Temporary Classroom Buying Guide

Considering Purchasing a Temporary Classroom? – What Do I Need to Know?

Across the year, Midlands Portable Buildings Ltd work with many schools to provide new and refurbished classrooms. Through discussions with our customers, we answer a range of questions regarding hiring or purchasing a modular classroom. There is a lot of planning, decision making and labour that goes into starting this kind of project. This step-by-step guide will help schools understand how we typically complete our installations – as well as the information that needs to be gathered in order for your project to go ahead and run smoothly. Read more below or get in touch to discuss your project with a member of our team.

A long, wooden modular classroom next to a fenced basketball court. Air con is on the side of the classroom.

Planning Permission – Will I Need It?

Any non-permanent building that is going to be used for more than 28 days will need to have planning permission and a temporary classroom is no exception. You will need to have applied for, and been granted, planning permission before you have the modular classroom delivered and installed. Before purchasing a modular classroom, it is important to check with your local authority about the necessary planning permission for installing a temporary or permanent structure on your property.

It’s important to have a plan that meets all local regulations and planning laws. On average, receiving planning permission can take up to 8-12 weeks. This is because an architect has to draw up and submit the plans. Planning needs to be confirmed before any building work can go ahead. Due to a Covid-19 backlog, it could take a bit longer for planning to come through.

Our expert team are happy to advise you about the application for planning permission, and, if you require it, our turnkey service will even take care of all the paperwork and application processes for you.

Access – How Will The Classroom Get Delivered And Installed On-site?

Consider the accessibility of the proposed location for the classroom regarding delivery and installation. The modular classroom will be delivered by large lorries and may require the use of mobile cranes, so you will need to ensure the proposed location is easily accessible for these vehicles. For a crane, hi-ab or lorry to get onto the site, you will need a gate entrance of at least 3.1m, if it is a straight run into the site and location. However, if there is a bend, the entrance needs to be a lot wider, depending on the tightness of the bend.

Other Obstacles To Consider

There are other obstacles to consider when planning a temporary building installation:

Overhead Cables

Overhead cables may impede access to the site or, if they are on the site itself, could alter the route the building needs to be delivered by.

Tree And Root Protection Orders

Tree and root protection orders may need to be considered as if trees, or roots, on-site are protected and are likely to hinder access to the location of the new building then they will need to be worked around.

Ground At The Location

the type of ground the classroom is going to be installed on needs to be taken into consideration in the planning stages. Modular classrooms can be installed on various surfaces such as tarmac, concrete, hardstanding or even grass, but the foundations will need to suit the surface and weight of the building.


Depending on the size of the building, you may need to use traditional foundations or low-impact Jackpad versions.

Other Buildings

The new modular classroom will need to be a minimum of two metres away from any other existing buildings for fire regulations.


If there is ground, such as a playground or grassed area, that needs protection from the heavy plant machinery that will be needed for installation, then a trackway will need to be hired to prevent any damage to the site.

Modular Classroom for Cheltenham Bournside School

Permissions – The Legal Stuff

You will need to ensure you have the landlord’s permission for a modular classroom to be installed on the land the school is on – most likely the Local Education Authority (LEA). If the school is a faith school, you will need to ask permission from the diocese or trustee body and you will need to comply with the Building Act 1984, especially if you’re going to install your modular classroom on a green space – which may reduce the green playing area. This is an important part of the planning permission stage of the procedure.


Modular classrooms can vary widely in cost, so be sure to get quotes from multiple manufacturers and compare costs and features. Additionally, it is worth considering refurbished modular classroom options, which are often less expensive but still maintain quality and compliance with regulations. However you approach the project, a modular temporary classroom will always be cheaper than a traditional bricks and mortar alternative – and will be installed in a fraction of the time a traditional construction will take – making further savings of cost and stress to the educational establishment.


The layout, space and capacity needs of the temporary classroom will impact the project as you will need to consider the number of students the building needs to accommodate and the available space for the unit. Modular classrooms come in a variety of layouts and designs, so consider what will best suit your needs. Some options include traditional classroom layouts, open spaces and computer labs and can have restrooms and kitchenette areas with water, electricity and drainage connected. It’s important to know what you want the new installation to achieve, and who the building is to serve – although officially a temporary building, with proper maintenance they can provide sterling service for many years.

Additional features

Other features you should consider include the energy efficiency and safety features of the installation. With the price of energy as it currently is, ensuring your building has energy efficiency features is important. Look for insulated walls, energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems to help lower operating costs and provide a more comfortable learning environment for students and staff alike. The classroom will also need to meet all local safety codes and regulations, including fire safety and disabled access.

When’s The Latest to Order A Building For A Summer Installation In The Same Year?

Modular classrooms can be delivered and installed quickly – much more quickly than building a traditional extension. However, you do need to factor into the timeline delivery, installation and the application and obtaining of planning permission. The latest you can place an order for a temporary classroom installation to be ready before the start of the academic year in September is May.

How can MPB help?

Our expert team have been designing, planning and installing temporary classrooms for decades and has vast experience which you can benefit from. We can offer brand new temporary classrooms as well as refurbished ones and if your need isn’t for a more permanent accommodation need, we can lease temporary buildings whilst still designing and creating the space and facilities you require. See below our gallery of projects undertaken and to explore the possibilities of temporary classroom space for your requirements, get in touch with a member of our expert team today or call us on 01889 271406.