Classroom Portables

I have been working with a private school in Toronto who are purchasing classroom portables here in Windsor. One building is a six pack unit with 2 washrooms. I am meeting them again to look at this specific unit on Tuesday. I received a call from them today about a concern. An engineer friend of theirs stated that if they move the unit to Toronto, it will have to confirm to current Ontario Building Code. That includes insulation values, structure, etc. I was under the impression that because the building is 35 years old, and they are not removing or replacing any components that just as any other structure, the building codes are grandfathered. They will of course be subject to the current fire codes after it is moved.

I have researched, but can’t find this information.

Once moved, does the building have to be upgraded by law? Portables get shuffled around all the time between schools. I know code isn’t my concern during the inspection, I just want to help the client get some info.

Any one have an idea or reference?

When I worked for the Toronto board of ed they shuffled portables around all the time with no permits other than transporting for wide load. That though was a Toronto site to Toronto site and these would have been approved from the start. I recommend calling the local ahj but I believe as a portable building similar to a mobile home the cert comes with the building no matter what site it is located or moved to provided of course it met Ontario Building code when manufactured.

Thanks Bruce. That’s the understanding I have as well. I’m not sure why the client is bring told the building will need to be upgraded for his use. I’ve never heard of any building that needs complete code upgrading when changing owners.

For your reference

Thanks Ray

Doesn’t answer your question, but for your files.

Service Description
Building permit for the placement of a portable classroom on the site of an existing school City of Toronto

Building codes are minimum standards and locally enforced, so the School board or authority responsible for buildings may require more than is in code.

The school board here currently ownes the portables, but the school who is purchasing them is a private academy and is not part of any school board.

I have read about everything online pertaining to portables, and can’t find anything that backs up the claim.

In the past several newsworthy claims made the news regarding mold concerns in portable classrooms, particularly in the Essex County - Windsor area. I’m not saying it’s the case, but you never know unless tested.

On the other side portables are also considered temporary structures and can come under further scrutiny by the local authorities. As stated earlier, the enforcement can vary at different jurisdictions even within the province.

From a practical side, even private schools have other obligatory requirements to be granted approvals such as the ministry of education, and obligations regarding the health and well being of the occupants. Additionally a structure built 25+ years ago would not meet the requirements for thermal efficiency or possibly fire safety obligations required today.

They either have their own board or they are under the jurisdiction of another board such as the TO public or separate school board. There is always a school board for K to 12. Someone employed by that board or school is responsible for the physical standards of classrooms and school buildings.

Online is probably the wrong place to look for relevant information regarding school building policies and standards, good luck in finding that without speaking to someone.

Thanks Claude,

My brother takes care of all of the school boards mould and asbestos testing (catholic & public) so I am aware of the issues here. I know that from the original drawings of the building, the insulation does not meet the current standard so you are correct in that regard. As for fire safety, the distance between the portable and school as well as distance to a hydrant is already known as well as interconnected pull stations etc. The question proposed to me (and in the original post) was does this 30 year old portable need to be updated to meet current OBC for classroom portables after it has changed ownership?

Eric, the school is a private Jewish academy. I was told by the head director that they are not affiliated with any school board in Toronto. Their sister school is in New York.

As far as it goes, I’ll just assume that no one knows the answer, which is fine. The client has their own due diligence to ensure correct measures are made on their end. My job is to inspect the building, and yes, I am sampling for mould as per the clients request.

Aaahhhh this forum…:wink:

School board is my generic term. In ON there is public school legislation for K-12 (kindergarten to grade 12) that all schools have to follow. A K-12 private school has to have people that have been assigned the responsibilities of the school board, which includes looking after the buildings used by students.

One way for one off private schools to do this is to contract building supervision with a larger school board, who often have extra schools available in areas where there used to be kids but not anymore, such as downtown or older suburbs.

If you ask the guy who hired you who is responsible for their buildings you will eventually find out how this school is looking after things. If this school is not teaching the K-12 curriculum then it would be more like a part time sunday school, the kids are also needing to go to a regular 3 R school teaching ON curriculum elsewhere, or perhaps it is for adults, which probably means that ON legislation or TO bylaws for schools for kids do not apply.

To add to the confusion, be aware that there are political issues involved.
Public school boards do not like private schools within their boundaries.
Some might say that was because public boards are staffed by union employees who see private schools, usually non union, as a threat to their sinecure.
A public board might say that private schools may not (couldn’t possibly) be meeting the high standards that a public board is held to.

Don’t get caught in the middle.
Having said that, a Jewish school would be pretty low on the perceived threat list by a public school board.