Designing for Growth – AB Dynamics

AB Dynamics is a UK manufacturing success story. In 2014 SRA were commissioned to design a new headquarters for AB Dynamics and, for the last five years, we have worked with them to realise their ambition. The success of this working relationship along with their continued growth is such that this was followed by a second building, currently under construction, with a third building now in the early stages of design.

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Based in Bradford-on-Avon, AB Dynamics design and manufacture advanced engineering systems for the automotive and technology sectors, exporting 98% of sales revenue.  Their clients include the top 25 global automotive manufacturers and their products range from driving simulators, kinematics measurement equipment, moving target crash testing equipment and driverless robots as featured on television.

In May 2013 they listed on the London Stock Exchange reporting revenue of £12.17M for the year.  Then, in early 2014, SRA were engaged to design a new headquarters for the 60 strong company to allow them to expand from their base in a 1960s industrial shed. 

The challenge they set shines a light on some of the management strategies that have resulted in their success with the brief for the new headquarters having three key components:

  • Provide a high-quality working environment – good people and talent are a business’s biggest asset.

  • Provide a high level of adaptability for frequently changing needs – this has allowed them to react to their fast developing R&D and product lines.

  • Project an image as a global engineering manufacturer.

Rising to the challenge, SRA engaged in a collaborative but rigorous design development process along with AB Dynamics and the rest of the design team, resulting in the delivery of the headquarters building which was occupied by the end of 2017. This went on to win ‘Project of the Year’ at the Constructing Excellence South West awards and provided AB Dynamics with much needed capacity for further growth.

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Throughout 2017 this growth continued with revenue rising to £24.6M as they took occupation of the new headquarters in Bradford-on-Avon with 2018 bringing further consolidation and success and an increase of nearly £12.5M, to £37.05M. 

 Reflecting this, their number of employees increased to over 200 staff, with the flexibility of the original design successfully able to adapt and accommodate these changes. The story of AB Dynamics’ continued success and growth led to SRA being  commissioned to design a second building, their new design and development facility, which is currently under construction and due in the third quarter of 2020 with a new third facility for manufacturing in nearby Melksham due for delivery in 2021.

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From the outset, founder and Chairman Tony Best, recognised that a company’s buildings make a statement about the organisation. He wanted buildings that communicated engineering excellence to everyone who visited; especially global engineering customers from overseas. The appearance of the headquarters is strikingly contemporary and, in Tony Best’s words,

SRA have designed a building that is a pleasure to work in and meets our frequently changing needs. We are pleased with the outcome and the way it reflects the character of the company to all our visitors.
— Tony Best, AB Dynamics Founder and Chairman

This was echoed in the requirements for the second building which was to be ‘from the same stable’ as the first, unifying the two buildings to establish a campus feel and consolidate the image of the company.

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AB Dynamics understand the importance and correlation of quality built assets and company image. They invested in their buildings to provide a quality working environment, attract talent and project their brand values to prospective clients. This foresight and ambition is surely part of the reason why they are a British engineering manufacturer performing on the global stage.

Supporting Cambria Automobiles in expanding their dealership portfolio

Supporting Cambria Automobiles in expanding their dealership portfolio

With over 60 years of motoring heritage, Grange Motors continues to offer premium and high luxury sports cars.  Now part of the Cambria Automobiles PLC family, Grange has built a range of dealerships that adds value to the group and leaves the business well positioned.  SRA Architects are thrilled to play a part in this journey, adding value through the built environment by designing brand-aware and customer focused dealerships.

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'City of tomorrow'

Looking forward over the next 10 years at our home town of Bath, where will the exciting architectural stories come from?

SRA add their voice to the latest architectural discussion in Bath Life magazine.

View here.

Our very own TRYathlon team

2019 brought with it another sell out edition of the Colliers Bristol Tryathlon which saw over 250 attendees take part in the swim-bike-run event focused on participation; ‘try-ing’ your best and promoting good causes. The event, now in its seventh year, is generously organised by Colliers International and this year was raising money for the Malcolm Gunter foundation which was set up in 2018 to support those affected by Motor Neurone Disease. The day was extremely well supported and drew teams from across the South West and further afield to test their mettle against the clock and one another, for charity.

SRA Team (from left to right): Jonathan Crossley, Emma McDermott, Garry Davies

SRA Team (from left to right): Jonathan Crossley, Emma McDermott, Garry Davies

SRA Architects were pleased to be represented in hot and humid conditions firstly by Emma McDermott, who took the plunge and got the team off to a great start in the 400m swim before passing on to Garry Davies who took on the peloton on the 16km cycle leg. Following these Herculean efforts it was left to Jonathan Crossley to carry the baton home on the 5k run where, after a notional dip for the line, he was left gasping for air before re-joining fellow SRA teammates to watch the rest of the runners and riders come home.

A hearty, restorative barbecue and some light refreshments later and the SRA team were left to bask in the glory of a sub one hour finishing time and third placed finish in the mixed relay category; notably finishing ahead of the third placed men’s team. Congratulations to the teams from Turley and JLL who beat us to the line and all the other competitors who took part.

Once again the event was a huge success, with money raised for a great cause and an afternoon well spent in the countryside testing our best efforts against the boldest and brightest from across the South West.

Congratulations to our latest Architect

After many years of academic study and practical experience we are delighted to celebrate with Ben as he receives his Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Practice (Part III) from the University of Bath.

The past few months have been pretty intense for him as he has juggled his studies and projects here at SRA. We are thankful for all Ben contributes to the SRA team, and are delighted that he now has his full ARB recognition for his hard work and expertise.

Ben worked really hard during his Part III studies, but he took it very much in his stride. He’s already developing into a competent project leader and I am sure he will continue to progress in the years ahead.
— Andy Battle, Architect and Associate at SRA

Automotive roundup: our latest projects

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It has been a busy year in our automotive sector. We've had projects complete, clients move in and customers happy with their new, upgraded car buying experiences. Recently, we've finished Jaguar Land Rover jobs in Cardiff, Reading and Slough, showrooms for Audi in Exeter and Worthing and a Porsche showroom in London.

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