How To Convert a Portable Classroom into an Office

How to convert a used portable classroom into an office in California
Matt Banes modular building information source
Written by Matt Banes

Can I convert a used California Portable Classroom into an office for my business?

Yes! A used California Portable Classroom can be remodeled and used as an office as long as the necessary steps are taken to recertify the structure with the State and you obtain the required use permits.

This is a question I answer every month and it seems to be getting more popular as more used portables become available in California. The reality is that a standard 24’ x 40’ used portable classroom has 960 square feet of open space that can easily be remodeled with an office-style floor plan. Adding private offices, bathrooms, meeting rooms, windows, and doors can be accomplished quickly and cost-effectively. This opens a world of possibilities for any business that needs office space.

All types of California businesses have caught on to this trend in modular building because it’s fast, flexible, affordable, and, in many ways, sustainable. Any time a structure can be repurposed in lieu of being demolished, it’s a plus for the planet.

Some Common Uses for Converted Portable Classrooms

Over the past few years, I’ve modified used portables into office space for public and private companies in the following industries:

Gas and Power
Residential and Commercial Construction
Real Estate Development
Retail Sales
Special Events
Automotive Sales
Professional Sports Franchises

Companies within these segments needed modular office space for special projects, remote workspaces, business administration, dispatch, upsizing and downsizing operations, seasonal business, and in many cases to launch new business units. So, the idea of being able to occupy a nice and new feeling office within 4-6 weeks of placing an order caught on and gained popularity as we promoted the idea of buying a repurposed used Portable Classroom to meet a facility need quickly.

Here’s How to Convert a Portable Classroom into an Office

STEP 1. The key to this process is to make sure the used Portable is recertified in the State of California as an HCD (Department of Housing and Community Development) approved commercial modular building. This is a process that the owner/seller of the used portable normally handles directly or through a third-party inspection service or Architect with commercial modular building experience. This process involves a set of building plans, a physical inspection, and some detailed questions and answers between the state’s HCD representative and the Architect or Engineer pursuing the certification. You can learn more about this process on the California HCD web page for Permits and Inspections.

STEP 2. The next key to using a Portable Classroom as an office is to obtain the required building permits from your local building and planning authority. This is a standard procedure no matter what type of temporary or permanent modular building or portable classroom you want to install for your business or school. You will need to know where you will be installing the remodeled Portable Classroom, what it will be used for, how long it will be in service if it will have bathrooms, where the utility connections will come from, and if the general public will have access to the structure. Again, this is a process that is typically handled by a professional Architect or Engineer with experience in the modular building business but for your initial research, you should have some of the details in mind. If you are interested in learning more about this here is a list of all local Building Departments throughout California. This is a good starting point if you need to investigate permits for a used modular building or portable classroom installation at your location. You can also download the Free iModular Modular Building Planning Guide for help in the early stages of your facility project.

If you are searching for office space in California and need to occupy it quickly, I suggest renting or buying a converted California Portable Classroom or have one remodeled to your specific space needs. You can specify exactly what your floor plan needs are and select the exact interior and exterior finishes that make you and your staff comfortable and productive. The fact that your future office was a Portable Classroom at a California school shouldn’t be a problem at all. In fact, it may be good luck for your business going forward. After all, it’s smart space!

You can always call me directly with questions or to discuss projects that iModular has completed. We also may be able to find you the perfect remodeled office. Call (800) 806-7485 or (714) 442-2757 extension 502 to reach me in Huntington Beach.

About the author

Matt Banes modular building information source

Matt Banes

Since 1998, I have assisted numerous businesses, schools, and churches in buying, renting, and selling various types of modular buildings, mobile offices, and portable classrooms suitable for diverse space needs. One of my core success principles lies in my accessibility via phone to provide prompt assistance, answer queries, and aid in the search for cost-effective space solutions that align with your facility goals. So, why wait? Call me directly at the Modular Building Help Line (800) 806-7485.