The next phase of the British Antarctic Survey’s modernisation programme is set to begin with a 6-month construction season at the Rothera Research Station. The station is the UK’s largest Antarctic research and operations hub that supports leading researchers in frontier science in the region.
The Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP) is part of the long-term Government investment programme to modernise its research facilities in the Polar Regions. It aims to provide polar science infrastructure to enable the UK to deliver cutting-edge climate, biodiversity and ocean research and innovation in Antarctica. The strong collaborative ethos among the AIMP partners British Antarctic Survey, BAM, Ramboll, Sweco and their extended supply chains is critical to the success of delivering projects in the world’s harshest environment.
After last season’s successful completion of the external skeleton for the new Discovery Building, this season is looking to be the busiest and most challenging since the programme began in 2017. Major works this season include making the 4,500-m2 new Science and Operations building weather-resistant and carrying out airfield improvements.
Arriving ahead of the main construction cohort, BAM’s team has started to clear several hundred thousand tonnes of snow that accumulated over the Antarctic Winter, setting the stage for the construction season ahead. The remaining construction team arrives in December following a three-and-a-half-week journey to Antarctica onboard the RRS Sir David Attenborough.
To ensure the Discovery Building’s thermal performance, the team will begin insulating and cladding, with internal works also getting underway on glazing and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. The state-of-the-art building’s science balcony and control tower will also be installed.