Water is the number one source of damage and premature aging for modular buildings. Make sure you take these seven simple steps to protect your investment!
1. Gutters & Downspouts
Professionally installed gutters will keep water off the side walls, windows, and doors. Tie directly into underground storm drains whenever feasible. Or take the aluminum downspout to ground level and transition to a 3” or 4” PVC pipe laid on the ground. Clean your gutters every spring and fall.
Inspect your roof every spring and fall when cleaning your gutters. Storms, tree branches, objects thrown on the roof, or critters can do damage to your roof that is not visible from the ground. Early detection of a compromised roof can save thousands in water damage.
3. Ground Drainage
Avoid placing your modular building in a low spot. If necessary, use French drains, curbing, or landscaping to direct water away from the building. You can also place a vapor barrier with crushed gravel under the building at installation.
4. Vented Skirting
In most cases, skirting with passive venting is enough to allow moisture to escape from under the building. If your modular will be subject to excessive moisture, consider using a powered vent in the skirting to enhance air circulation and evaporation.
5. Window and Door Flashing
Inspect flashing and caulking around doors & windows twice a year when you inspect your gutters & roof. Water that gets in through doors and windows runs down the wall and pools on the floor. If you don’t catch it early, the floor will rot.
6. Deck/Step/Ramp Drainage
If possible, decking should be covered by a canopy with gutters. Decks should always be constructed to move water away from the building. When attached directly to the building, use flashing and caulking to protect the building from water and snow build up.
7. Heat Trace/ Insulate Plumbing
Water supply lines and sewer drains under the modular should be insulated and wrapped in heat tape to prevent freezing. Remember to set automatic thermostats at a level that will keep pipes from freezing during weekends and long winter breaks.
There is no set answer to whether it is smarter to Rent or Buy a modular Classroom. The following questions can help you decide which is best for YOU!
Need more information? Contact Modular Classrooms LLC.
1. How many years do you think you will need your modular?
Five or six years of rental payments will usually equal the cost of buying the building outright. Since most rental buildings stay on site beyond the initial lease term, the math gets a little tricky on a three or four year lease. If you are certain you will need the building for three years or less, you should seriously consider renting.
2. How much are your mobilization costs?
Most modular projects are quoted and billed in two parts – “The Building” (purchase or rental price) and the “Mobilization” (delivery/set-up/utilities, etc). Mobilization charges are usually the same whether you buy or rent. If your mobilization charges are a significant portion of the overall project, it may make sense to purchase in order to maximize the return on this investments.
3. Removal Cost
When you are done with your rental building, there will be a cost for removal of the building. Don’t forget to add these costs to the rental payments to determine the total cost of renting. It could tip the scale in favor of a purchase.
4. Financial Flexibility
Sometimes, it makes sense to buy, but you just can’t afford a large cash outlay up front. If this is the case, ask about company financing, third party financing, and buy out options at the end of a lease agreement.
Do you know who to call if a disaster strikes your school?
If a fire, flood or storm strikes your facility, Modular Classrooms LLC is ready to help. Whether you need a single classroom, or an entire campus, our Disaster Recovery Specialist can respond instantly.
* Classrooms – from 500 sq feet to 15,000 square feet -ready to roll within 24 hours!
* Specialty Units – commercial kitchens, laundry facilities, showers, and locker rooms!
* Permits, utilities, and turn key project management
Modular classrooms – portable rooms that can be installed quickly and used for a variety of classroom purposes – are a viable option when it comes to looking for a solution to an expanding student population. However, the most crucial step before purchasing one is deciding whether it is actually the best solution to your school or organization’s problem, as you do not want to invest time and money only to realize that there is an easier way. Before continuing with the process, discuss these four questions with your modular classroom consultant to decide whether or not a modular classroom is right for you.
1. What are my other options?
Although modular classrooms can provide a quick and cost-effective solution to a lack of space, they may not always be the cheapest or least disruptive option; therefore, make sure that you exhaust all of your available space before deciding to go with a modular classroom. For example, any vacant rooms in a building can be converted into classrooms, usually with minimal cost and disruption; similarly, vacant buildings owned by your organization can be used for this purpose as well. Even closets or other areas, if large enough, can be repurposed. Of course, if issues such as security or ease of access for students are significant, modular classrooms may indeed be the better option.
2. Is this temporary or permanent?
Modular classrooms can be set up on a temporary or permanent basis, but often they provide a more cost-effective short-term than long-term solution. In the short-term (such as when a building is undergoing modifications or being rebuilt), they make it easier for contractors and others to work on the permanent building without interference from an active student body, which in turn makes the work go faster and be less expensive.
3. How soon do I need the space?
A modular classroom can be set up in a tight timeframe, with even one week being sufficient; therefore, if your school or organization does not have the time to repurpose a classroom or invest in a permanent building, modular classrooms can provide a quick solution. However, if there is time, a different solution may be cheaper or more effective.
4. Does this fit my budget?
It may not always be cheaper to purchase a modular classroom than to simply modify an old office or vacant room for classroom purposes. Take time to go over your budget and decide whether you can afford a modular classroom, and whether or not it is the most cost-effective option.
As schools expand, many look beyond adding new buildings for a cheaper and more time-saving solution: modular classrooms. These are portable rooms built on a movable base, that can be used for a variety of classroom purposes; they offer all of the options of a regular classroom, but in a self-contained unit. If your school or organization is looking into buying a modular classroom, review these five steps before continuing with your purchase.
1. Is a modular classroom right for me?
Modular classrooms are a popular choice for schools that need to expand, but are on a tight budget and face time constraints. Many schools have to add new classrooms to meet an expanding student body, but do not have time to undertake full construction of new classrooms; in this case, modular classrooms provide a fast alternative.
It is important to understand if a modular classroom is right for you or your organization before taking the time to create a budget and begin contacting contractors, so make sure to evaluate your options fully before coming to a decision.
2. What is the process my organization uses?
Different schools will have different processes, some mandated by law; for example, public schools will have rules and regulations for purchasing modular classrooms that are set down by the state. Private schools, on the other hand, will have much more freedom. Review your school or organization’s by-laws to understand the process you must go through, which will ultimately drive your decision making.
3. What will it look like?
Think about how, in a perfect world (for example, with an unlimited budget), you would want your modular classroom to look and work. Use this to create a “wishlist” of what you want the classroom to contain and what purpose it will serve; this will help you to narrow down your options (once you have committed to using this option for your school).
4. What is my budget?
Since, as a nonprofit organization, most schools are constrained in how much money they can spend, it is important to create a budget and evaluate the options for different modular classrooms depending on how much is available.
5. How much work is our organization willing to do?
Finally, consider the work that the school or organization will have to put in aside from purchasing the classroom – this includes work such as installation or electrical work. If your school does not already have licensed electricians or other workers on hand, start looking into subcontractors to hire.
Mistake # 3: Rent vs. Buy
Most schools significantly underestimate how long they will have their modular. This common mistake tilts the “rent vs. buy” calculation in favor of the rental company.
The “break even” point on a modular classroom lease – the point where the cost to purchase is equal to the cumulative rent payments – is usually 4 to 5 years. But industry statistics show that 80% of schools retain their building for at least 2 years beyond the original lease term! That means that a 2 year lease has an 80% chance of becoming a 4 year lease!
Bottom Line: In the end, it is almost always better to buy than to rent!
Mistake # 2: Neglecting to “Lock In” a Buyout Price
Maybe you read mistake # 3, but in your case, it still makes sense to rent. How do you protect yourself in the event you need your building beyond the original lease term? Lock in a buyout price!
Only 5% of rental customers ask that a guaranteed buyout price be included in the lease. Down the road, after several years of rental payments, you might start thinking “We should just buy this building.” A call to the rental company for a buyout price reveals an ugly truth – the rental company now has you over the barrel! Why? The total cost of any competing offer must include removal of the existing building, and delivery and set up of the replacement building!
Bottom Line: If you must rent, lock-in a buyout price in writing before you sign a lease!
Mistake # 1: Waiting Too Long to Place an Order
There is a saying in the modular classroom business: “You can have it done fast, you can have it done right, and you can have it done for a reasonable price… But you can’t have all three!”
The modular classroom industry is a seasonal business. In a typical year, 87% of modular classrooms are installed over the 92 days of summer – June 1 through August 31. Schools that sign contracts in January and February typically pay 15% less than those that sign in March and April. By the time May rolls around, most modular companies are almost booked for the summer. The prices for those last, few, precious slots skyrocket! May and June contracts will typically see another 15% to 25% increase.
Bottom Line: Plan ahead, and be prepared to accelerate your decision making process to maximize your savings!
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