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Mobile Offices vs. Modular Buildings: Are They Different?

July 26, 2021 in Mobile Offices

Both mobile office trailers and modular buildings are ideal ways for organizations and facilities to add functional space to their business. These two types of structures are similar in that they are:

  • Constructed in a factory-controlled setting
  • Adaptable to meet diverse industry needs
  • Installed on-site in a short amount of time
  • Available to rent, lease, or buy

So, what’s the difference between modular buildings vs. mobile office buildings, anyway? The modular space experts at Satellite Shelters are here to help set the record straight.

What Are Mobile Office Buildings?

Mobile offices are singular, self-contained units mainly used for temporary purposes (ranging anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to a year). Generally rented on a monthly basis, portable office trailers are particularly useful on construction job sites for contractors and subcontractors as well as for short-term space during construction or renovation projects.

Common uses of mobile office trailers include:

  • Conference room space
  • Sales offices
  • Hiring offices and training rooms
  • Construction site trailers
  • Breakrooms
  • Equipment storage space

In addition to offering flexible, temporary workspaces, mobile offices are great when you’re looking to save time and money. These structures can be delivered and installed quickly. Plus, portable office buildings are adaptable to your project’s changing needs. They are easily configurable and can be relocated from one area to another within your job site or transported to another. Mobile offices are available in standard sizes and floorplans: From small 8×24 single-wides to 24×60 double-wide mobile offices, rest assured you can select from a range of unit dimensions to meet your needs.

Some of the standard features built into Satellite Shelters’ mobile office buildings include:

  • Desks and plan tables
  • File cabinets and overhead shelving
  • Electric HVAC systems
  • Bright, fluorescent overhead lighting
  • Private offices (only available in certain models)
  • Restrooms (optional)

Mobile Office Case Study

Frontline workers in the public service sectors, especially healthcare, oftentimes have an urgent need for extra building space with a fast turnaround. For instance, the unique stressors that come with the global pandemic response left thousands of hospitals across the nation lacking adequate treatment and administrative space. When the Oklahoma City VA Hospital was in need of additional administrative space, Satellite Shelters answered the call—providing two double-wide mobile office trailers equipped with several private offices, open workspaces, and ADA-compliant restrooms. 

What Are Modular Buildings?

Compared to mobile offices, modular buildings (aka prefabricated buildings) are usually larger and utilized for permanent or long-term space solutions. If you choose to go with our design/build services, permanent modular buildings are fully customizable in terms of square footage, amenities, and layout. Modular buildings may consist of multiple units side-by-side, include multiple floors, and accommodate even more complex assembly. Constructed with durable materials, they can last as long as traditionally-built structures.

Whether you require administrative offices, commercial space, or swing space during construction or renovations, modular prefab buildings can serve as:

  • Expandable S-Plex Modular Buildings – to support long-term projects and semi-permanent applications when you need room to expand in the future.
  • Medical Buildings and Clinics – to offer a quick cure for growing pains in healthcare spaces with more room for patients and staff.
  • Government Buildings and Military Facilities – to provide cost-effective temporary and permanent modular building solutions that work within government regulations.

Want a highly personalized modular building layout with all the rooms and features you need? That’s the beauty of modular design and build services. At Satellite Shelters, we combine custom building design, planning, and construction into one flexible solution for your organization and staff. We can supply everything you need for your building, so you’re ready to go from the moment you walk in. Check out our specialty products to get an idea of what add-ons your modular building needs.

Modular Buildings in Action

No matter if you’re seeking a simple or sophisticated space for your company, Satellite Shelters can rise to the occasion. Here are just a few of our most exciting modular building projects:

  • A beautiful sales office that blends seamlessly into the city surroundings, Broadwest in downtown Nashville is the perfect example of a modular building that pushes the boundaries of modular construction.
  • With nearly 30,000 feet of space, modular buildings provided this Naval Reactors Facility in Idaho with administrative space for the United States Navy. This design includes interior cubicle areas, spacious conference rooms on each floor, along with a lobby, elevator, and set of stairways in the building.
  • When Rolls Royce Energy Systems needed a new technical center in Mount Vernon, OH, Satellite helped provide a state-of-the-art facility conducive to the needs of their technical engineering staff. The two-story, energy-efficient modular building features an open-concept working environment that allows greater collaboration among team members.

Do I Need a Modular Building or a Portable Office Trailer?

In general, a mobile office is considered a modular building, but a modular building is not always a mobile office. Just as their name suggests, mobile office trailers are used to supplement workspace, often temporarily, and are easily transportable and relocatable. On the other hand, modular buildings encompass many types of structures and hold nearly limitless potential as a longer-term space solution.

When to Lease or Rent a Mobile Office

We offer options to rent, lease, or purchase a mobile office or modular building. Our flexible financing options help ensure your business gets exactly what you need, and our local experts can help determine what financing solutions work best for your situation. When you want to keep your project on schedule and on budget, mobile offices are a go-to solution for the construction and manufacturing industries. These buildings can also serve as flex space for medical professionals or offices when regular buildings are undergoing renovations.

When to Rent or Buy a Modular Building

Modular buildings are your best option for developing robust prefabricated spaces. Whether you choose to rent, lease, or purchase your building, you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck when you plan to use it for more than a year without relocating your worksite. For customers needing large spaces greater than a few thousand square feet, modular buildings can make your vision come to life with custom products and design services.

Unsure About Modular vs. Mobile Office Buildings? Call Satellite

With a diverse inventory of modular units, Satellite Shelters proudly offers mobile office trailers and prefabricated office buildings—from temporary to entire modular facilities for healthcare providers, government operations, and more. Still not quite sure which structure is right for your team? Contact our team today to request a free quote or find your nearest Satellite office to talk to a local representative!