Engineering and construction experts BAM, Ramboll and Sweco are partnering to showcase key projects the firms are delivering for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), at an event to celebrate the official naming of the new research vessel, the RRS Sir David Attenborough.
The companies are working to deliver the BAS Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP) – a series of projects that will upgrade the UK’s Antarctic research infrastructure. This includes redeveloping the wharf at the Rothera Research Station, BAS’s largest facility on the continent, to accommodate the new ship.
The event, which takes place in Merseyside on 26th-28th September, will see experts from each business join colleagues from Cammell Laird – builders of the RRS Sir David Attenborough – for a panel discussion at the Engineering College in Birkenhead, as part of a breakfast event chaired by the Financial Times.
Titled ‘Meeting the 1.5 degree challenge’, the panel will discuss how low carbon tech, alongside construction design and delivery using digital 4D modelling and innovative technologies, can create a safer and more sustainable future for polar research to support BAS.
The partners will also host an exhibit at the event’s ‘Ice Worlds Festival of Discovery’ - a public festival of science, engineering and technology - to showcase the projects the businesses are delivering for BAS.
‘Ice Worlds’ will house a series of interactive displays and talks, alongside games and STEM-related activities, designed to help students learn more about engineering and the partners’ role in Antarctica. The work provides an inspiring backdrop to engage with the next generation, to show them how exciting a career in the industry can be.
Dave Grove, Ramboll project director, said: “The partnership team is working closely in true collaboration to create a diverse range of ideas for the modernisation programme. It’s a pool of innovation where we are working together to deliver the best sustainable outcomes for BAS and their pioneering science research, which will ultimately benefit us all. This great event provides an opportunity to share these achievements so far.”
Stewart Craigie, technical director at Sweco, said: “This event marks a celebration of the engineering, scientific and construction expertise that the UK has to offer and highlights the strength of its polar research capabilities. As well as enabling us to showcase our progress in the Antarctic to date, it will provide us with a platform to help inspire the next generation of engineers to continue to push the boundaries of engineering, construction and design.
“We’re exceptionally proud to be working in Antarctica, applying the expertise in cold climate and sustainable construction that stretches across our international office network to support the BAS’s future aspirations. This has included working to reduce embodied carbon through smart choice of materials and construction methods, to boost stations’ energy efficiency, and developing innovative solutions to provide more sustainable energy sources.”
Graham Hopper, BAM Project Director said: “The first construction season at Rothera Wharf has been a tremendous success. Work has been delivered on plan, with an excellent safety and environmental performance. This success is in part attributable to the innovative method of delivery, enabling the early engagement of all partners. Building relationships and collaborative behaviours achieved efficiencies in time and cost, and reduced risk for all partners.
“NERC, UKRI and BAS can be credited for choosing the successful procurement model and mentoring of partners. These relationships and the early contractor engagement, means our teams in Antarctica work seamlessly, sharing skills, equipment and delivering solutions to maximise benefit to all. Everyone involved in the project from the construction, scientific and operational communities, deserve to feel very proud of their achievements.”
The AIMP forms part of a £300m investment by the government in the UK’s polar science infrastructure, the largest since the 1980s, which includes infrastructure modernisation works and the construction of the RRS Sir David Attenborough. Ramboll was appointed as technical advisor to BAS in 2016, with Sweco partnering with BAM in 2017 to provide key design and construction services for the project.
The first stage of work to extend the wharf at the Rothera Research Station – conducted as part of the AIMP – is due for completion in May 2020. Other projects include the development of a new masterplan and upgrade of key buildings at Rothera and King Edward Point Research Station. These projects follow the successful completion of the Bird Island Research Station upgrade in 2018.
BAM was chosen by BAS to lead the modernisation programme in 2017, working to enable British scientists to continue delivering world-class research into some of the most important issues facing our planet. It partnered with engineering consultancy Sweco to provide key design and delivery services. The team work closely with BAS’ technical advisors; Ramboll, who are providing specialist engineering and consultancy services, including technical research, design and supporting BAS through construction with site supervision and technical and commercial reviews.