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Temporary Buildings To Provide Vital School Space

The use of temporary buildings is often a vital measure to ensure the continuity of service for various organisations, not least those with a statutory duty to do so like educational establishments. Never can that be more true than of schools.

Sometimes that can involve the need to install portable cabins or other temporary facilities at very short notice when existing buildings are suddenly rendered unable for whatever reason. However, they can also be installed as part of a pre-planned scheme to provide space and facilities while work is carried out on repairing or refurbishing existing buildings.

An example of the latter has occurred with two locations in Dunbartonshire, these being Bearsden and Milngavie Primary Schools, the Glasgow Times reports.

The buildings will actually be in place for a two-year period in both instances, both of which will see the new facilities located off-site. In the Bearsden case, the cabins will be situated in the grounds of Bearsden Academy, while in Milngavie they will be located at another site off the school premises.

In one respect these are not the most convenient of sites, as some pupils live more than 20 minutes away on foot, but a new free bus scheme will enable those in such a situation to get a lift to their new classrooms.

It should be noted that these temporary facilities will be just that; planning permission was granted with certain conditions attached, including that the new facilities be dismantled within two years of being established. That means the schools will need to get on with the job of upgrading the buildings left empty by the moves.

Nonetheless, the flexibility and convenience of the cabins will enable the schools to be run in a stable fashion while the work is done, ensuring that children are not left exposed to any dangers from being in close proximity to work.

These sorts of issues may be handled in a very organised way when planning maintenance or repair work at these two schools, but the need for portable facilities has often been arrived at in a hurry when emergencies have struck, none more so than at the start of the current academic year, when the RAAC ‘crumbling concrete’ crisis emerged.

As recently reported, the government did not officially confirm how much money had been spent on acquiring temporary buildings to house pupils in more than 100 affected schools, but it had seen contract documents for the three main firms involved in supplying the facilities and noted this had added up to more than £35 million.

The latest figure for schools affected by RAAC in England has now risen to 231, up from the confirmed total of 214 in October. Of these, 100 had ‘remediations’ put in place. This term refers to a range of measures that can range from some simple quick fixes to whole buildings having to be shut down while repair work is carried out and the RAAC removed.

With more schools elsewhere in the UK having had similar problems, it is at least reassuring that it has proved eminently possible to provide temporary facilities that can enable schooling to continue with little or no compromise until the permanent buildings are back in order.


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