Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a selection of FAQ’s we often get asked about Shipping Containers.
If you have a burning question relating to Shipping & Storage Containers, please get in touch and we’ll happily answer it.

Here are a selection of FAQ’s we often get asked about Portable Cabins.
If you have a burning question relating to Portable Cabins, please get in touch and we’ll happily answer it.

Here are a selection of FAQ’s we often get asked about Portable Toilets.
If you have a burning question relating to Portable Toilets, please get in touch and we’ll happily answer it.

Shipping Container FAQs

1. What is a shipping container?

A shipping container is a steel container built to a worldwide compatible ISO specification allowing it to be shipped and transported by means of cranes, ships and haulage to any worldwide destination. The shipping containers are robust and can hold up to 20 to 35 tonnes in cargo weight.

2. What is a storage container?

The storage container was designed for more as called – a storage container (Non-ISO) they are not built for the shipping industry and are not normally as robust as a conventional shipping container yet they provide perfect storage for all the same needs as a conventional shipping container. They can be built to any transportable size ranging from as small as 6ft to 40ft and are fully secure and lockable.

3. How heavy is a shipping container?

Our shipping containers for sale vary subject to size as do the storage containers yet they range (empty) from two tonne to five tonne.


Container Length 10ft (3.05m) 20ft (6.09m) 30ft (9.14m) 40ft (12.19m)
Weight 1.5 ton (1450kg) 2.2 ton (2230kg) 2.8 ton (2840kg) 3.3 ton (3950kg)

4. What should I buy a shipping or storage container for and why new or used?

The purchase is based both on your budget and the intended use of the unit. Buying any product new gives you a prolonged life span and peace of mind that it will be problem free. Buying used is in some ways the same except it is already a number of years old and will have wear and tear.

5. What size is a shipping container

Shipping containers must conform to ISO dimensions the most common sizes are 20ft (6.06m) x 8ft (2.59m) and 40ft (12.2m) x 8ft (2.59m) yet there are variations for the type of unit IE high-cube containers which are taller at 9.5ft (2.89m) high.

6. Are shipping containers and storage containers weather proof?

Shipping containers have fully welded seams and have full rubber doors seal to the double doors. Storage containers have full welded seams and the doors are manufactured in ways that do not allow rain water getting through the joints to the interior of the door area.

7. Are shipping containers secure?

All measures are taken to make them as secure as possible. All shipping containers new and used and most storage containers have a lockbox fitted to the double door and are referred to as a lock box, cowl or a lock protector. They help to prevent your padlocks being tampered with by covering it.

8. How does the locking device work?

A lock box is not actually a lock so do not be confused when you are told it has a lock box fitted as you will still need a lock unless it is a fitting with a permanent built in lock. A lock box is a steel fabricated 5 to 6mm box that is welded or bolted to the double doors to protect your lock from being damaged or tampered with. The most common lock is called a “Cisa” lock but there are other brand names of lock that do the same job please see our Video on lock products for more information.

9. How to open & close a shipping container door?

On most shipping or storage containers it is the right-hand door that opens first. On a shipping container, there are four locking bars with handles that are held in place by a customs catch. Turn these catches away from the locking bar and hold each of the two handles then give a lift upwards to release them from the retainer lip and move both handles from your right to the left. The left-hand door is the same process yet you turn the handles from right to the left. When closing the doors if both are open the left side door will close first then the right with the locking handles turning in opposite direction to close. Here is a handy video on how to do that.

10. Do shipping containers get condensation?

Condensation is present in most shipping and storage containers in the UK due to our damp weather, every effort is made to minimise this. New build shipping and storage containers are fitted with extra vents to allow better air flow and keep condensation to a minimum. There are products to combat this from Absorba poles to Grafo products or the full fitting of thermal blankets.

11. Are there any other methods used for insulating my shipping or storage container against condensation?

Yes, we have a full lining out service that consists of building a wooden framework to the interior and fully insulating between all the framework with a thermal insulation and then over boarding with various types of wall board subject to your budget ranging from basic shuttering ply to marine smooth faced plyboard.

12. Does my shipping container or storage container need painting?

New shipping containers shipped once to the UK come in limited colours mainly blues, greens, greys or browns yet for an additional fee we can colour change them for you to the colour that you require. New built storage containers manufactured here in the UK can be sprayed in a single colour of choice as it is included in the purchase cost. Both used shipping containers and storage containers are in the original colour or the colour they were sprayed previously yet again they can be sprayed to a RAL or BS colour of choice excluding metallic or pantone colours. Please refer to our full colour chart for more information.

13. How long does a shipping or storage container last?

A shipping container or storage container needs to be maintained periodically and if carried out then they should last for upwards of 20 to 30 years. We recommend that you oil and grease any door parts and oil locks and mechanisms. Check for signs of surface rust, especially on the roof and touch them up with paint if required

14. How do I know if our premises is suitable for a shipping or storage container?

Our Sales team are on hand to answer any questions regarding the suitability of your land or premises and will answer all questions in a clear and helpful way without obligation.

15. Do I require a shipping or storage container yet my land is uneven?

There are various methods used to solve this problem. We can give you the base pad sizes for the container in question and then you can even up the ground by using paving flags or railway sleepers as which is the most common method. These items placed on the four corners of the unit or in extreme cases we can supply and fit adjustable jacklegs to the container that are adjusted on each of the four corners to the lay of the land. The Hiab driver will normally do this for you.

16. What will happen once I choose and purchase a shipping container or storage container?

Our sales person will give you a competitive quotation for the delivery to your location. The container would be delivered to your premises by means or a Hiab wagon being either a rigid or artic wagon subject to the size and quantity purchased. These wagons have a lifting crane attached to the vehicle for lifting of equipment both off and on to its deck.

Portable Cabins FAQs

1. What is a portable site office or cabin?

Portable is a common term for a Cabin that can be transported from site to site, it may be totally different from an Anti-vandal office as they are also Portable and can be also moved from site to site.

2. What is the difference between a portable office and an Anti vandal office?

People regard the portable office as being a more up market as some of them are purpose built with a sleeker finish and are more aesthetically pleasing designs with a flat panel robust steel finish or plastisol coated steel finish yet they are secure with both steel shutters or strong mesh guards. These steel and cladded type units were produced and have in recent years replaced the old timber and texture finished wooden cabin. Anti-vandal units are still used for the exact same purpose and yet again are portable so people do also ask for an Anti vandal portable office.
Anti vandal cabins are designed to provide a longer lasting alternative with more detailed security in mind hence why they have a solid steel construction with heavy steel access doors and steel protective window shutters. They became very popular in the construction industry to prevent both damage by vandals and also break in and theft of goods from inside and are the most popular with all customers due to ever increasing crime in most areas so they are again a safe option for the security aspect.

3. What is a plastisol Portable office?

A plastisol office is named purely from one of the products used in the building of the cabin and that is a plastic coated galvanised steel sheet. There are mainly two types used in the construction with the old method being a plastisol coated galvanised steel sheet being bonded to a plyboard so that outside of the cabin has a steel finish and is also rust proof. The second method is again similar except the Plastic coated galvanised sheet is bonded to a polystyrene or foam type block. These sheets are fixed in to the structure framework of the cabin being built to form the walls

4. What is a modular building?

Modular buildings are sections of prefabricated units that can consist of any number of sections joined together on site in single story or even multi story structures that have many big scale uses for instance School classrooms, Multi office complexes. The interiors again can range from open plan class rooms to mixed offices with toilet and kitchen facilities. Some councils are having them as temporary houses due to housing shortages.

5. Are all portable cabin units made secure?

The doors on all of our used  Portable Cabins and Anti vandal cabins have various styles of built in dead locks or sash type 5 lever locks and we supply a minimum of two keys per lock . The steel windows guards have spring loaded shoots bolts or spigot bolts that are both operated and locked from the interior. You will also find that most units have anti jemmy devices fitted to them to resist forced entry on the doors and steel window guards.

6. What Is a Jackleg portable site office?

A jackleg cabin can be a portable or anti vandal office with two jacklegs on each side. These jacklegs are now becoming obsolete on a lot of the modern built units and are fitted on request as an extra option on new build units. The purpose of them was to enable a Cabin to be put on uneven ground as you could adjust the legs to suite the ground and level the cabin. They were also used for cabins being stacked as the tops of the jacklegs had bolt together holes in them. Most cabins sold now have the alternative secure stacking points on the four corner posts on a steel unit.

7. Do you have literature or information on your used steel portable cabins and anti vandal offices?

We are updating our site daily with new stock so we include all the details and photos of each cabin and a data sheet with the cost. We also have sales staff to answer any questions you may want to ask about the cabin that you may want to purchase from our company

8. I cannot see the type of portable cabin I require on your site so what are my options?

If you do not see the type of portable cabin or site office you require then please fill in the get a quote form and put down in brief details your requirements or you can request us to call you to explain your requirement and a member of our staff will be happy to answer with no obligations any questions you want to ask.

9. What is a refurbished used portable cabin?

A used refurbished portable cabin is a cabin that we in most cases carry out the following. We fully inspect the unit and check and test all electrics, fittings and as standard we renew all convector heaters, hand washes and water boilers if fitted. We also if we deem necessary paint the interior and subject to the condition if required replace or repaint the vinyl floor cover. The exterior is prepared and painted in a RAL or BS colour. All completed work is then checked and a set of photographs of the unit are taken to be put on our website along with a data sheet.

10. Are all the interiors on portable cabins and anti vandal site offices the same or do they have different things inside of them?

We have dozens of different interiors as these units accommodate a massive range of onsite facilities such as open plan offices, toilet blocks, canteens, drying rooms, shower units, changing rooms, meeting rooms and vast types of mixed interiors IE- Office kitchen toilet office, split office canteens, Sleeper units with bedroom, kitchen, toilet and shower.

11. What if I want extra fittings in the portable cabin I have picked out?

Provided there is sufficient room within the unit we can fit most extras IE sinks, partitions, toilets, extra steel access doors and extra windows so please see our accessories section for costs. Yet in most cases the cabin you pick from our vast choice will have all the items required.

12. What size choice do I have in used portable and Anti vandal cabins?

The most common sizes used throughout the portable cabin supply chain start from in Length and width — 10ft x 8ft – 3.048m x 2.4384m up to 32ft x 10ft – 9.7536m x 3.048m. please see our choice of portable and anti vandal cabins on our main page that all have data attachments. We can source larger used portable units yet there are not many around as they are normally one off bespoke that have been built for a particular job.

13. Can I stack or join these used portable or anti vandal cabins together.?

Yes, we do have compatible units that will stack on top of each other although an external staircase would be required. Please see our accessories page for staircase costs + set up costs. Linking portable cabins side by side is achieved by each unit having two central doorways. They have two steel removable access doors with one of them on each unit being temporarily removed for the link up. Once the units are sat together side by side it forms a walkway through the centre of each unit. You can also have internal partitions fitted to form a corridor. The outside of each doorway is the temporarily sealed to stop any water from leaking in to the unit. The units at any time can then be split in to single units again and the removed access door refitted once they are no longer required on that project, hence becoming a single portable cabin again. Please note that all double stacked or linked units should have suitable ground to withstand weight loads so if you are in any doubt then please contact a member of our sales team for advice prior to placing your order.

14. Do you sell new bespoke portable cabins or anti vandal cabins?

Yes, we can build to any bespoke specification that you have in mind. If you give us the brief details of your requirements we shall then produce a CAD drawing of the cabin and forward it to yourself with all costs and if you wish to make any alterations, we shall alter the drawing and amend any difference in costs. Bespoke new builds can be built to suit any environment that even allows you to take away the rugged security aspect to give them a conventional building effect with the fitting of superior exterior cladding and timber finishing.
Certain fast food chains have bespoke sectional buildings in use that actually look like brick building yet it is a cladding finish.

15. Do you hire portable cabins or Anti vandal units?

Yes, we hire any of our units that you see on our website so please feel free to discuss this with a member of our sales team.

16. Do I need planning permission for my chosen Portable cabin?

The unit is deemed as a temporary portable unit so provided it is not on public property then you would require the consent of the landlord. Yet we say to all our potential customers that as different councils and areas of the country have different views then do not assume being a portable unit that you do not require planning permission so it is in your interest to seek local advice.

Portable Toilet FAQs

1. What is a portable toilet block?

A portable toilet block is a transportable toilet facility consisting of one toilet to larger amounts of toilets and urinals subject to your requirement to provide both toilet and wash facilities that can be used by both male and female.

2. What is a portable anti vandal toilet block?

A portable anti vandal toilet  is a purpose built robust toilet facility built inside a secure steel unit with entrance via steel access doors that are secure and lockable. Offering various interiors for both male and female usage with separate or combined access points.

3. What is the difference between a portable and anti vandal toilet?

In principal, they are both toilet units yet a portable toilet is also a transportable toilet yet they can be more aesthetically pleasing on both the internal and external finish, they serve all sectors from office and public use to corporate event type use. Anti-vandal is as described for a harder wearing bashed around environment with an element of security added to the features and for the prevention of vandalism and burglary.

4. What is inside a portable or anti vandal toilet?

In most cases, there is a divided male and female section. IE a 2+1 portable toilet has, in the gents with its own access door 2 x toilets 2 x urinals 2 x sinks and in the ladies side with its own access door it has 1 x toilet and 1 x sink. Each side has full lighting heating and hot and cold wash facilities. We also supply single toilets in both used and new.

5. Are your toilets suitable for disabled people?

Our used toilets are sold as per our description of the available item on our web site, and if it did have a disabled toilet within the unit we would clearly add the details including the access widths and all disabled fittings included within that area . We do supply new build disabled toilets to meet any requirements and regulations required and we are happy to give a free quotation upon request for your new built disabled toilet facility so please ask.

6. How many male and female toilets and fittings can I have?

In our used units our biggest size of toilet block is 32ft x 10ft and the interiors can vary in the same way as the question above including the ratio of fittings IE-  6+1  3+2  4+2 5+1  3+1 and other various combinations of both male and female layouts . On new build, we can build to any specification and interior layout that you may require to serve both personal or if required HSE recommendation.

7. Why do I need a portable toilet?

If you employ anyone or have an onsite work force of any amount however short the period without welfare facilities then you must as is reasonably practicable supply appropriate facilities whilst in the place of work IE toilet, wash, welfare, rest facility.

8. What toilet and wash facility do I need to provide?

You should provide adequate toilet, wash,and rest facilities for all working people at you site or place of work. You can refer to the HSE reference washing and toilet facilities required, and they give helpful information.

9. Do we need two lots of toilets for both the men and women?

No is the answer as the Male and female side are as standard separate and although they are the same unit they have separate rooms and entrance doors.

10. What if I want male or female toilets only?

We can adapt the interior to suit both male or female use  by inclusion or removal of fittings.

11. Are the portable toilets that you supply new or used?

We supply both used and new portable toilet units.

12. I require a used portable toilet – will it have clean toilets and fittings?

Yes, it is a regular asked question yet all our toilet units are fully cleaned and pressure washed and any unsuitable parts IE Cracked toilet seats or stained toilets are replaced.

13. Do any of your used toilet units include shower cubicles?

Once again, our used have various interiors so please ask our staff about your requirements as we do have various units that have had shower cubicles fitted at some point. We can also fit showers in our used toilets subject to the existing layout.

14. Do you supply used or new shower units?

Yes we do have used shower units from single bay shower cubicles to four bay Cubicles in stock most of the time, so please ask our sales staff for further details. We also build new shower units to any specification with toilets and drying area included if required, so please ask for a free no obligation quotation from our sales staff.

15. Do I need this portable toilet on a permanent basis?

A portable toilet unit can be used for temporary or permanent use, as standard they are used whilst you do not have toilets available whilst work is being carried to a premises or construction site and then removed when work is completed.

16. What if my workforce are working at regular temporary worksites and various locations?

As reasonably practicable you need to provide flushing toilets and running water at all sites. Portable toilets are available from Container Cabins ltd for both sale and hire for your premises and can be moved by means of a Hiab wagon from location to location when jobs are completed. (site move quotations on request)

17. Do I need planning permission for my portable toilet?

A portable toilet is like any other portable unit and they in most cases are only a temporary facility yet each council work to different regulations so if in doubt seek information from your local council.

18. How is the portable toilet when delivered, connected to my soil and water supply?

Your plumber will be required to locate your water and waste and connect them to the inlet and outlet on the portable toilet.

19. I do not have any drains for the waste – is this a problem?

We can supply a jackleg portable toilet to enable an effluent tank to sit underneath to collect waste.

20. Do you supply effluent tanks if required?

Yes we supply effluent tanks,and steel steps for access to the portable toilet due to it being raised off the ground, please ask for costs if required.

21. How often does this effluent tank require to be emptied and is there a charge?

The emptying of the effluent tank is mostly down to how often the facility is used and by how many people. Some tanks have gauges fitted yet with average use it is every couple of weeks and there is a charge made per empty of the tank by the waste collection company that you chose to use and the cost varies, we are happy to give a quotation and arrange for you if required.

22. Is there a guideline of how many toilets I have to supply for male and female?

Yes, I have set out a HSE guideline for usage below.

How many toilets should a workplace have?

The relevant legislation is the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Regulation 20, Sanitary conveniences, states:
1.      Suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences shall be provided at readily accessible places.
2.      Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1), sanitary conveniences shall not be suitable unless –
a.      the rooms containing them are adequately ventilated and lit;
b.      they and the rooms containing them are kept in a clean and orderly condition; and
c.      separate rooms containing conveniences are provided for men and women except where and so far as each convenience is in a separate room the door of which is capable of being secured from inside.
The Approved code of practice goes on to give minimum numbers of facilities:
(The number of people at work shown in column 1 refers to the maximum number likely to be in the workplace at any one time)
Number of toilets and washbasins for mixed use (or women only):

Number of people at work Number of toilets Number of washbasins
1-5 1 1
6-25 2 2
26-50 3 3
51-75 4 4
76-100 5 5

Toilets used by men only:

Number of men at work Number of toilets Number of urinals
1-15 1 1
16-30 2 1
31-45 2 2
46-60 3 2
61-75 3 3
76-90 4 3
91-100 4 4

23. If I have checked all above and ordered the correct unit is there any other useful information that I may require?

You should ensure that the facilities are kept clean and that there is always a supply of toilet paper and soap etc. So, put in place a system to maintain them and regular cleaning to avoid any unwanted odours.