||It has been suggested that this article be merged into portable classrooms. (Discuss) Proposed since February 2013.|
Modular classrooms (sometimes called "temporary" or "relocatable" classrooms) are prefabricated buildings, constructed off-site in a factory, which are used as classrooms. Most modular classrooms are portable, but permanent modular classrooms are becoming a common option. Modular classrooms are built to the same codes and specifications as site-built structures. Modular classrooms are frequently used by schools in need of additional rooms, or in emergencies.
Modular construction is performed in a factory, where workers and materials are protected from the weather. The efficiencies of assembly-line techniques and reduced construction waste are a benefit. The greatest advantage of modular construction is in time savings (typically 30 to 60 percent faster than site-built construction). A modular project does not need to wait until the foundation has cured before construction begins. Since modular buildings are constructed off-site, modular units can be built and prepared for shipment before the foundation is poured. The nearly finished units arrive on site to be crane-set when the foundation is ready. The units are then "mated", and finished on-site. Exterior finishes can be applied if the buildings are for long-term (or permanent) use.
Modular buildings are sturdier than the stereotypical mobile trailers. Because modular buildings often travel along the road at high speeds during delivery, they are built at least as sturdily as site-built structures. Modular buildings are usually constructed on steel frames (sometimes with steel supports) to allow a second module to be placed atop the first.
A modular classroom is a more rapid way of replacing a structure damaged in a hurricane or other disaster. It is also a solution to opening a new structure within a tight time frame. Modular classrooms also add flexibility; due to their construction, it is easier to disassemble a modular classroom and move it to another site (or to reconfigure a building for other purposes). Some modular classrooms are nearly indistinguishable from site-built classrooms.
Environmentally friendly "green classrooms" are available; they offer energy efficiency, can be built from recycled materials and generate less construction waste.