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Schools of the Future: Modular Classroom Buildings & Their Benefits

Schools of the Future: Modular Classroom Buildings & Their Benefits

Trent Bell

Even though skilled teachers and staff and implementation of modern educational methods is what drives the success of any school, we can’t overlook the importance of the design of the building itself. Well-designed school buildings that offer a pleasant atmosphere are often associated with improved attendance rates, increased focus as well as heightened self-esteem – all important factors when it comes to students‘ performance. For that reason, investing in modern school infrastructure should be of essential importance when it comes to improving said performance.

But despite being carefully designed, when the time comes to execute the construction plan for a new school, it often doesn’t go as planned. So, the final result isn’t able to deliver the expected benefits for the students and the organisation as a whole. And this can be due to many reasons such as economic fluctuations, funding changes, tight schedules or an unexpected influx of students. To diminish the potential risks that can get in the way and make the most of their funds, many schools decide to have their classrooms built the modular way.

What are Modular Classroom Buildings?

A modular classroom building consists of several separate modules which are constructed completely off-site in a climate-controlled factory environment. As a result, there’s no need for the materials, building equipment, machinery and manpower to be transported to the site. Upon completion, the modules are shipped to the desired location where they are brought together to form a complete building. The unique construction method means that modular buildings can have several advantages over traditionally built ones. And this can be especially beneficial for educational facilities.

 Schools of the Future: Modular Classroom Buildings & Their Benefits

What Are the Benefits of Modular Classrooms?

1. Speed

Rising enrollment rates are definitely good news. However, constructing enough classroom space to accommodate a big number of students does take time. Building new classrooms using traditional construction can last between 6 to 12 months. So often, the whole process is impossible to finish before school break is over. Luckily, lack of time is usually not an issue when building a modular school.

Because the modules are built in a controlled environment, there are no unforeseen delays due to bad weather or blocked roads. Additionally, while the site is being cleared and prepared and the foundation is being laid, the modules can be built off-site simultaneously. Because of this, modular classroom buildings can be completed in 40 – 50% less time than conventional stick-built buildings. This means, that most modular construction projects can be conveniently finished by the time the new school year starts.

2. Flexibility

No school is a permanent structure. Educational facilities are constantly changing whether by adding new departments, increasing their staff or attracting more students each year. As a result, when constructing a school building, it’s important to consider the ever-changing needs of the facility. Unlike traditionally constructed buildings which are rigid and permanent, modular school buildings are a lot more flexible and adaptable.

What does that mean? Well, they are essentially made of different modules which can be reconfigured to change the layout, height or shape of the building. What’s more, new modules can be added or old modules can be removed without the building itself undergoing additional construction. Mobile Modular says that modular classrooms are often renowned as portable classrooms. This is because they can be easily transported/moved from one place to another.

 Schools of the Future: Modular Classroom Buildings & Their Benefits

As a result, if one of the school’s departments closes, or there’s a reduction of the number of students, any classroom that’s left behind and empty can be either sold or put to good use. For instance, the school can relocate an unneeded modular classroom within the same school ground and re-purpose it for a different use, such as a library, archive or a dormitory. With modular design, buildings can adapt to the current needs.

3. Greater Quality

The fact that the construction process takes place in a controlled environment doesn’t only cut down building time dramatically, it also means there’s a reduced risk of mistakes. For one, all the building materials are safely stored indoors without being exposed to factors like weather and pests that can cause mould or other damage. As a result, the building is less likely to experience structural problems in the future.

Additionally, all the modules are constructed as completely separate units before being placed side-by-side. In other words, when the whole building is assembled, each classroom, office, gym, hall or toilet will have walls, ceilings, and floors of double thickness. This double layer creates a more energy-efficient building, which helps to cut down the school’s costs. But there may be a greater benefit to this besides energy-efficiency. The double layers also provide superior sound insulation which helps prevent outside noise from entering the classroom and disrupt the students’ focus.

 Schools of the Future: Modular Classroom Buildings & Their Benefits

4. Zero Disruption

A unique advantage to modular construction is that it produces absolutely no disruption to the site. The entire modular construction process takes place away from the site, which makes it a convenient option when you need to expand the school building during the working months. Any needed modular classrooms will be built in a factory environment and the whole assembly can often take place during the weekend. This way, the students’ focus won’t be disrupted by excess noise, pollution and waste materials on the site. But most importantly, there won’t be any machinery or tools around that can pose a safety risk for students.

5. Environmentally-Friendly

Educational facilities do not only impart practical knowledge but they also help young people grow up into conscientious adults that help make their communities better. With pollution and global warming an imminent threat, Australia’s school programs focus on teaching children eco-friendly sustainable practices through their curriculum. But why stop there?

What better way to lead by example and teach students the importance of sustainability than by doing so in a sustainable classroom? In addition to producing energy-efficient buildings, modular construction also generates the least amount of waste. Because it takes place in factories, the materials are all used efficiently, neither more nor less.