Modular Classrooms School Buildings Buying Guide

Many schools today across the country are overcrowded. When schools are overcrowded, it becomes harder to maintain order and discipline and to provide a quality education. One solution that many schools are turning to is modular buildings.

In this guide, you will learn all about modular school buildings. We will tell you exactly what they are, how they can solve your problems with overcrowding, what factors affect costs, and more.

The Rise of Modular Buildings for Schools

As cost-effective and flexible modern solutions to overcrowding in schools, modular buildings have come into widespread use by public and private schools.

In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics wrote that back in 2012-2013, “Almost all (99 percent) of the schools had permanent buildings, and 31 percent had portable (temporary) buildings.”

Think how long ago that was, and how modular construction has taken off in the years since! More academic facilities than ever before are incorporating modular buildings to provide a safe, comfortable, and effective learning environment.

Who Can Use Modular Classrooms?

Any learning institution can make good use of modular school buildings. These include:

  • Public schools
  • Private schools
  • Universities
  • Trade schools
  • Secondary schools
  • Elementary schools
  • Charter schools
  • … And more

What are Some Modular School Building Use Cases?

The most obvious use case for modular school buildings is as classrooms. But there are many other ways your school can make use of modular units.

Problems with overcrowding go beyond the classroom in many institutions. They may also may also encompass locker rooms, cafeterias, dormitories, restrooms, break rooms, labs, and more.

In fact, you can construct modular buildings to handle overflow for any of these. You can adapt a modular building to serve as a break room, dormitory, restroom, or another type of room just as easily as you can a classroom.

Sometimes schools install modular buildings to use for many years to come. Other times, they install them temporarily while they work on constructing other permanent structures to expand their campuses.

What are the Benefits of Modular Construction for Schools?

The most obvious advantage of modular school buildings is to relieve overcrowding. But portable classrooms and flex school buildings offer the following additional benefits:

  • Save money. Whether you are purchasing or leasing modular school buildings, they tend to be very cost-effective, helping you to stay on budget.
  • Build quickly. Because modular buildings are assembled in a factory and then shipped for installation on site, the time involved in construction is considerably less than it would be for full construction on site. Incidentally, factory construction also leads to higher levels of quality control and consistent manufacturing.
  • Conform to building codes. You can get modular classrooms that conform to the IBC (International Building Code).
  • Buildings are adaptable to your changing needs. It is not too challenging to repurpose modular buildings if necessary. If you no longer need a structure to serve as a classroom in the future, and you want to convert it into a locker room or library extension, you can.
  • Portable classrooms can be durable and long-lasting. You can get decades of use out of a modular building before you need to replace it. A well-made structure with sufficient weather-proofing can stand up to harsh climate conditions as well.
  • You can mimic the look of on-site permanent structures. That way, your modular buildings blend in well with your campus.
  • Modular construction can be eco-friendly. They can help you to keep your institution’s environmental footprint low.
  • Maintaining portable classrooms is easy. That frees up time and resources for other aspects of maintaining your campus.

What Do Modular Classroom Buildings Cost?

Just how cost-effective are modular classrooms and facilities? That depends on whether you are buying or leasing, among other factors.

If you are leasing, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1-$1.50 per square foot on a monthly basis.

What if you want to buy a portable building for your campus? Standard costs tend to range between $50 and $100 per square foot, not counting delivery and installation.

That said, some modular structures may cost in excess of $300 per square foot. It all comes down to how much you want to customize and what special features you request.

What Options and Features are Available for Schools?

There are so many ways you can customize a modular building for your school. Here are a few:

  • Materials and finishes
  • Weather-proofing features
  • Insulation
  • Energy-efficient lighting and thermostat
  • Accessibility features
  • Security systems
  • Utilities (i.e. plumbing)
  • … And more

Types of Modular Classrooms

There is more than one type of modular school building. While we can separate them based on use case, we can also talk about temporary versus permanent installations as well as standalone versus multi-modular structures.

Temporary vs. Permanent

A temporary portable building is just what it sounds like: a structure that is engineered for temporary use. Sometimes, a school may even buy or lease such a structure to use transiently, and then repurpose it for a different application later. If so, they may leave it where it is, or relocate it.

In most cases, temporary school buildings are unprotected wood frame structures, classified as “Type V-B.” Usually, they will rest on concrete pier foundations. A ramp may lead up to the door of each.

How long do temporary school buildings last? Well, if you end up deciding to keep the structure over the long term, up to 3 decades of life can be expected in some cases.

So, what is a permanent modular school building? This is just a modular structure that is designed and installed with long term use in mind.

Sometimes, they are V-B structures, but they may also be protected or unprotected non-combustible structures (Type II-A or Type II-B). A wide range of materials may be available for framing. If you want something stronger than wood, you can go with concrete or steel.

Permanent structures naturally tend to be more readily customizable than temporary ones. There is no reason to spend a lot of money customizing a temporary building.

Multi-Modular vs. Standalone

Another question you need to ask yourself is whether you want to install a single, large standalone classroom, or a number of smaller modular classrooms.

The main consideration when making this decision is probably going to be the capacity that you are going to need. But you can also factor in things like climate and appearance.

Keep in mind that if you opt for a single standalone structure, that does not mean that it needs to be a single use structure.

You can partition the interior so that it can serve multiple purposes. For example, you could have a locker room on one side and a cafeteria on the other.

As another example, one part of the building could house offices, and the other could feature a break room for the staff.

What is the Ordering Process Like for Modular Classroom Additions?

Now you know some of the benefits of modular classrooms as well as some of the different types of portable structures you can build for your school campus. But what can you expect the process of ordering and installing a modular school building to be like? Following are the basic steps.

1. Choose a site.

First, figure out where you want to put your portable building. You might decide based on how convenient and accessible the site is, where utilities are located, what the ground is like, and so on.

2. Pick a size and layout.

Decide how large you want each building to be, and what general configuration appeals to you. You can shop existing floor plans or you can commission an architect or designer to help you come up with a layout that suits your needs.

3. Review the proposal and make amendments as needed.

Before the modular building company proceeds with construction, there will be a formal proposal for you to go over. Take a look at it, and propose adjustments necessary. Once you are satisfied, you can move ahead.

4. Apply for your permits.

As with any other construction project, you will need to obtain the required permits before you can place your buildings on your site. You can either take care of this yourself, or (in some cases), you can pay the modular building company to do it for you.

5. Sign your contract.

Next, you will need to sign a contract with your builder. As with the proposal, look over it carefully to make  sure it is acceptable to you.

6. Ready the site.

The modular building will not be able to just be deposited on your site as it stands; work will need to be done to get the site ready. What that work entails will depend on the terrain as well as on the type of foundation you have chosen for your structure. It will be more intensive for permanent structures than temporary ones.

7. The factory will manufacture the building.

The next step is easy for you—and that is just to wait while the modular building company manufactures your structure! This work takes place at a factory so that a completed set of modules can be dropped off at your campus.

8. The building will be delivered and installed.

The sections of your structure will be dropped off by a truck at your site. Then, the most exciting stage takes place—construction! Because all the components were prefabricated in the factory, this step is fast and easy.

You then need only schedule appropriate inspections and apply for a certificate of occupancy. After that, your building is ready to furnish and use.

Go Modular & Relieve Overcrowding Now

Overcrowding is a serious problem in schools today. Every child and adult deserves the best education possible, and that requires a comfortable learning environment.

With modular school buildings, you have the flexible, fast solution you need to end overcrowding.

Installing them on your campus can lead to higher grades as well as less violence in classrooms, cafeterias, and other school facilities.

Whether you just need a temporary increase in space during a larger construction project for permanent structures or you are looking for an affordable, permanent solution, modular school buildings can meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

Are you ready to take the next steps?

To schedule your consultation for modular school buildings now, please give us a call at (855) 202-1240 or fill out the form below.

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