School Classroom Container Conversion

school classroom container conversion

School classroom and storage conversion


What made a leading London school opt for a shipping container school classroom conversion, rather than a more traditional structure?

The school, once short listed as a Harry Potter filming location for Hogwarts, needed more space and the idea of a shipping container conversion was considered amongst other conventional building methods. 

Because they already had two standard shipping containers, used for storage on site, the school was already familiar with the cost saving advantages of using shipping containers rather than traditional building space, but this was a more ambitious project for them.

Classroom container conversion plan.

The sketch sent over to us showed the school wanted the building to be two levels high.

There would be a store area on the ground floor used for things such as sports equipment, plus separate drying room that would be useful after student sports activities in the wet weather.

Next, the upper level was to be an area that could either be used as a classroom or meeting room for staff, complete with decked patio.

Conversion to include:

  • Store room.
  • Drying room.
  • Classroom/meeting room with patio deck.

Weighing up the pro’s and con’s.

Quickly the school realised that using shipping containers would offer many advantages compared to other building methods.

By using containers the spend was significantly less than alternative options, but there were other added benefits that swayed their decision.  

The flexibility of modular buildings was very appealing because it meant the installation could be disassembled and re-installed at another location in the future if needed.

Plus, by recycling ex-shipping containers they would be helping the environment versus sourcing new materials used in traditional construction.

  • Converted shipping container option offered budget savings.
  • Environmentally friendly building material.
  • Building would be mobile so could be relocated.

With all the advantages and disadvantages of various building options weighed up by the school, the go ahead was given for us to start the project right away.   

Pre-installation conversion work carried out at Adaptainer’s workshop.

We got to work first by selecting 5 x 40ft used shipping containers that would be suitable for their conversion project.  

Space would be created within the building by removing original container side walls and then reinforcing the containers,where sections had been cut out.   

How they got an energy efficient classroom on a budget.

The school wanted the building to be energy efficient but was limited by budget.

To keep costs down insulated thermal blankets were placed beneath the plywood boarding.

Next was the fitting of double glazed windows and bi-folding patio doors, which enhanced the building’s green credentials further.

Limiting potential condensation with Grafotherm.

The containers were sprayed internally with a product called Grafotherm.

This is a coating which when applied to the upper walls and ceiling is remarkably effective for helping to reduce the possibility of condensation issues.

Conversion highlights: 

  • External re-painting of the containers in a dark green colour would help the container blend visually into the site environment.
  • Removal of side walls and reinforcement of the containers.
  • Insulation using thermal blankets placed beneath plywood boarding (a lower cost option).
  • Double glazed windows.
  • Bi folding patio doors.
  • Anti-condensation paint (Grafotherm) applied to interior.
  • External surface preparation and re-painting.

Post delivery installation work

Once the modified 5 x 40ft containers were delivered and positioned at the schools site we were able to complete the remaining modification work.

This included:

  • Installation of stairs to upper level.
  • Decking added to patio area.
  • Balustrade installed using perspex rather than glass to avoid damage from cricket ground.
  • Paint touch-up.
school classroom container conversion

Inside you can see how space has been created by joining shipping containers together.


school classroom container conversion patio

The result: Budget savings for the school and an environmentally friendly building choice.

Building with shipping containers helped the school to create more space with a limited budget.

Should the school need to re-locate the modular building in the future this would be possible as it could be disassembled and re-positioned at their convenience.

Finally, because second hand shipping containers were used in the project it meant that the school had a building that was created in a environmentally way.

The insulation and double glazing also meant that there would be ongoing energy efficiency too.

school classroom container conversion

The container was painted to blend into the surroundings.


school classroom container conversion

Inside shipping containers, who would know?

Have a school classroom container conversion project idea of your own?