Temporary classroom—or mobiles as they are known—can provide a short term solution to the need for additional classroom space but can they provide a solution for the longer term?
In many cases mobile classrooms are a distressed purchase, normally a last minute solution to a need for more classroom space. The budget is restricted and the result is a low cost, off the shelf solution that offers no real design input from the school on what they require.
Although these modular buildings are looked upon as a temporary fix, more often than not they become a permanent fixture that is very rarely maintained resulting in a deteriorating building that becomes a difficult environment to teach in.
In the past a modular building, temporary classroom, mobile classroom—call them what you will—have suffered from a few key issues:
- What was originally bought as temporary solution has had to last way beyond its original life expectancy.
- Visual appearance, although functional, was never going to win any design awards.
- Poor insulation making for an uncomfortable teaching environment.
- With expanding pupil numbers and restrictive budgets the challenge to provide additional teaching space is set to rise in the coming years.
The good news is that portable and modular buildings have moved forward and way beyond these issues. Although there are companies still producing uninspiring designs, the building regulations have forced improvements to the thermal efficiency of their buildings. Better still, many manufacturers produce modular classrooms that are an alternative to more traditional methods of construction.
Modular systems are now manufactured using quality materials to produce high quality buildings that have a life expectancy equal to traditional buildings. Architects are creating external designs and internal layouts that are tailored to meet each schools specific requirements, offering the same external and internal options as any other method of construction. Furthermore, modular buildings and all types of offsite manufacturing systems reduces the construction time on site. Disruption to the school is minimized – large large multi-classroom blocks can be installed and completed during holiday periods.
Sustainability is another key benefit. Manufacturing a building as much as possible off site results in less energy being used due to less waste, less deliveries and more efficiency.
Finance options are also favourable with flexible options for revenue budgets to be utilized where no capital funding is available.
The next time additional classroom space is on the agenda forget about any preconceptions and past experiences and look at the architectural designed, sustainable and cost effective modular building solutions available.