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01/12/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/12/2021 07:02

Construction seasons starts at UK’s largest Antarctic Research Hub

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(Press release British Antarctic Survey:) London, 11 January 2021 - The next stage of building a scientific support facility in Antarctica begins this week [11 January 2020]. To avoid the risk of introducing COVID-19 to British Antarctic Survey's Rothera Research Station, the construction team spent two weeks in quarantine and had three Covid-19 tests prior to making the almost 11,000 kilometre voyage by ship.

A 20 person-plus team from BAS construction partners BAM, Ramboll and Sweco is working on the second season of building the cutting-edge science and operations building. Construction can only take place during a short window during the Antarctic summer months, avoiding the harsh, dark winter. This season the team aims to complete the pre-cast concrete foundations, ground floor slab, rock anchors and stub columns, as well as drainage and the perimeter wall, before returning in December to complete the outer structure.

The new scientific support facility, named the Discovery Building, commemorates the discovery of Antarctica just over 200 years ago. The project is part of the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP). Facilities in the new two-storey 4,500m2 building include preparation areas for field expeditions, offices, a medical centre, recreational spaces (music room and climbing wall) and science workshops.

The Discovery Building has a unique design, such as a thermally-efficient envelope to minimise energy use, along with heat recovery generators and photovoltaic solar panels. It also has a snow and wind deflector - the largest of its kind in Antarctica - to minimise time spent removing snow accumulation from around the building.

Bright, open-plan offices foster collaboration and improve health and wellbeing of staff living in remote locations. Roof lights increase natural light and reduce the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

The project is delivered by the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation partnership, which includes construction partner BAM and their team, design consultants Sweco, Hugh Broughton Architects, with Ramboll acting as BAS's Technical Advisers, with their team NORR architects and Turner & Townsend.

Maurice Siemensma, Project Manager at BAM said: 'We're delighted to return for another construction season to Rothera, to undertake the installation of the foundations, the concrete perimeter walls, the underground drainage and completing the earthworks for the Discovery Building. Although this year's construction season has been shortened, we have put together a programme to ensure we can continue progress on this crucial piece of infrastructure, which will support the construction works in the coming season substantially.'

David Brand, Senior Project Manager at British Antarctic Survey said: 'By working in collaboration with our construction partners and colleagues at BAS, we have planned this year's construction season and overcome a number of challenges, including logistics and maintaining safety for our staff. This short season will see the completion of a vital stage of construction for this new facility at Rothera, which will help generations of scientists understand the future challenges of climate change.'

The Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation (AIM) programme is commissioned by UKRI-NERC (Natural Environment Research Council. It aims to keep the UK at the forefront of climate, biodiversity and ocean research and will last between 7-10 years and is worth an estimated £100 million.

Find out more information on the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation programme on the British Antarctic Survey website: https://www.bas.ac.uk/polar-operations/antarctic-infrastructure-projects/

About the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Partnership

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) delivers and enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Its skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet. Through its extensive logistic capability and know how BAS facilitates access for the British and international science community to the UK polar research operation. Numerous national and international collaborations, combined with an excellent infrastructure help sustain a world leading position for the UK in Antarctic affairs. British Antarctic Survey is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). NERC is part of UK Research and Innovation. For more information visit: www.bas.ac.uk

Ramboll is a leading engineering, design and consultancy company founded in Denmark in 1945. The company employs more than 16,500 people globally and has especially strong representation in the Nordics, UK, North America, Continental Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

With 300 offices in 35 countries, Ramboll combines local experience with a global knowledgebase constantly striving to achieve inspiring and exacting solutions that make a genuine difference to our clients, the end-users, and society at large. Ramboll works across the following markets: Buildings, Transport, Planning & Urban Design, Water, Environment & Health, Energy and Management Consulting. More information is available at www.ramboll.com and www.ramboll.co.uk Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

BAM Royal BAM Group is one of Europe's largest contractors, delivering exceptional engineering, design, construction, property management and investment services. BAM's ten operating companies work globally in five European home markets and in niche markets worldwide. The Group turnover £7billion annually and is listed on Euronext, Amsterdam.

BAM employs approximately 20,000 people, who collaborate to support a diverse range of public and private sector customers, BAM has a worldwide reputation for building sustainable environments that enhance people's lives - including rail, marine, tunnelling, highways, energy and water schemes. BAM enables the right people to capitalise on state-of-the-art knowledge, resources and digital technologies, providing solutions across the total construction life cycle. www.bam.com; www.bamnuttall.co.uk

Sweco plans and designs tomorrow's communities and cities. Our work produces sustainable buildings, efficient infrastructure and access to electricity and clean water. With 17,000 employees in Europe, we offer our clients the right expertise for every situation. We carry out projects in 70 countries annually througho ut the world. Sweco is Europe's leading engineering and architecture consultancy, with sales of approximately SEK 20.6 billion (EUR 1.9 billion). The company is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. www.swecogroup.com; www.sweco.co.uk

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