Blog: Value SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - Scania HQ, Milton Keynes

06 June 2019

Sponsored by Artelia Group

Scania Head Office, Milton Keynes - submitted by gdm architects

A bespoke, new head office for Scania, a leading European manufacturer, was constructed on their operational site in a focal position within the commercial area of Milton Keynes. The operational brief was based around introducing Swedish open plan ways of working into their Great Britain HQ. The building brief was to design a new landmark building that reflected the visual corporate image being rolled out across Europe for their new service centres. The client wanted to have a dynamic building that visually and environmentally attracted the best staff to stay or join the business at a time where competitors may be seen as a more vibrant option. This project is the result of a good client who recognised the need to update their image and profile in the UK market.

The project

The project is the most positive example of how teamwork can influence the quality of the result.  Value was achieved through collaboration, successfully addressing the intimate needs of the business, the staff and the local setting. Client respect for the design and construction team is a great accolade and one that is achieved on this project.

This project started with just the Project Manager and Architect having casual meetings with Scania Estates. Initial outline briefs were formed, and a plan of action started to evolve. Scania was a willing and trusting client who did not understand how building projects were started or realised. However, they were prepared to appoint professionals who do know and prepared to open their business to them and trust their advice.

The professional team grew as required and soon feasibility proposals were being prepared and explored.

This close, open and interactive relationship with the client allowed the professional team to learn how the business operates and therefore the needs it would demand of a building to operate within. Likewise, it educated the client on the process of procuring a project of this size and complexity.

Along the route, many building and operational options were explored. At times, these led to debate and crunch decisions.


  • Invest time to establish a brief – this is crucial to the success of the operational building. This must be recognised by clients who are often just worried about time and capital cost. Scania understood this need, helping them to review their own operational procedures.
  • Invest time in the procurement of the design – go back to the traditional sequence of design-led projects. Detail is critical and sufficient time necessary to resolve complex technical matters. Time spent on this stage of the project soon reaps numerous worthwhile benefits.
  • Integrate the design and construction team – do not allow design to be diluted by unnecessary simplification of construction methods but do work with the construction specialists to understand how buildability can be integrated into the design.
  • Keep everyone involved and informed – inclusive approach to the client staff gave them a responsible view to ensure they had a part to play in the final design, layout and operational systems of the building.
  • Learn at every stage and review post project – experience is a great value.


  • Exceeded client and user expectations
  • Keeping European business, and investment in Milton Keynes
  • Architecture being recognised as a business investment

For more details:

Visit gdm architects

The SECBE 2019 Value Award is sponsored by Artelia Group.

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