Why Shipping Containers Are Excellent Portable Classrooms
Jan 2021

Why Shipping Containers Are Excellent Portable Classrooms

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With its dull, metallic construction, the humble shipping container may not appear very exciting on the surface. In recent years, though, architects and contractors have realized the potential of these strong, robust, and versatile steel structures in real estate. One of the more innovative alternative uses of shipping containers is constructing prefabricated mobile and portable classrooms. This idea was inspired by the rise in prefab housing, the surplus of one-trip shipping containers in the ports, and the demand for alternative designs for temporary buildings.

Modular or portable classrooms fabricated from container rentals in the GTA provide a cost-effective option for schools looking for more space for their students without breaking their limited budgets. These shipping containers can be converted into any school or learning structure, including a library, science laboratory, media center, or normal classroom. They can also be used as meeting spaces for after-school activities and clubs or as extra office space for guest teachers and other parties to avoid crowding or encroaching on communal areas such as cafeterias, gyms, and libraries.

Here are some reasons why modified shipping containers make great portable classrooms:

Affordable Prefabricated Classrooms

Faced with increasingly tighter budgets, today’s schools are looking for ways to save money without lowering their students’ standard of education. Unfortunately, maintaining ageing buildings can be a costly endeavour for most schools. So, when it’s time to expand or upgrade their facilities, many schools are opting for cost-effective modular classrooms that are long-lasting and require little maintenance over their lifetime. Container classrooms have a lower initial cost and allow the integration of efficiency-improving technologies that reduce utility bills for more savings.

Strong and Sturdy

Shipping containers are strong and secure, protecting their contents from physical damage or even water penetration from outside. Moreover, these steel structures are capable of supporting up to 213,000 pounds. When fully assembled, your reinforced container classrooms can be securely stacked on top of each other or placed on the slab of an existing building without the risk of collapsing or damage. Depending on the number of classrooms or school structures needed, your budget, and space available on-site, you can choose to rent multiple shipping container classrooms and have them stacked on top of each other or sitting on existing buildings.

Durable Structures

Shipping containers are constructed to withstand the extremely harsh marine environment for at least 15 years. Most of the shipping container rentals in the GTA available for conversion into classrooms are used for only one-way trips, which means that they have a lot of life left in them. One-trip containers are nearly new, with virtually no physical defects. Also, since the extreme weather conditions on the ground are not nearly as severe as the harsh sea environment, these steel boxes can be transformed into permanent modular classrooms that last for decades with little maintenance.

Quick Setup

Prefabricated classrooms generally begin their life as global shipping containers. Since these containers are repurposed, the material cost of converting them into classrooms is much lower compared to traditional constructions and other types of prefab structures. Moreover, these containers are designed and delivered to the site as complete modular units that are ready for installation, which translates to lower labour costs and reduced installation, resulting in quicker occupancy.

Large Enough for a Classroom

The common sizes of shipping containers are the 20-foot and 40-foot units. However, the latter option is the most common and best suited for an affordable modular classroom that can accommodate about 30 students or more. These containers can be stacked or combined seamlessly to make a permanent building with multiple classrooms and other key school structures.

Easy Customization

Shipping containers are incredibly versatile, which makes them ideal on-site structures for expanding your school. With a wide variety of cladding materials and finishes, you can revamp a used container into a modern, exciting, and stimulating learning space. Containers can be quickly modified by adding doors and windows for easy access and to maximize natural lighting. Moreover, you can choose the materials and techniques that complement the design and architecture of existing school structures for a uniform look.

Other customization options for modular classrooms include interior cladding and sound insulation; adding the necessary fittings such as blackboards, desks, and chairs to transform the space into a learning environment; and fitting lights, electrical outlets, and heating to make the space comfortable for the students. You can even install partition walls to split up the space into multiple functional areas, and install shelving and storage to make the best use of the room.

Multi-Purpose Environment

While you can convert containers into classrooms, the space can be further customized to suit other school activities, such as science labs, music rooms, art studios, and storage rooms for sports gear. Depending on the application, you can even allow the students to paint murals on the internal and external surfaces of the container classroom to make its dull appearance more exciting.

Focus on Sustainability

Schools are expected to cultivate good practices in every aspect of students’ lives, and where possible, they should practice what they preach. As societies become more sensitive about conserving the environment, schools are emphasizing the concept of reducing, recycling, and reusing. By repurposing used shipping containers and converting them into modular classrooms, schools will be putting that concept into action, allowing students to better understand the concept of carbon footprint reduction. Modular construction also encourages the integration of other eco-friendly practices such as high-efficiency windows, solar power, and so on that are good for the environment and minimize the school’s operating costs and free up funds that can be diverted to other areas.

Final Note

From public schools to private colleges, every learning institution can benefit from choosing modular container classrooms for their next construction project. With readily available container rentals in the GTA, you only need an experienced architect, designer, and engineer to deliver your custom modular classrooms, handling every aspect of the project from drawing up the plans and sourcing materials to overseeing the fabrication, seeking the necessary permits, and ensuring safe installation on-site. You can even join multiple containers to create a modular environment that can be split apart or moved around as desired. You can also install alarm systems, double-glazed glass, and locking doors to improve the security and other bespoke features to meet your specific needs. For more information, please contact Sigma Container Corporation.

Tom Bray is a freelance writer with over five years experience writing for online publications and over ten years in business and sales. He studied journalism and media and has written for various online outlets on multiple topics. His specialty subjects are shipping containers and transport logistics.

Tom’s passion for writing and transport logistics motivates him to provide frequent direct marketing content that can show you how a shipping container can be effectively utilized and modified to each person’s needs.

You can connect with Tom via email at