A dome shelter or a steel shed? Which one is right for you?


dome shelter vs steel shed
Are you working for a mining or civil or construction contractor/operator? Does your site require a structure such as a storage facility, office space, maintenance workshop or warehouse? If you answered yes to these questions, then you are on the right page, keep on reading.

If you answered yes to the above questions, then you are effectively looking for either a steel shed or a fabric shelter such as a container shelter/dome shelter to meet your needs. Most people reach this stage- it is beyond this that they are confused about. Container shelter or steel shed- which one is right for you?

To help you answer this question, there are a few important questions you need to ask yourself.

Do you want to set up a permanent structure or a semi-permanent/temporary one?

If you want to set up, say an office or mess hall, which you will use for 25+ years, then you are effectively seeking a permanent solution. There is very little need for relocation. You will likely customize the building based on your needs and require extensive electrical and plumbing works.  In this case, as steel shed would make more sense over a container shelter.

Steel Shed

If you want to set up, say a workshop for servicing light vehicles on a mine site, you will likely want a temporary (< 5 years) or semi-permanent (< 25 years) solution. This is because mining operations experience change constantly- an open cut mine might be closed after 5 years and a new cut will be created at a different site to extract minerals and metals. Hence, these light vehicle workshops must be mobile and relocatable. A shelter dome can be dismantled and installed on the new site within a few weeks; the downtime is very low. Compare this to a steel shed where the setup can take anywhere between one to two years. Thus, a dome shelter is a better choice over a steel shed.

Container Mounted Shelter

FYI, satellite/mobile workshops are used for maintaining or servicing heavy machinery, excavators, dump trucks and light vehicles on or near the mine or construction site. They are popular as clients can undertake regular maintenance of their machinery without taking said machinery off-site, hence, achieving cost and time efficiencies.

How important is lead time?

Lead time is the time between the initiation and completion of a process. Some clients have a requirement for a low lead time while others have more flexibility and are satisfied with longer lead times.

The need for an on-site workshop or storage facility arises quickly and it is important that the mining or civil operations commence quickly. Here both the delivery of the product and installation of the workshop needs to be completed asap. Here, a container shelter is superior to a steel shed- primarily because the former does not require a building permit.

A container mounted shelter does not require a building permit from your local council or a building certifier. In contrast, to set up a steel shed, this permit is required which can take anywhere between 3-6 months.

At Allshelter, for our standard products, the lead time including installation can take anywhere between 2-7 weeks. Compare this to the 1–2-year lead time for a steel shed.

If lead time is not important and the client seeks a permanent solution, a steel shed would be a good option.

What product features do you value?

Often clients value certain features over others and this should be factored in the selection process.

If you value, features such as:

  1. Mobility
  2. Relocatable
  3. Flexibility
  4. More natural light

A container shelter would be a good choice for you.

If you value:

  1. Permanence
  2. Customizations (light fixtures, aesthetic designs, etc.)

A steel shed would make a good choice.

What is your budget?

There is a widespread assumption that container shelters are less expensive than steel sheds. This is not correct. An engineered container dome that is in-line with the Australian specifications might not be necessarily cheaper than a steel shed.

There are instances where a fabric shelter can cost less than a steel shed. For instance, if you want a structure that is to be put up in wind region C or above, a fabric shelter can be lower priced than a comparable steel shed structure. This is a result of innovative designing.

Overall, budget is a factor in the decision-making process, but it rarely is the sole reason. Budget goes hand in hand with the other requirements explained above.

View our Price Guide here.

By answering the above-mentioned questions, you will be able to clearly tell whether a dome shelter or a steel shed would be right for you. If you are still unsure, reach out to one of our shelter specialists who would be happy to guide you.


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