Scott Brownrigg and the BCSE launch new guidance on school design and construction as industry braces for capital spending cuts


In conjunction with the British Council for School Environments (BCSE),  Michael Olliff, architectural director at Scott Brownrigg has authored new guidance on school design and construction, as industry braces for capital spending cuts. 

Launched during National School Environments Week 2010, ‘Rethinking School Capital Investment – The new 3Rs?’, explores a range of options for the school estate in the light of potential cuts to school capital expenditure and the likely impact on the construction of new buildings.  These include:

Refresh – looking at how limited budgets can be used to improve spaces, for example through good interior design or the provision of new furniture.  The BCSE has been piloting this approach successfully through its Big School Makeover programme.

Refurbishment – already a significant part of current funding streams, this approach incorporates major upgrading of the fabric of buildings as well as intensive internal remodelling.

Reuse – considering how buildings such as redundant office blocks or retail outlets can be adapted into new schools as well as the ways in which existing education buildings can be reinvented.

The new guidance explores the cost benefit analysis of each approach as well as pointers on sustainability, and the potential impact of changes from policy makers on educational models, such as independently managed ‘free schools’.

Ty Goddard, director of the BCSE, said:

“No-one would disagree that much of the school estate is beyond its useful lifetime, nor that decent school environments benefit teachers and pupils.  Concerns over the state of the public finances point to a need for a cool, calm assessment of the impact of cuts to the school building programme, as well as developing new ideas on how we might do things.”

Author Michael Olliff, architectural director at Scott Brownrigg added:

“Does the solution to the need for new learning space require new buildings or can this need be satisfied with refurbishment solutions?  Better still, can we come up with radical new approaches that make school buildings work more efficiently all year round?

Innovative design solutions are urgently needed that respond to the needs of learners whilst providing integrated community facilities that respond to our open all hours culture.”

Copies of ‘Rethinking School Capital Investment – The new 3Rs?’, written by Michael Olliff of Scott Brownrigg with Paul Zuccherelli and John McEvoy of Davis Langdon can be downloaded here

For more information about this initiative you can also visit the BCSE's website at or  

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