Aerial view of Novartis, Cork. Photo: Finbarr O'Connell; Aerial view of Novartis, Cork. Photo: Finbarr O'Connell;

Novartis, Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork

Continuous involvement in developing Ringaskiddy plant since 1990

Novartis, the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical company, has a significant presence in Ireland. The Novartis facility in Ringaskiddy was established in 1990 and is on a site of approximately 53ha, of which 45.3ha is developed as an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) pharmaceutical site.

Arup has provided multidisciplinary services to this plant from the beginning and has influenced a coordinated development of the site.

A major plant

The investment value to date on the site has amounted to approximately €850M and employs over 700 personnel directly and indirectly. Novartis Ringaskiddy prides itself on the link with the local community and emphasises the need for good design, value for money and sustainability in all its investments.

The Ringaskiddy site includes wet and dry production areas, classified cleanrooms, warehousing, laboratories, solvent tank farms and extensive infrastructure, waste treatment facilities, environmental protection installations, technical services, support facilities and administration.

Building a relationship

An alliance agreement was established in 2001 where Arup provides multidisciplinary services for Novartis’ onsite project work covering civil and structural, HVAC, building services in non-process buildings, planning, environmental and construction management services.

Recent projects include upgrading and expanding laboratories and production facilities, new offices, district heating studies and securing planning for a new production facility and a wind turbine with a hub height of 100m.

Planning consultant

Arup has been a planning consultant to Novartis Ringaksiddy since the original planning application in 1990. Planning has successfully been achieved for all developments at the facility including a 3MW wind turbine with a hub height of up to 100m and a diameter of up to 101m.


Arup also developed a masterplan for the site prior to any development taking place. The masterplan defined zones for production, materials storage and handling, waste treatment and support facilities. The masterplan has defined an orderly development of the site and has ensured that even after more than 20 years in operation, the site continues to function in a very efficient manner.

Laboratory design

Arup has worked with Novartis in upgrading the specifications for their laboratories to ensure that state of the art materials are used, highest levels of energy efficiency are employed and layouts are adaptable to the changing needs of the industry. Novartis laboratory projects have been an important link in driving the Arup “Lab of the Future” initiative.

Structural design innovation

The building configuration driven by process requirements for Novartis’ second main production building at Ringaskiddy required maximised floor to ceiling height and structural flexibility in the floor slab for vessel penetrations. Arup designed a partially prestressed flat slab which minimised slab depth and achieved a zone in each slab bay that allowed vessel penetrations in up to 70% of the slab.

Naturally ventilated offices

An energy efficiency agenda inspired Arup through a coordinated multidisciplinary design approach to develop a number of naturally ventilated offices within the manufacturing part of the plant. Maximising natural light and utilising a profiled ceiling within the office to enhance airflow through the space, the offices have achieved a comfortable office environment for production support personnel with the minimum use of energy for lighting and air conditioning.