CONSIDERING A MOBILE CLASSROOM?
If you’re short on space in your school and looking for a flexible solution, a mobile classroom is a cost-effective and flexible choice. But what type of temporary classroom is the best fit for you? We take a detailed look at prefabricated buildings and portable classrooms to help you understand your mobile classroom options.
Choosing a mobile classroom over a bricks-and-mortar extension
First things first: why choose a mobile classroom over an extension of your existing school building? While both options have their plus points, we believe mobile classrooms win out in terms of budget, flexibility and convenience. Here’s why:
- Red tape. While a mobile classroom will require planning permission, it doesn’t involve making any changes to your existing school building. This will enable you to build your new classroom without jumping through too many hoops – a very practical consideration if your school is a listed building.
- Disruption to school life. Building sites are messy, noisy and sometimes dangerous. Hardly the best environment for a school! Building an extension will mean that for at least part of the term, you’ll need to make arrangements to ensure that your pupils aren’t disrupted by the work. But by installing a mobile classroom you can eliminate these factors, as the new space can be prefabricated off-site and installed during the school holidays.
- Time taken to build. An extension to your school building is a major project that could take months to complete. Mobile classrooms, however, can be installed in as little as a week. This is an important factor to consider if you need the extra space more urgently, or it definitely has to be finished by a certain date. And of course a short build time again means you’ll face very little disruption to school life.
- Building an extension can be an expensive job. You’ll need to factor in the services of an architect, many hours of labour and the building materials themselves. A mobile classroom will always be cheaper outright, and if you make the right choices, it can be the cost-effective choice in the longer term, too.
- Future flexibility. If you’d like to keep your new space flexible, a mobile classroom might be the way to go. Instead of committing to bricks and mortar, which can’t readily be altered, choosing a mobile option means you don’t have to be tied down to one way of using the space – and you could even move it elsewhere or get rid of it altogether in the future.
If we’ve convinced you to go for a mobile classroom, there’s still the burning question of which type to choose. When you’re thinking about investing in a mobile classroom you may automatically think of a trailer, but modular buildings are also a great mobile option that is just as flexible and a lot more durable. If we’ve convinced you to go for a mobile classroom, there’s still the burning question of which type to choose.
Trailers are often used as temporary classrooms. These portable structures have several advantages:
- Quick to install. Pre-made off-site, you can order a trailer and have it delivered fully functioning and ready for use. This is a big plus point for temporary classroom accommodation that needs to be ready quickly.
- Cheap to buy. Trailer style classrooms are a cheap option in terms of initial outlay, which is often a winner for schools, as the budget is always tight.
- Easy to move. This is a big one. Trailer classrooms are extremely portable, so they’re great if you think you are going to want a flexible space that can be relocated as and when needed.
This type of portable classroom isn’t without its downsides, however.
- Wear and tear. Although a trailer may seem like a bargain, if you’re looking for a long term solution it may not work out to be cost-effective. Typically made from lower quality materials than prefabricated modular buildings, a trailer may show signs of wear and tear after a few years, costing you more to maintain over time.
- Comfort levels. Trailers aren’t the most comfortable of spaces to learn in. They may be draughty or damp, and lacking good insulation, which may in turn make them costly to heat. If you value the comfort of your staff and pupils and want an environment where they feel motivated and valued, a trailer style classroom may not be the best long-term choice.
Modular buildings are a more durable option for a mobile classroom. As mobile as a trailer, they can be built with a demountable structure that can be taken down and rebuilt in a different area of the school if required. Increasingly popular in schools, they tick all the boxes for price, flexibility and convenience – and they are a more robust, hardy solution that will remain comfortable for decades to come.
Here are some of the advantages of modular buildings:
- Speed of install. If built off-site, your new modular classroom can be up and running within 1-6 weeks. You could get your building work completed in the space of a single half term holiday.
- Minimal impact. Because modular buildings are prefabricated and are swift to construct, their installation will have minimal impact on school life. If the work is carried out in the holidays you’ll be able to carry on with business as usual, coming back to a brand new building.
- Modular buildings are made from high quality, durable building materials. With A-rated energy efficiency, sustainably sourced timber and robust internal walls, you can expect a modular mobile classroom to serve you for decades into the future. This is their big advantage over trailer style classrooms, which are often intended only as temporary classrooms and are not built to last.
- Want your new classroom to be totally mobile? If you’re planning to move your classroom in the future, a modular building is perfect. Just as they can be installed in a matter of weeks, modular classrooms can easily be moved and re-installed in a new location.
Would you like to know more about modular classrooms? Check out our case studies to see how a mobile classroom from Green Modular could benefit your school. Read our helpful whitepaper ‘Guide to Modular Classroom Buildings‘ too!
Alternatively, watch this video filmed at Worstead Primary School in Norfolk. Head teacher Jo Read discusses the benefits of investing in a mobile classroom.