The fifth article in the series: Why Prefab Modular Construction is a Smarter Fit for Schools.
Modular school building programs offer health, safety and wellbeing benefits for students, staff and the school community. With almost 90% of the construction process occurring within a factory, the on-site impact in the school grounds is significantly reduced. With prefab construction, there is the ability to schedule the more hazardous site operations within holiday breaks, minimising disruptions to school life and avoiding the inevitable delays experienced with on-site construction.
The move to modular, prefabricated construction fits perfectly with Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards and assists schools in maintaining a safe environment. A competently managed prefab project largely eliminates the disruptions caused by numerous contractors on site. Having less visiting workers, over a much shorter project duration, makes the school’s screening, supervision, orientation and other preventative practices more manageable; such an obvious benefit for any organisation seeking to embed a culture of child safety!
School staff do not have the extra workload of onerous student supervision requirements associated with insitu building. Delivered at Lock-Up Stage, a modular build effectively halves the project time, reduces exposure to dangerous site preparation and reduces the site area annexed by traditional builds. The mess, noise and interruptions to learning programs are generally eliminated, restrictions to play and outdoor learning spaces are curtailed, as are the access and safety issues experienced by parents during a traditional building program when the presence of numerous contractors’ vehicles cause havoc during drop off and collection times.
The rapid timeframe of a modular build can work in a school’s favour at enrolment time. Unlike the unattractiveness of a traditional building site to prospective enrolments, new parents can confidently enrol knowing that their children’s education and school experience won’t be inconvenienced by 12-18 months of building works! With schools now enrolling the following year’s intake in first term, it is possible to order, construct and deliver a permanent modular school building ready for the January school start. A fact clearly evidenced in the Victorian School Building Authority’s Permanent Modular School Building Program, and a major advantage for school communities undergoing booming population growth!
From a community perspective, the workplace health and safety benefits of a prefab construction include improved risk management due to the factory manufacturing practices, protection from adverse weather conditions and greater control over on-site environmental hazards.
About the Author: An experienced educator and school leader, Justin worked in Victorian metro, regional, government and private schools for over three decades. As Principal, he oversaw numerous school building programs and is now an Education Construction specialist with Pretect Commercial Modular Buildings.
VSBA; Permanent Modular School Buildings Program https://www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/Pages/Permanent-Modular-School-Buildings-Program.aspx