Our experts deliver plant design for BMW’s electric vehicle factories in Oxford and Swindon

18 December 2023

Agility, collaboration and automotive expertise were instrumental components as we designed BMW’s state-of-the-art MINI plants.

The German car giant BMW has been progressing its plans to invest over £600m in developing MINI production lines in the UK. This includes extending the body shop and building a new battery installation facility at the Cowley and Swindon plants. This new generation of the electric MINI will safeguard the long-term future of this iconic brand and protect 4,000 jobs across the two sites.

Our experts from Architectural, Engineering, Sustainability, BIM and Health and Safety disciplines collaborated on this inspirational project to a challenging schedule.

Our team’s enduring focus was on innovation, quality and agility. We applied our shared knowledge of manufacturing facilities and battery technology to BMW’s plant operation to maximise the efficiency of the process flow. Designing and programming the works to allow for continued plant operation was a priority, alongside decommissioning existing equipment and installing new EV lines.

Using the latest BIM software and cloud hosting, we interrogated and accurately assessed BMW’s requirements, developed design proposals and prepared planning and tender information in line with our client’s evolving brief. Every step of the process was taken in close collaboration with the Project and Cost Management team.

Due to the age and adaptations that had been carried out over the buildings’ lives, point cloud surveys were instrumental in allowing us to accurately assess the existing structure and ensure our design built in flexibility for future adaptations.

We worked with the BMW Sustainability tool to align the development with their overall business strategy ‘Number ONE’, which drives sustainable results for the lifecycle of a building and the process of construction.

Alex Miller, Partner at Ridge and project lead, said:

The Ridge team is proud to be supporting local manufacturing initiatives and has accomplished an amazing feat to gain planning approval and bring the contractor on board in such a short space of time.  We look forward to continuing to support this transformational project through the construction phase.”

Having received unanimous planning approval from Oxfordshire City Planning Committee on 12 December 2023, BMW is aiming to start production in Cowley, transitioning the MINI brand to electric in order to continue the move to a sustainable zero emission future. At Ridge our mission is to help our clients transform the quality and sustainability of the built environment, so we are very proud of our input to this exciting automotive development and the economic and environmental benefits it will bring.