Dunfermline High School



The 17,700m2 school accommodates 1,750 pupils and is an excellent resource for the local community. Facilities include a sports hall, two gyms, dance studio, mini theatre, workshop, library, and conference accommodation.

Sustainable design

The customer defined a sustainable approach from the outset, targeting BREEAM Excellent, an EPC A rating and an air tightness of 5.00 m3/h/m2. These were achieved by applying passive design measures to utilise natural daylight and ventilation, as well as renewable energy systems, and measures to reduce waste on site. We also surpassed the air tightness target, achieving 3.8 m3/h/m2.

The school has won two awards from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), the Award for Best Education and Community Building in Scotland as well as the Zero Waste Scotland Award in the Special Category Award for Resource Efficiency. RIAS chose our project because ‘The sheer scale of this major new secondary school demanded a simple, navigable plan and separation of facilities. This is well achieved with materials and art enhancing the daily experience of its users.’

BREEAM Excellent and EPC A rated

Tackling climate change

Natural lighting and ventilation were two key drivers to meet the customer’s sustainability aspirations. The building’s design includes light wells to the ground floor, allowing light to reach all areas of the building through the internal glass walls and glass balusters. The building has also been designed so that approximately 80-85% is naturally ventilated, with the remainder using mechanical ventilation.

Several renewable energy systems were incorporated into the building including a wind turbine, a solar thermal hot water system and a bio-mass boiler. These will work together to reduce the school’s carbon emissions and provide a great learning opportunity for pupils.

During construction, timers were used on all of the temporary electrics, and site cabins utilised PIR sensors to ensure lights were switched off when not in use. 

Wind turbine, solar thermal system and bio-mass boiler

Resource efficiency

We used prefabrication to reduce waste, including six metre long modules of pipe and cable baskets.

Subcontractors were encouraged to reduce waste and develop ideas. Our dry liners used specific lockable plasterboard skips which were sent for recycling, which encouraged segregation of waste and allowed easy reuse of any leftover gypsum for small detail work.

We initiated early consultation with the customer to agree on suitable storage locations for the soil that was to be retained on site, enabling 100% ofthe excavated soil to be re-used. A saving of approximately £60,000 was achieved by not sending the soil to landfill, along with minimising environmental impact and reducing transport emissions.

Saving achieved by not sending excavated soil to landfill

Water Management

We installed an 80,000 litre water harvesting tank which will supply greywater for the toilets. The taps in the school all have PIR sensors which automatically stop after a certain amount of time. 

80,000 litre capacity greywater harvesting tank


We installed bat boxes throughout the site and have developed a wet area which includes a pond for wetland wildlife. The planting around the school is a special mix of seeds which will encourage future biodiversity to the area.

Pond for wetland wildlife

Sourcing responsibly

We encouraged subcontractors to purchase materials from the local area and the majority of bricks, blocks and timber were all procured from Fife County. 94% of work went to local subcontractors within a 50 mile radius, with 21% from Fife County itself. 

94% of subcontractors based within a 50 mile radius

Community engagement

We worked with our supply chain to donate materials and personal protective equipment to participants of the Children’s Parliament Eco-city event. The materials were used to prefabricate sections of a large 3D model, which over 40 school children added to, creating their ideal built environment.

During construction our site team worked in conjunction with the council to give over 2,000 young people an insight into the world of construction and highlight the dangers of construction sites. Feedback was very positive and staff commented that the young people had found the presentations very engaging.

BAM offered several on site work placement opportunities to Dunfermline students. One of the students has gone on to study Construction Management at university and continues to be supported by BAM.

The team participated in many charity events, including the ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign which raised £5,500 for Barnardo’s charity. 

Our commitment throughout the project was recognised by Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) monitors who awarded the site a score of 37.5 out of 40 and a Silver award at the annual ceremonies.

Silver CCS award in 2012

Health and wellbeing

Our team won a Gold internal Health and Safety award for their innovative approach, including their installation of a new wireless emergency system for emergency alerts. This project was one of the first sites to trial the new system and has since led to other projects taking up the technology.


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