Office and Technical Centre, ZF Solihull
This project for leading automotive company ZF Group comprised the construction of a new Office and Technical Centre in Shirley, Solihull. Based in Germany, ZF supplies systems for passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and industrial technology. The company’s UK operations, however, were spread across multiple sites in Solihull, so this new development reunited all aspects of the business under one, albeit very large, roof. SDC’s appointment comprised the construction of an Office Building joined to a Technical Centre via a link building.
The Office Building, totalling 98,284 sq. ft and standing at 16m tall, provides three-storeys of CAT B open plan office space, set above a spacious reception area and restaurant on the ground floor. The restaurant is housed in a quadruple-height atrium with a rooflight spanning the width of the roof. Built off a ground bearing slab, the Office Building has a concrete frame to the 3rd floor, with an SFS steel framed roof structure. The external envelope is rainscreen cladding with ribbon windows and a single ply roof. Curtain walling spans the entrance to the building, providing natural light to the reception area. There is also a screened plant area to the rear of the roof.
Every aspect of the design, build and finish is so impressive. You and your teams have done an outstanding job, creating a site that the whole of ZF will feel proud to occupy. It will surely drive a positive and successful future for ZF in the UK and globally.
The Technical Building, meanwhile, features laboratories, workshops, and technical spaces, with a vast external service yard bringing the total space to 129,634 sq. ft. This new building will become home to many departments in the ZF machine, including climatics and power steering. The corridors inside this building have been designed to measure 4m wide to allow large items of testing equipment to be transferred into the appropriate laboratory. The Technical Building also accommodates a 9m high roller shutter door which provides access to a vibration bay that will be used to vigorously test aircraft components. Also built off a ground bearing slab, this steel-framed building has a composite concrete mezzanine slab across approximately 80% of the floor plate. The external envelope is composite cladding to the walls and roof with several large access doors. There is also a large plant area to the rear of the building which sits on a concrete base. Internally, the walls are a mixture of blockwork and partitions, with several vehicle lifts and other equipment on the ground floor.
I have been very impressed with the personal commitment from every member of the construction team I have spoken with, to ensuring that the building meets the requirements of the lab and office space owners. They are clearly taking pride in their work, with care and thought into details we have and have not yet realised are important to us. There is an over-riding impression of how much intelligent planning, jointly between construction and ZF teams, has gone into the design of all aspects of the facility.
The two structures are joined together by a link building which boasts feature lighting and a coffee bar for employees to meet, collaborate, and socialise in. The link building is approximately 75% curtain walling, providing yet more natural light, as well as views of the new development.
Lastly, the project comprises an external works package which includes a vehicle calibration track, and service and delivery yards. The site’s hard landscaping provides a re-designed entrance area to offer additional parking spaces, making the car park suitable for over 600 cars. Surrounding the parking is a soft landscaping scheme which includes tree planting and the introduction of attenuation for surface water drainage, which subsequently discharges into an off-site swale.
Now complete, the new building provides ZF Group with the space, over 232,904 sq. ft of it, and specialist equipment to carry out its UK operations from one location.