Construction Material Information On School Portable Classrooms

During the months of April and May 1999, there has been significant press coverage on portable buildings not being safe environments for school children. Modular School classrooms are built to the rigid standards of the Department of State Architect (DSA). They are engineered to withstand the forces of Seismic Zone IV (approximately a 8.5 richter scale earthquake) yet be purchased quickly and economically to alleviate the tremendous growth and overcrowding in California Schools. The only difference between modulars and site built structures is the location the building is constructed. Modular buildings or "portables" are manufactured in a factory using the same materials that traditional construction uses. The topic items currently under scrutiny are the materials being used in the buildings and the ability of the HVAC system to supply adequate air supplies. These materials consist of standard fiberglass insulation, plywood flooring, caret, and vinyl wall covering. The facts are simple and straight forward.
  • As quoted in the state reports, all the materials are standard construction materials that have some chemicals in them during their manufacture. The materials are so common in all construction that they are expressly called out in all public bid specifications as the materials to be used by name.
  • All the materials currently being used have MSDS sheets that have supported testing that back the findings stated and are safe to use in any type of construction.
  • Some problems have resulted when HVAC systems are turned off. These buildings are constructed under the strict guidelines of Title 24. Without proper cross ventilation, airborne particulates or carbon dioxide from the students breathing accumulates similar to hotel conference rooms and starts to put occupants to sleep or cause the headache and nausea symptoms. The systems must be operated in accordance to Title 24
  • At a minimum, HVAC fans should remain on to allow air flow through the room. Filters also need to be maintained to allow the proper clean and unobstructed airflow to minimize airborne particulate and the accumulation of carbon dioxide.
  • The buildings in question have been tested for CFM and VOC content and all have come within the strict guidelines.

Global Modular asks our customers and users to contact a independent investigative entity for further information if needed.
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