Antarctic stations upgrade

Antarctic stations upgrade

NEC Users’ Group gold member BAM Nuttall won an £8.15 million NEC3 Term Service Contract (TSC) last month to upgrade port facilities at British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) King Edward Point environmental research station on the remote unpopulated island of South Georgia.

Scheduled for January to May next year, the challenging project was let by BAS parent Natural Environmental Research Council as part of a seven-year NEC-procured £100 million Antarctic infrastructure modernisation programme announced in 2017.

The work involves extending an existing wharf and building a new 11m by 11m dolphin structure to enable BAS’s new 129m long polar research vessel Sir David Attenborough to call from next year. Site supervision, engineering and project management support is being provided by Ramboll under a separate NEC3 TSC.

According to David Seaton, senior infrastructure programme manager at BAS, ‘Our prime objective is to have a true collaborative partnership, fully open and transparent, to help us deal effectively with the unique challenges of Antarctica. NEC and its obligation to work “in a spirit of mutual trust and co-operation” is the obvious contract choice to meet this objective.’

Last year BAM Nuttall and Ramboll completed a 17-week, £3 million upgrade of Bird Island research station on South Georgia. A £30 million project is also ongoing at Rothera research station on Adelaide Island, west of the Antarctic Peninsula, where the first phase of a new 74m long wharf was completed in May this year.

BAS is a long-standing user of NEC contracts, having procured the innovative £22 million Halley VI research station on the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica in 2012 using an NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) Option C (target contract with activity schedule). This was successfully moved 23km to avoid an advancing ice chasm in 2017.

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