Journal article

While relocatable, prefabricated learning environments have formed an important component of school infrastructure in Australia, prefabrication for permanent school buildings is a new and emerging field. This review of prefabrication for schools is timely. In 2017, Australia’s two largest state education departments committed to prefabrication programs for permanent school infrastructure. In this paper we examine the recent history of prefabrication for Australian school buildings in the context of prefabrication internationally. We explore the range of prefabrication methods used locally and internationally and introduce evaluation indicators for school infrastructure. Traditional post-occupancy evaluation (POE) tools measure indicators such as indoor environment quality (IEQ), cost benefit, life cycle performance, and speed of delivery. In response to a shift towards more student-centred learning in a digitally rich environment, recently developed POE tools now investigate the ability of new generation learning environments (NGLEs) to support optimum pedagogical encounters. We conclude with an argument for departments of education to consider how prefabrication provides opportunities for step changes in the delivery, life-cycle management and occupation of smart green schools rather than a program of simply building new schools quicker, better, and cheaper.

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