Site Selection & Permits Space Planning & Design

How to Plan for a Modular Building or Portable Classroom

When I get a call from a facility manager or purchasing agent who is in need of a modular building or portable classroom much of the conversation involves logistics – or in other words where, how, and when to deliver and install the structure. Here are a few common points that seem to help quite a bit before the modular building is purchased or leased anywhere in the U.S.

Modular Building site planning is important.
Modular Building site planning is important. 

1. Select a location on your business or school property that is fairly level and can easily be accessed by delivery trucks for the modular. Don’t forget that if you are renting the modular building it will eventually need to be removed so be careful not to block it in with obstacles. Removal can get costly!

2. Locate the closest electrical and plumbing supplies and get prices from contractors to connect the modular building. Eliminate any surprises and keep your costs under control.

3. Draw a simple plot plan showing where the modular building will be located on your property. Show where the existing structures are in relation to the modular and identify the closest parking and handicap-equipped bathrooms. Share this plan with the modular building suppliers and your local building and safety department for permitting.

Modular Portable Classrooms on a school site.
Modular Portable Classrooms 
on a school site.

4. Always consider the amount of space you need and try to accommodate everyone in one or as few modular structures as possible. This will keep your delivery, installation, knockdown and return delivery expenses as well as operating expenses to a minimum. Also…plan your door locations intelligently. Access to and from the modular building or classroom can get costly when you consider adding a handicap ramp and sets of access stairs. Especially if your door locations are not optimized for your site.

As usual, you can call me anytime for help finding or selling a modular building or classroom anywhere in the U.S. or abroad. (800) 806-7485.

About the author

Matt Banes

Matt Banes

Call me directly and I will help you make the smartest decisions before you buy, rent or sell a modular building or portable classroom anywhere in the United States. (800) 806-7485.
Since 1988, I have helped thousands of businesses, public and private schools, and places of worship with decisions concerning planning, permitting, floor plan design and financing of temporary and permanent modular spaces. So, why wait? Call me directly at the Modular Building Help Line today!


  • This post applies to anyone in the U.S. not just Massachusetts. Modular building codes do vary as well as conditional use permits from state to state so use my tips as a guide…not the be all end all to getting a modular building in place and open for business or school.

  • In the event of an emergency situation – like in Boulder, Colorado now, city governments will typically be flexible with the mobilization of modular buildings, mobile office trailers and other temporary structures needed immediately. Always have an emergency plan in place for temporary shelters – know your local suppliers and communicate with them to develop your plan.