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Cardenden Primary School, Fife

Cardenden Primary School, Fife

Fife Council save through refurbishment of Primary School


Cardenden Primary School, in Fife, underwent a £3.5 million refurbishment which was completed in August 2010. This followed the sudden closure of the school in 2008, due to structural issues. A two-storey block, where the structural concerns were, was demolished, and the remaining single-storey block was refurbished and extended. During the refurbishment, energy efficiency was greatly improved. The refurbishment also significantly improved facilities for staff and pupils.

During the project, 98% of the waste arising was diverted from landfill. Fife Council saved on waste disposal and material purchases by choosing to refurbish rather than demolish and rebuild the whole school.




A collaboration of Fife Council Building Services and Property Services were the contractor for the project. Fife Council is a signatory to the ‘Halving Waste to Landfill Commitment’ and as such targets for waste were set, including maximising the separation of waste on site.

In addition to the decision to refurbish, rather than rebuild the entire school, a series of design decisions were made to prevent waste:

  • The use of a timber-framed structure for the extension
  • Retention of the existing roof
  • Retention of the plant room
  • Restoring existing dining, stage and gym halls
  • Reusing 452m3 of crushed aggregate from the demolition of the two-storey building on site.


Additionally, Fife Council trialled the use of a Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP), making use of BRE’s Key and Environmental Performance indicators. This identified the expected wastes and volumes and ensured that appropriate facilities and waste contractors were in place. Waste planning included:

  • A segregation strategy for the site
  • Maximising use of the Council's Environmental Services as the waste management provider
  • Ensuring the correct skips were on site when needed
  • Appointing a Waste Champion to monitor waste.


Fife Council diverted from landfill 98% of the waste arising, equalling 923 tonnes. All aggregate material was reused, either on site or removed for reuse elsewhere. Waste that could not be segregated on site was removed to a Material Recycling Facility (MRF) for segregation. Cost savings were also realised.

In comparison to a ‘notional’ new build project, savings of £134,480 were made.


Raising awareness of the requirements for reuse, recovery and recycling of waste significantly increase the ‘buy-in’ from the design and site team. Using a SWMP allowed the waste quantities, costs and recycling percentages to be closely monitored. It also allowed the success of the project to be clearly demonstrated.

The design team formation, including Education, Property and Building Services and the architect, ensured that appropriate decisions were made, which also reduced waste. Waste disposal costs were reduced through forward planning and negotiation by the Waste Champion.

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