, leasing off-site has been the go-to solution for businesses requiring immediate storage or manufacturing space. Often, these premises are purpose built, vast, open span structures located on large industrial estates or development plots, providing immediate covered warehousing ready to move into at short notice.

This also means that they are typically well-maintained by the contractor, have additional security measures in place to ensure the safety of the stakeholders and their assets, and are usually in a prime location with good access links anywhere in the UK.

On the flipside, cost-effective warehousing space has been much harder to come by in recent years, and off-site storage costs for these types of structures have skyrocketed. Furthermore, relocation may prove to be a bigger hurdle than initially anticipated when you consider potential impact on lead times and stock management. In addition, it would be amiss not to consider the additional fuel costs and environmental impact of travelling greater distances should you have off-site warehousing that is disconnected from your central headquarters, as well as the added difficulty when you consider the logistics of it all.

Temporary Building Facilities – On-Site

There is another solution to consider that solves your urgent temporary building needs, and this is the option to hire a temporary structure by using existing or creating new site space already available to you.

One of the major benefits of building temporary warehouse facilities on-site is their modularity. Modular buildings can be custom built to meet your exact end-use requirements and will greatly reduce rental costs by creating facilities in the exact size you require, something that an off-the-shelf solution would not do. No relocation is required either, and the structure can seamlessly integrate with the rest of your existing permanent facilities to keep operations moving and satisfy your storage needs. Read more on our range of temporary buildings and their flexibility.

Regardless of the fact you may already own the land where the new facilities are to be situated, planning permission is still required for any temporary structure in-situ for over 28 days. Most semi-permanent building suppliers – like Spaciotempo – can take the stress away by taking care of this process on your behalf.

It’s also important to be mindful of current ground conditions and surroundings at your site. During the construction phase, plenty of unobstructed access will be required to ensure safe working conditions during the build itself, whilst an area of hard ground, such as a concrete slab, is the preferred method for the bolting down process of your new temporary storage solution. Again, this is something the supplier would be more than happy to advise on during their initial site survey.

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Temporary Buildings can Rapidly Increase On-Site Storage

Now that we’ve assessed the pros and cons of off-site storage vs on-site temporary buildings, you might be wondering just how much additional storage capacity a temporary building can provide, and how quickly they can be installed and ready to be used to ensure business continues with the least disruption to operations as possible.

We understand that it’s important to know and truly digest the numbers during any decision-making process, and our chart below is a handy guide to quickly show just how large or small our temporary structures can be.

  Length Width Height
Largest Unlimited 40m* 8m
Smallest 5m 5m 3m
* Whilst the 40m clear span width is not exclusive to Spaciotempo, most competitors can only offer 30m width structures or less, on average.

As already highlighted, by its very nature a temporary building is modular, so this gives you the freedom to create and customise your new warehouse space exactly how you desire. At Spaciotempo, our temporary structures are constructed in 5m bay increments that, not only allows the end user to construct the temporary warehouse to suit their exact requirements but affords them maximum structural integrity on their investment; the fewer the bays there are, the more robust the structure is.

Most temporary building suppliers will ask for you to submit your length, width and height requirements at the time of your initial enquiry, as this enables them to quote more accurately. If additional storage space at height is essential to your temporary building requirements, for example to store pallets right up to the apex, then it’s important to note that not all in the sector are able to supply buildings with unobstructed eave heights and this could severely restrict you. Our advice is to ask questions if you are unsure of anything; ultimately, this is your investment and it needs to be exactly right.

This opens up the possibilities of customising your temporary warehouse with a mezzanine flooring deck that creates a dual layered flooring system ideal for manufacturing or production processes, or racking; ideal for easily organising and distributing goods. Neither of these options are something that a contractor would allow you to do if you decided to rent off-site storage facilities, as you would never truly own the building for yourself.

The Hidden Costs of Off-Site Storage

Unfortunately, the reality is that there are hidden costs involved in off-site storage buildings. It should come as no surprise that the location and logistics can prove to be hugely expensive outlays if they are not aligned to your exact business objectives. A major financial difference between off-site storage and on-site temporary buildings is that when you opt for temporary facilities, what you are quoted is what you pay with no nasty surprises further down the line.

The exact cost of off-site storage depends on multiple caveats, but it is only after the fact that unwanted fees can unexpectedly pop up. Proximity to your existing facilities or headquarters is important, and it can end up costing your business twice the amount of money in double handling fees.

A second hidden cost that could stem directly from this could be the fees to replace any goods that are damaged in transit between sites, a process that can be completely removed with a temporary warehouse building situated on your existing premises. Furthermore, when it comes to the logistics of the haulage and distribution itself, you could realise further down the line that the facilities just do not work for you. The off-site storage building may not be readily configured to the streamlined processes you already have in place or wish to put in place. This could result in not only consistently losing money due to the time it takes to load and unload, but also decreased productivity, disgruntled customers and a complete lack of efficiency.

A bespoke modular building can be designed and created to include access points, such as personnel doors and roller shutter doors, and dock levellers exactly where you need them to be. A temporary industrial loading canopy can also be seamlessly integrated with your storage warehouse or built as a standalone structure that can accommodate multiple vehicles, including the largest double-deck trailers, at various stages of loading and unloading.


There you have it. As a leading temporary building supplier, we hope to have armed you with the inside knowledge and tools that’ll enable you to make an informative decision next time you are in the market for warehouse space. Using the information in our blogs we would recommend taking the time to prepare a brief outlining the requirements that are unique to your business, detailing your obstacles and aspirations, then revisit our website to consider anything you may have missed or overlooked the first time and taking these to be quoted. Remember, that while the cost of your structure is vitally important, it is not the sole caveat to consider.

If you are swayed by the possibilities of temporary storage facilities housed on-site, then many suppliers, like Spaciotempo, will more than likely offer a free, no-obligation site visit and we couldn’t recommend this enough. This will not only enable you to get a good feel for the company and their capabilities but is an ideal opportunity to have more technical questions answered by the experts.

And regardless of whether you ultimately opt for an off-site storage building or on-site temporary building, remember to ask questions. All suppliers in the market want to work with you, and will be acutely aware of their competitors, so will be more than happy to answer all queries you have.

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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