Construction sites will generally require office facilities to provide accommodation for site managers, provide space for meetings and to provide storage for site documentation. Site offices are often described as ‘site huts’ even if they are large and well fitted out.
It is important that site offices are comfortable, attractive and versatile, as well as being suitably robust and secure. Regulation 17 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (the CDM Regulations) states:
‘A construction site must, so far as is reasonably practicable, have sufficient working space and be arranged so that it is suitable for any person who is working or who is likely to work there, taking account of any necessary work equipment likely to be used there.’
Each individual project will have different requirements for site office provision. On large projects separate offices may be provided for site foremen, engineers and the commercial and project management team.
As site offices are generally temporary in nature, only there for the duration of the construction works, they are often prefabricated, or constructed from portable, or modular, buildings, frequently referred to as ‘portacabins’ (although 'Portkabin®' with a 'k' is a trade marked brand name of Portakabin Limited). These are standard sizes and can be fitted together or stacked to form almost any configuration of accommodation required. They can include reception spaces, offices, meeting rooms, kitchens, toilets, showers, changing facilities, lockers, storage and so on.
Site offices are easily transported on flat-bed trucks and set up on site using a crane. Typically they have four adjustable steel legs with attachments for stacking. Site office panelling is usually made of galvanised steel sheet and a rigid insulation core. A plasterboard inner lining is used for walls and ceiling. Windows are often designed to optimise light levels, with white walls and heavy-duty flooring that is easy to clean. Several manufacturers provide anti-vandal protection, such as pyro-shield windows with steel shutters and high-security steel doors.
They are often stacked with external metal stairs leading to the second floor. Large sites may have several inter-linked portable offices capable of holding hundreds of people, stacked up to three-storeys high with internal stairs and steel frame bracing.
They may be purchased or rented, and once construction is complete, either returned or take to a new site for re-use.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki:
- Lead times.
- Lighting of construction sites.
- Materials on site.
- Off site materials.
- Office definition.
- Office space planning.
- Pre construction information.
- Site appraisals.
- Site layout plan.
- Site storage.
- Structural systems for offices.
- Types of crane.
- Workplace definition.
 External references
- ‘Building Construction Handbook’ (6th ed.), CHUDLEY, R., GREENO, R., Butterworth-Heinemann (2007)
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