Temporarily Permanent Buildings

We’re conditioned to think of modular construction in two distinct categories: temporary and permanent.  These two options even help to organize the information in our web site.  But these distinctions are blurring. There are a growing number of clients asking for a hybrid solution, or “temporarily permanent” buildings.

Here are just a few examples:

  • A rural liberal arts college needs office space for professors and administrators for three years while they conduct a major renovation and expansion of their existing building.
  • A boarding school needs new dorms to house students during a surge in admissions. The dorms need to fit in with the campus and appeal to new students, but still provide a cost-effective option as a short-term measure.
  • A biopharmaceutical company needs to provide comfortable office space for a group of researchers relocating to the US for a few years from their European headquarters.
  • A health clinic is experiencing rapid growth and needs additional space suitable for seeing patients, but can’t get permits quickly enough for permanent space.
  • A major corporation wants to sponsor a new hands-on STEM program at a local high school for several  years and then have the option to relocate the facilities to another school.
  • A daycare center located on a lot that the client plans to eventually sell to the city or develop for another purpose.

The list keeps growing. The common theme is the desire for a building that looks permanent — one that fits in well with the existing facilities and surroundings — but can be moved within 2 to 10 years.  foundation for temporarily permanent building

There are several unique challenges with these projects.  Creating an appropriate foundation is one of the key considerations.  Triumph has developed several different techniques for foundations that can visually and structurally rival permanent, but still provide the option for relocating the buildings.

These projects also require a special pricing model that is appropriate for short term use, but takes into account the installation, site restoration costs, and options for reusing the units.

The desire for temporarily permanent buildings isn’t limited to businesses and schools.  The city of Boston developed plans for a temporary sports stadium as part of its bid to host the Olympics.  It included an innovative approach to building facilities that could be moved.  As described in The Boston Globe, the stadium would have been almost $800 million cheaper than the stadium built for the London games and reusable by a college or sports team in another location.

The Boston Business Journal published an article “Here’s Why Olympic Organizers Switched to a Temporary Stadium” and included this excerpt:

Proposed temporarily permanent building for stadiumWhen you hear the word “temporary,” you might think of metal bleachers that fold up like an accordion in a high school gym. Manfredi says that’s not what we’re talking about here. He says these temporary projects can be built, with steel and concrete, in a way that many visitors wouldn’t be able to distinguish them from permanent structures. After the Games are over, the stadium could be broken apart into pieces and transferred to other locations such as schools, he says.

While Triumph doesn’t offer solutions for stadiums (yet), we can help you create an office, classroom, dorm, administrative building, or broadcast center that is designed to be temporarily permanent.

 Would you like to learn more about temporary, permanent or “temporarily permanent” buildings?

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Floating building image in the header, used by permission of Victor Enrich.