BASF is continuing the modernization and expansion of the Ludwigshafen site, thereby implementing a significant part of the recently passed Site Agreement 2025 with the title “Living the new BASF together!”. In light of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic development, all planned construction projects were also carefully examined, with some being reevaluated. The outcome: Plans have been agreed for the construction of a Medical Center with a focus on occupational medicine; however, the facilities will also be accessible to BASF’s neighbors. No longer being pursued is the construction of a new office building at Gate 2 on the plot of what used to be the Friedrich-Engelhorn skyscraper.
“Due to the economic situation and the shift toward more mobile working, we have revised our priorities and placed them elsewhere. The alignment to future demands and strengthening the site are our central goals. We are therefore focusing our investments on the areas of production, engineering, innovation and health and safety,” commented Michael Heinz, Member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE and Site Director.
Site clinic to be replaced by integrated Medical Center
Some 77 years after the site clinic opened its doors, the building has reached its limits regarding size and room equipment. The outdated building will therefore be replaced by a modern Medical Center, comprising a six-story main building and a two-story ambulance station covering a total area of 11,500m². The Medical Center will house examination rooms, training rooms and offices, as well as facilities for medical diagnostics for employees. The emergency medical service will also be located here. Construction of the new building is to begin in early 2021, with completion scheduled for mid-2023. The new building is planned between Gates 5 and 11 on premises outside the site fence.
Alongside the BASF site clinic, the Medical Center is to contain a range of specialist medical facilities and a physiotherapy practice. The new facility is also to accommodate a pharmacy, as well as a provider of protective eyewear with prescription lenses and a health care supply store which will stock orthopedic insoles for work shoes, for example. Pronova BKK, the company health insurance provider, will also be represented here. Aside from the occupational and emergency medicine section reserved solely for BASF employees, the facilities are also to be available to external parties. BASF is already in conversation with potential partners; interested parties are now only being sought for the planned pharmacy. “Our strengths are occupational medical prevention and emergency medicine, with external facilities responsible for further treatment. Both will be present at the BASF Medical Center, meaning the distances our employees need to cover are particularly short,” explained Site Manager Dr. Uwe Liebelt. “By providing medical facilities, we also want to contribute to health care in our community.”
Corporate Health Management is the department responsible for occupational and emergency medicine for employees at the Ludwigshafen site, as well as for the global medical coordination within the BASF Group. The employees will have access to a comprehensive range of services, from occupational medical prevention and emergency medicine, all the way up to health promotion. Around 70,000 occupational medical examinations and prevention measures are performed at the site clinic each year, with a further 33,000 employees benefiting from the emergency clinic services annually. “In the new facility, we will be able to collaborate even more closely with our external partners, which is a great advantage for our employees. This will allow us to optimize the organization of processes in acute cases in particular,” emphasized Prof. Dr. Stefan Lang, BASF’s Chief Medical Officer.
Office building at Gate 2 will not be built
Contrastingly, the previously planned office building at Gate 2 will no longer be built. “The framework conditions for this project have changed significantly,” said Heinz. “Difficult traffic conditions in Ludwigshafen had already increased the importance of mobile working. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, however, the trend towards more mobile working has picked up speed significantly. Therefore, the demand for office space is likely to decline. For this reason, we no longer need an additional office building such as the one we had planned at Gate 2,” said Heinz.
BASF will continue the modernization strategy at the Ludwigshafen site with the planned investments. Over the past few years, new production plants were constructed and important infrastructure projects realized. BASF has confirmed the continuation of this strategy with the Site Agreement 2025: The company plans to invest a sum of at least €1.5 billion per year in the Ludwigshafen site between 2021 and 2025.