'Extreme Construction' Construction News - Nov 19

After two Antarctic summer seasons of work, a new steel-framed wharf has been completed at the Rothera Research Station in readiness for the arrival of the new RRS Sir David Attenborough.

Rothera Wharf, Antarctica
Main client: British Antarctic Survey
Main contractor: BAM Nuttall
Structural engineer: Ramboll
Steelwork contractor: Four-Tees Engineers
Steel tonnage: 1,000t

Hundreds of miles from the southern tip of South America and surrounded by glaciers, mountains, and treacherous and unpredictable seas, there can few places on earth more challenging for construction than the British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) Rothera Research Station.

With working days limited to the short summer months, due to the severe weather conditions, and transportation links (sea and air) also subject to the meteorological conditions, logistics play a key role when planning a project on the world’s most southerly continent.

Steel construction has proven to be the ideal solution for working in this remote location, as the frame for a new wharf was prefabricated and shipped in erectable pieces to the site.

Due to the practical restrictions of working in one of the most remote construction sites in the world, the construction team practiced a full-scale-assembly before deployment. The 45t steel frames forming the skeleton were tested at steelwork contractor Four-Tees Engineers’ facility to identify any unexpected challenges or additional pieces of equipment that may be needed while still in the UK, which was critical, before shipping the materials 11,000km to Rothera.
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