Industry Releases Best Practices Resource for School Districts Using Relocatable Classrooms

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The Modular Building Institute (MBI) responds to criticism by providing tip sheet for schools to improve relocatable classroom performance.

Schools have the option to acquire more energy efficient, durable relocatable classrooms that exceed the minimum building code requirements, but often choose not to due to budget constraints.

The Modular Building Institute is providing a free resource to schools and parents offering advice on how to improve the performance of relocatable classrooms. MBI estimates that there are approximately 300,000 relocatable classrooms (RCs) in use in the United States today. About half of those classrooms are owned by school districts while the other half are owned by leasing companies. These classrooms go by many names including temporary, mobile, and even classroom trailers. Primarily, schools use these classrooms for one of two reasons: to relieve overcrowding or as swing space during major renovations.

When issues arise with relocatable classrooms, it can almost always be traced to one or more of the following:

1) Schools purchase the classroom based on the lowest acceptable specifications and lowest cost, then keep the classroom beyond its useful life – generally speaking twenty years. Relocatable classrooms, unlike recreational vehicles or mobile homes, are built to the same local building codes as traditional classrooms. However, building codes are simply the minimum acceptable standards or requirements. Schools have the option to acquire more energy efficient, durable relocatable classrooms that exceed the minimum building code requirements, but often choose not to due to budget constraints.

2) Improper maintenance – often a school district will acquire additional classroom space, but not make the necessary adjustment to maintenance personnel. As a result, the relocatable classrooms may not get cleaned or checked as frequently as the traditional classroom.

3) Improper operation – many teachers indicate that they turn off the hvac system to reduce noise. This prevent air from circulating and creates an uncomfortable learning environment and potentially an indoor air quality issue.

4) Improper placement – incredibly, many school districts place relocatable classrooms in less than ideal settings such as on parking lots near idling buses and noisy traffic. Obviously, this creates air quality and acoustical concerns.

MBI provides best practices on how to improve the performance of these classrooms through their Relocatable Classroom Fact Sheet, available here: http://www.modular.org/documents/Relocatable_Classroom_Fact-Sheet.pdf.

About MBI:

Founded in 1983, the Modular Building Institute (MBI) is the only international non-profit trade association serving modular construction. Members are manufacturers, contractors, and fleet owners in two distinct segments of the industry - permanent modular construction (PMC) and relocatable buildings (RB). Our Mission: As the Voice of Commercial Modular Construction (TM), it is MBI's mission to expand the use of offsite construction through innovative construction practices, outreach and education to the construction community and customers, and recognition of high quality modular designs and facilities.

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Tom Hardiman
Modular Building Institute
+1 (434) 296-3288 Ext: 158
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Steven Williams
Modular Construction
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