Today marks the end of a successful first construction phase of the new wharf at Rothera, the largest British Antarctic Survey (BAS) research centre, as the Antarctic winter sets in. The final BAM construction team members have boarded the RRS James Clark Ross to make their way home following six-months of construction work, which was supported by BAS’s Technical Advisors, Ramboll.

During the season the team dismantled the existing wharf to make way for the new skeleton structure, with six of the 20 steel frames successfully installed. Towards the end of the season the teams installed steel piles and backfilled with rock to protect the new sections of the wharf from icebergs during the harsh Antarctic winter. All the plant and equipment have now been ‘winterised’ ready for phase two of the construction later this year.

Forming part of a comprehensive programme of works known as the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation (AIM), commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) aims to keep the UK at the forefront of climate, biodiversity and ocean research.

The wharf construction team consisted of 50 BAM construction workers led by Construction Leader Martha McGowan. Upon departing Rothera, Martha said “It’s been a remarkable season in many respects- working in a unique and special environment, with an exceptional team, as well as playing a part in helping support the future sustainability of our planet. The entire team that worked here in Rothera and back in the UK can feel proud of what has been achieved, I am truly grateful for all of their support and commitment”.

Once complete, the new 74-metre long wharf will be larger and deeper than the previous one, to accommodate the new polar research vessel, the RRS Sir David Attenborough that will come into operation in 2020. The new wharf will also improve experiences for research and operational personnel working at Rothera. A new crane and enhanced cargo handling facilities will make it easier and quicker to load and unload cargo, whilst enhancing facilities for deploying small boats and gliders used for scientific purposes more efficiently.

Watch the video for more insight into the new Antarctic wharf.

David Seaton British Antarctic Survey, Senior Infrastructure Programme Manager, commented,This last six months has seen some exceptional results and innovative engineering. The teams from BAS, BAM, SWECO and Ramboll completed all that they set out to do. They delivered their work on time and with an excellent safety performance. When construction resumes, we will be starting from a very good point.”

Graham Hopper, BAM’s Project Director said, “The first season of construction works at Rothera Wharf has been a tremendous success. The works have been delivered on programme and to budget, with an excellent safety and environmental performance. This success has been facilitated by the innovative method of delivery that has enabled the early engagement of all partners, the building of relationships and collaborative behaviours, that have mobilised benefits in budget, programme and risk to all partners. Our Employer UKRI/BAS should be given great credit for the selection of the procurement model and mentoring of partners.

“Thanks to these relationships and the early contractor engagement, our teams in Antarctica have worked seamlessly, sharing skills, equipment and delivering solutions to maximise benefit to all. All personnel involved in the project from the construction, scientific and operational communities, deserve to feel very proud of their achievements and I would like to pass on my thanks and admiration to all.”

The next stage

When teams return to work, they’ll work together reviewing results and capturing lessons learnt from season one, to integrate into plans for 2020 and future Antarctic projects. They’ll share learning with industry in the UK and globally, across science and engineering communities and forums. This will include, for example the innovations used to develop materials and components designed to withstand some of the coldest, windiest, remotest parts of our planet, and create sustainable infrastructure.

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Further information

Background - The Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme

In January 2017 UK NERC chose BAM, and their designers Sweco; and Technical Advisors Ramboll, to partner with British Antarctic Survey, for the £300m Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation (AIM) Programme.

This investment by the UK government, the most significant in polar science since the 1980s, represents the importance of continuing world-class science and BAS operations in the Antarctic, unlocking the secrets of this most hostile and majestic continent.

Commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), in 2017, modernisation of the infrastructure will take 7-10 years. And will help keep the UK at the forefront of climate, biodiversity and ocean research and help people globally, understand the future of our planet.

The Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation includes:

-The new RRS Sir David Attenborough polar vessel

-Numerous wharf improvements to allow safe and efficient berthing of the new ship

-Building refurbishments and construction of new facilities, across BAS research centres in the Antarctic and the UK.

The AIMP programme includes a host of projects in the Polar Region to modernise UK Antarctic research facilities. They’ll be fit for purpose for decades to come, supporting people working at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) research stations and ports in South Atlantic and Antarctic.

-2018, the partners on the AIM Programme completed redevelopments to facilities at the research station on Bird Island

2019-20, Rothera Wharf - the UK’s main Antarctic Hub - construction of a new, longer and deeper wharf to allow for safe and efficient berthing of the new Polar research vessel, the RRS Sir David Attenborough and its cargotender in 2020.

The Partnership

Commissioned by Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) that provide funding for research in the UK and overseas BAM and Ramboll form the collaborative partnership for the AIM programme that will last between seven and ten years

Ramboll - Technical Advisors - produce the basis of a developed design for all AIM projects – developing proposals from BAS, with early contractor involvement (ECI) from BAM, to a 35% design stage. BAS is drawing upon Ramboll’s breadth of expertise to carry out works in relation to, energy efficiency initiatives, modelling, environmental impact assessment support, facilities management and a sustainability strategy. Ramboll’s role as technical advisor extends through the construction phase and completion of projects, supporting BAS with site supervision and technical and commercial reviews.

BAM – civil engineering and construction expertise - BAM Nuttall and BAM International, with designers Sweco, progress to the detailed design stage and delivery. BAM Nuttall and BAM International have extensive experience in delivering sustainable engineering and construction projects all over the world and bring experience of innovating for and working in extreme environments and temperatures similar to the Antarctica. And BAM jointly bring critical digital modelling and construction expertise.

Contact details:

BAS I Linda Capper, MBE, MCIPR|Head of Communications

LMCA@bas.ac.uk |Tel: +44 (0)1223 221448 | Mobile: +(44) 07714 233744

BAS I Layla Batchellier |Communications & Engagement Manager, RRS Sir David Attenborough|

British Antarctic Survey laytch@bas.ac.uk| Tel: +44 (0)1223 221506

Ramboll - Eleanor Fox, Marketing and Communications Manager; D +44 7896746886; M +44 7896746886


BAM I Abigail Rowland, Head of Communications. T: +44 (0) 7917 431968 Abigail.Rowland@bamnuttall.co.uk

Website links

·BAS: https://www.bas.ac.uk/project/uk-antarctic-hub-rothera-modernisation/

·Ramboll: https://uk.ramboll.com/projects/ruk/british-antarctic-survey-rothera

·Social media: Twitter @BAS_news; @Ramboll_UK; @BAMNuttall #Antarctic #Rothera