At iMod Structures, the term ‘future proof’ – when applied to a high performance classroom – means the structure will hold value into the distant future and never become obsolete. It will forever accommodate evolving approaches to instruction and ever advancing digital teaching tools. It can be expanded or contracted to meet changing student demographics. And it is an asset that will provide a school or university an ever increasing return on investment.
We believe a future proof building must possess five critical features:
Extremely Long Life - IMS steel frame buildings will easily last 100 years. Unlike an inexpensive, wood frame portable building that deteriorates rapidly and must be replaced periodically, an IMS building will last indefinitely.
Transportable - A masonry building may be strong and have a long life, but what happens if its location loses value or becomes irrelevant? When the demographics of a community shifts, why buy new classrooms over here when you have under-utilized classrooms over there? To address these issues, a future proof building must be transportable. A masonry building is too heavy to be relocated. A wood frame building is not rigid enough to withstand the rigors of relocation. However, an all-steel IMS building is designed to be transported conveniently and rapidly by truck, rail or ship. If a school is no longer needed over here, then simply transport it over there, to wherever it is needed.
Flexible - IMS buildings can be expanded or contracted in horizontal and/or vertical configurations. For example, in an “in-fill” location (a land-constrained location), an IMS one-story school can become a two-story facility at any time in the future. Conversely, a two-story classroom can contract in size by removing the second story and transporting it to a new location where new classrooms are needed. A future proof building is not just flexible in terms of its size, but also in terms of its use. Buildings that contain structural columns or structural walls impose inflexibility on efforts to redesign a space for a new use. Because IMS buildings possess 40 feet of clear span, they enjoy tremendous architectural flexibility and can easily adapt to different uses and architectural designs over time.
Sustainable - At the heart of a future proof building is its sustainability. A wood frame portable classroom is destined for a landfill, faster than you might imagine. A steel frame IMS classroom has sustainability designed in. It can be relocated to a new location and/or transformed to accommodate an alternative use, sustaining its economic benefit to its owners and the community it serves. It is constructed largely from recycled materials, features a proprietary energy efficient HVAC system, is extremely well insulated and can self-generate the majority of its own electricity with the inclusion of solar roof panels. In summary, an IMS building is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient.
Intelligent - Although intelligence is correlated with longevity and longevity is at the heart of future proofing, the word “intelligence” has not, until recently, been associated with buildings. IMS buildings such as our classrooms can contain building automation systems which enable remote and/or local control of lighting, heating and cooling, ventilation and audio/visual technologies. This intelligence decreases operating costs, provides for a healthy learning environment and improves the educational experience.