When space is at a premium the answer may be to invest in a portable building. Here we look at a selection of what's on offer
Terrapin Buildings has been providing education accommodation for more than 40 years and its buildings can be planned to suit all requirements. They are available with pitched or monopitched roofs and in one- to four-storey units. For schools where outright purchase or sale with a buy-back agreement isn't an option short to medium hire of between one and ten years can be arranged, or financial leasing for between three and seven years. A Lease and Release service - claimed to be unique - is available for periods of more than 15 years.
At St Joseph's RC Primary School in Aldershot children were being taught in corridors, the library was inadequate and there was no provision for specialist teaching. Terrapin provided two new classrooms with support facilitites with a total floor space of 231 square metres. The building was constructed using the Uni-trex method (floor, roof and walls come in flat packs) and has a pitched roof. The brick cladding and concrete roof tiles match the existing school. The building cost pound;85,000 and was completed within eight weeks.
Portakabin commissioned award- winning nursery and primary school architects and pre-school specialists to design a purpose-built modular nursery building. The Lilliput nursery can be erected within a matter of weeks and is available in three sizes for between ten and 60 children. This is intended to be a permanent structure.
The nursery contains five separate areas of space. The entrance area has benched seating and provides shelter from the weather for parents collecting children. Immediately inside the reception area are washrooms with child and adult toilets and a shower. Adjacent to this area is a kitchenette with sink, and outlets for a washing machine and refrigerator. Beyond the reception area is a large central playroom which is big enough to accommodate all the children in the nursery. Radiating off the central area is a smaller quiet room, a wet area for water play and a large covered outdoor play area with accommodation for sand pits. All areas of the main playroom are visible to adults and the nursery is all on one level without steps. Integral storage areas are also provided, including spaces for children's and staff's personal belongings, as well as teaching materials and play equipment. The windows in the Lilliput are low enough for children to see through and curtains and cushions have been specially designed. Each nursery comes fully equipped with all fixtures and fittings and meets all building regulations and the 1991 Education Act and subsequent 19923 Act and is priced at pound;50,000. An information pack is available on request from the company.
Globalmobile specialises in the supply of secondhand modular buildings. It purchases modular buildings from people who no longer need them and refurbishes them to suit new needs. This means it can obviously offer very competitive prices and is able to avoid some of the overheads associated with brand new buildings. Globalmobile is currently keenly promoting its double classroom buildings. Each building measures 18 x 7.4 m and is laid out as two classrooms with storage cupboards and a central lobby. The buildings cost pound;23,500 each, which includes delivery and installation, groundworks, skirt and steps, lighting and heating, new floor coverings and whiteboards, pinboard and coat hooks. There is a three-year warranty on all components including the roof.
Worplesdon Primary School in Guildford, Surrey had a double classroom building installed during the summer holidays last year, having placed the order in May, and the facility was ready for use at the beginning of the autumn term. The complete package of works included ramps and steps as well as balanced flue gas heaters.
Rovacabin provides Rovalink units which work rather like building blocks - they can be linked end to end, side to side or double stacked to provide very flexible space options. If designed as a modular multiple building format walls can be omitted to provide large spaces. The price of one unit is approximately pound;14,000. Rovalink is for sale, hire or lease and a new Rovalink can be hired for as short a period as six months.
Rovacabin provided St George's School for Girls in Edinburgh with a spliced unit classroom measuring 7.2 by 6 m and a covered walkway which connects the classroom to the rest of the school buildings. Because access was limited a 100 tonne crane was used to put the classroom into position. The project was completed within two weeks.
Globalmobile, The Gatehouse, Ruck Lane, Horsmonden, Kent TN12 8EA (01892 722733, fax 01892 722332).
Portakabin Ltd, York YO3 9PT (01904 611655, fax 01904 611644).
Rovalink, Rovacabin, Priest End Works, Rycote Lane, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 2HD (01844 214678, fax 01844 215588)
Terrapin Ltd, Bond Avenue, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK1 1JJ (01908 270900, fax 0908 270052)