Thousands of children may have to move to new pre-schools because many of the country's temporary classroom trailers will soon be in violation of new building standards outlawing temporary building permits for more than ten years, reports Swedish Television news.
Over one-third of the pre-schools built since 2000 in ten of the country's largest 15 municipalities are housed in temporary buildings, sometimes called portable classrooms or modular school buildings, according to a Swedish Television news investigation.
The temporary pre-schools are much cheaper and faster to build, but many parents complain that the buildings are often cramped, cold, and have poor sound insulation and air quality. The Swedish Work Environment Authority has also criticized the portable classrooms.
Although the pre-schools are supposed to be temporary, many municipalities have been granted exemptions, allowing them to use the buildings for years.
But new building code legislation outlaws the temporary structures after ten years, which has caught many municipalities off guard.
Swedish Television news reports that a number of pre-schools housed in modular classrooms in several of the largest municipalities are already older than the law allows. And one-fifth of the temporary pre-schools in the country's largest 15 municipalities need to be removed within the next two years.
The uncertainty is worrying parents.
"We waited for a while for a decision on whether or not the daycare would be rebuilt, or if it would be moved, and we haven't received much information from the municipality," says Carin Sahlberg, who moved her child out of a pre-school housed in a portable classroom in Norrköping municipality.
However, at least one municipality - Örebro – does not want to tear down the modular pre-schools.
"The alternative is that we'd have to shut down the pre-schools where the temporary permits are older than ten years and the children would have no place to go," says Göran Lunander, the CEO of Futurum, a real estate company owned by the municipality of Örebro.
Lunander says the municipality will try to get an extension on the buildings until permanent pre-schools can be built.