Sunday, May 24, 2015

Issues Concerning Portables at Jenny Lind Elementary


Previously Posted Nov. 2012
Portables set up on school sites are considered “temporary,” and used for specific short term periods of time. This period of time allows a school district (adequate time) to build permanent (long-term) structures.

Some of the portables in question at JLE are celebrating their 24th  year. The acceptable period of time is typically 15 years. Because they are portable buildings they have higher maintenance issues; as they age, portables require more attention (maintenance) to meet safe standards for occupancy.

Below is a short list of maintenance issues concerning portables (Pods 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9) at Jenny Lind Elementary:



(Landscape): The landscape at the rear of a number of the portables have improper slope; water does not drain away from the building; it drains toward (and underneath in some cases).


(Temporary Support/Foundations): Many of the portables (most notable at the rear) are set up using treated lumber for support—temporary in nature.

(Down Spouts and Gutters): Many of the downspouts end (flow out) just above the ground at the base of the foundation or support. The purpose of gutters and downspouts is to channel water away from the portable foundations. Many of the downspouts pour out and send water directly under portables.


(Concrete at Floor Level): The concrete around and between the portables is poured to just below the floor level; this puts the floor joists and foundations of the portables below ground level—and (by gravity) water will flow and collect to this lowest level/area.


(Air Vents, Air Flow, and Cross Ventilation): The air vents at the front and sides of the portables (where concrete exist) are covered up. This creates insufficient air flow and not enough cross ventilation under the foundations. The purpose of air vents in the foundations is to pull air in through the vents so air can circulate in the foundation area to minimize moisture and stale air issues. Channels under the portables (when built) were created to allow air to circulate. But because the vents around the portables (except at the rear and landscape areas) are below ground, air can not circulate to cause adequate air movement. Because some of the portables have moisture, mold, and foul odor issues, inadequate air circulation must be considered.

(Expansion Joints): Some expansion joints between the portable foundations and concrete walkways have been removed or are missing, leaving a 1½ inch gap between portables and concrete. This gap allows water to flow under portable foundations—creating potential moisture problems.




(Water Directed Against/Toward Portable Siding): The downspouts flowing onto concrete and sidewalks are directed toward and splash against portable sidings. One downspout in the sidewalk area has a 4 inch flexible drain-line attached and tied to the portable foundation allowing all roof runoff to drain against the siding which leads to dry-rot and moisture issues.


(Gutters and Downspouts Removed or Missing): A couple portables have had the gutters and/or downspouts removed or missing, allowing roof water to splash onto the ground and against the portable siding.


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