Today, Portakabin is a market leader in the design, manufacture and installation of modular buildings, and a pioneer of advanced offsite construction, but it wasn’t always so.

Founded in 1961 by Donald Shepherd

Portakabin was an immediate success due to the uniqueness and innovation of its products, and so began its UK footprint and expansion into Europe in the 1970s gathering many awards along the way.

As innovators in the science of building, in Ireland we provide buildings for hire as well as supplying construction site accommodation. We deliver building solutions for organisations of any size, in sectors ranging from manufacturing, education and health to transport, utilities and construction.

Portakabin remains in the ownership of the York based Shepherd family and now employs more than 1,750 people across ten European countries.

Sharing the wonder of modular construction

We all work together to make a positive difference to people’s lives. Our purpose is to bring the wonder of modular building to the world. It’s a bold ambition, driven by our deeply held conviction in the benefits of modular construction.

  1. 1961

    Donald Shepherd’s vision for ready-built, easily-transportable buildings becomes reality with the birth of Portakabin and the development of the first portable building model, the PK16. Right from the start a company-wide ethos of integrity and commitment, combined with Donald Shepherd’s innate entrepreneurial spirit were driving forces behind Portakabin becoming a global company and one of the UK’s best known brands.

  2. 1970s

    Steady growth and expansion across Europe, as well as sales from Beijing to Belize, sees Portakabin winning the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement.

  3. 1980s

    Portakabin is awarded a BBA (British Board of Agrément) certificate confirming compliance with permanent building standards for its Instant Building Module. It’s the first to be awarded for a building module system.

  4. 1990s

    Portakabin wins another Queen’s Award, this time for technological achievement in recognition of the advances it has made in the science of building.

  5. 2000s

    Portakabin opens its first assembly plant in continental Europe. Portakabin (Refurbished) is also launched, specialising in the refurbishment of quality pre-owned Portakabin buildings.

    Launching the Titan building, the largest single modular building in Europe kick starts the millennium as Portakabin also launches its unique Customer Charter – the first and only modular manufacturer to have such a customer service commitment with its unique on time on budget promise.

    Portakabin is listed in the Top 500 UK Superbrands.

  6. 2010s

    With a new multi-million pound state-of-the-art production facility at its international headquarters in York, Portakabin continues to invest for the future.

    Portakabin makes a strategic investment in Germany securing a network of German hire centres and a manufacturing plant in the process.

    Winning a Zero Waste Gold Award, Portakabin shows its commitment to sustainable waste management and also achieves a Dun and Bradstreet top credit score rating of 1.

Almost 60 years on, the family ownership of Portakabin remains unchanged as do its core values

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