Modular buildings provide home-from-home for quarry workers on remote Scottish island

Whitwick Engineering has taken delivery of several portable buildings from Chester-based Portable Offices to accommodate its workers at the super-quarry at Glensanda – a remote Scottish Island.

Glensanda is an immense super-quarry which employs around 200 people and extracts around seven million tonnes of aggregate each year. An entire granite mountain is being crushed, washed and loaded directly on to ocean-going bulk carriers destined for Southern England, Europe and North America. Operated via the ‘glory hole’ method, whereby granite is crushed through down a 1,000 foot vertical shaft and then transferred to the processing plant through a mile long tunnel on an underground conveyor belt.

Situated off the coast of Oban, such is the remoteness of Glensanda that there is no road, rail or marked footpath links across the granite mountain, moor or heath. The only practical access is by boat from the shores of Loch Linnhe.

As a result, the work force remains isolated for months at a time with few facilities or entertainment apart from fishing and wildlife. For Portable Offices, the need to provide six new 20 foot sleeper units presented an opportunity to demonstrate how versatile portable accommodation could be with well-insulated cosy rooms with oil-fired radiators capable of keeping the team warm at the frequently chilly, sub-zero temperatures experienced by the island’s temporary residents.

Additional units were ordered to provide state-of-the-art facilities for the workforce. These include washrooms, changing areas and toilets, full canteen facilities, offices and meeting rooms and a massive drying room to accommodate working gear drenched during the harsh.

A comfortable range of buildings resulted which provide a warm area for respite from the cold and wet conditions on site within which workers can relax and undertake essential administration tasks away from the exposed outdoor conditions.

Nick Corden, Project Manager at Whitwick Engineering, commented: “I was impressed with the professionalism of the Portable Offices’ team. They understood our needs and provided a superior product to the competition at a competitive price.

“There was a lot of pressure to get the units to site and delivery of the units was made more difficult because of keeping to the ferry timetable over to the island which we arranged.

“It was a massive undertaking and the team responded to the challenges of the brief and the site with great professionalism. They even provided a maintenance pack with spare heaters lights and fitted all units with external isolators. The attention to detail was a great comfort.”

Now, the workforce can watch otters, birds and deer from their own warm units. Already a deer called Hector, named after one of the former island estate owners, has endeared itself to the crew.

Managing Director, Adrian Witty, commented: “Portable accommodation can be fitted into all sorts of places. We have become experts in modular logistics and will go to great lengths to make a contract a success.  It was great to be a part of such a prestigious development.”

The Portable Offices team is on hand to service companies’ and organisations’ accommodation needs and aims to provide a speedy, professional, cost-effective, turnkey service.


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