If you visit schools today, you will be surprised to find some temporary classrooms instead of brick and mortar permanent structures. There are many reasons leading to the use of these structures in modern schools. Experts who design and construct temporary classrooms claim that they have the ability to solve challenges faced by schools related to adequate space and necessary structures.
Poor ventilation is a difficulty for permanent structures. As these structures are built, the builders often fail to consider this properly unless the design calls for numerous windows. It is also feared that some building materials can release chemical substances that are harmful to the environment.
So, how have temporary structures been helping to solve these problems? We need to put this concept under the microscope to know if, indeed, it is the best solution for solving challenges faced by schools.
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How Temporary Classrooms (Portable Classrooms) Are Designed
Now that schools are encountering numerous health and environmental problems, it is time to know what temporary structure experts are doing to solve these problems. The first step when a school shows interest in building these classrooms is the site visit. But before that, the school management will have to provide a list of current needs for space and requirements for facilities.
A group of experts will come and assess the school. With the assessment in mind, they can start planning a design that will address the needs of the school. Other information the school should provide includes but is not limited to the following.
- The size of the classrooms that they want
- The materials they would prefer to be used
- The theme and colours of the classrooms
- Lighting conditions
- Amenities and accessories to be fixed
The designing is done by experienced architects who consider the safety of classrooms in relation to weather and the number of students they will host. Therefore, the materials they plan to use for the frames, walls and roofing should be strong and durable.
Another important consideration they make is on the inclusion of safety features in the classroom like an emergency exit, firefighting features and any other features. Because the well-being of the children attending the school depends on its safety, this comes first.
Where the classroom will be positioned will determine the design, especially if the school would like to preserve the natural environment in the best way. A portable classroom may have to be relocated once in a while to different places on the grounds of the school. Therefore, a general design that will fit in various locations without affecting the environment is ideal.
Lastly, the designers will look at the drainage system and the removal of waste products from the classrooms. This is mainly for those that will be used for research and laboratory experiments. The chemical waste must be disposed of properly.
How Portable Classrooms Are Constructed
Construction is the implementation phase of the proposed classroom designs. How perfectly it is carried out determines whether the classrooms will be environmentally sustainable or not. According to experts at Smart Space, a company that designs and constructs temporary and portable buildings, those who construct the buildings have to follow the proposed designs. However, they can make modifications as they build depending on their needs. While building, many factors come into play to ensure that a healthy environment is maintained.
- Insulation – the inner part of the classrooms is insulated well to control the temperature. This way, the students will have a comfortable learning environment while the portable classroom will avoid the growth of mold. The builders can insulate the interior of the walls and use exterior surfaces that provide insulation and protection from the elements.
- Ventilation – portable classrooms are known to have the best ventilation available. If they do not provide enough natural ventilation, they have air conditioning and heating systems. With these structures, students can be assured of a healthy and well-ventilated environment where they can learn.
- Natural light – although most people consider this to be less important as long as the structure has electricity, natural light remains the best for the eyes. It easy to include large windows that allow as much natural light as possible to enter.
- Use of solar energy – lighting, air conditioning and heating can rely on solar energy for the portable classroom. Solar panels are installed as part of the roof to tap this renewable resource. This way, the classroom is considered to be a green solution, which is better for the environment.
- Use of aluminium frames – this metal is both light and durable. It will make the portable buildings easier to move and last longer. Although the metal frames may be covered, it is crucial to be sure that they do not rust.
- Protection of natural vegetation – we all know that natural vegetation should be maintained as much as possible. Portable classrooms cause minimal disturbance to the site in question. In fact, sometimes they sit on raised pillars, which make it unnecessary to disturb the ground with a typical foundation. The fact that only the assembly is carried out on site creates a healthier environment for the students continuing to attend school.
Impact on the Environment During Use
Although there is some disturbance to the environment when the temporary buildings are set up or removed, it remains less than the environmental disturbances caused by permanent structures. Moving temporary buildings from one part of the school grounds to another can kill vegetation. It can also leave debris on the ground that must be collected to prevent harm to children who may play in those areas.
If a time comes when it is necessary to dispose of the temporary buildings, it is better to involve experts, who will see to it that it is done in the right way. Most of the materials are recycled in their workshops for reuse.
Portable classrooms are ideal for a school that is interested in saving the environment from harm. The above insights are a clear indication of this. However, these buildings also require a professional approach by experienced experts to achieve this goal. Otherwise, they pose an equal danger to the environment when they are not handled adequately.