British Antarctic Survey (BAS) parent UK Research and Innovation has awarded a 10-year NEC4 Framework Contract (FC) worth up to £500 million to NEC Users’ Group gold member BAM and its design partner Sweco.
BAM and Sweco have already been working on the initial phase of BAS’s Antarctic infrastructure modernisation programme since 2017 under a 10-year £100 million NEC3 Term Service Contract (TSC). This has included building new wharves at King Edward Point on South Georgia (see page 5) and Rothera on Adelaide Island to accommodate BAS’s new polar research vessel, RRS Sir David Attenborough.
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 cost with activity schedule). This was successfully moved 23 km to avoid an advancing ice chasm in 2017.
Under the new framework, BAM and Sweco will deliver a wide range of sustainable construction projects at BAS’s Antarctic stations. These will include new scientific support buildings, laboratories, accommodation, upgraded recycling and waste management facilities, and runway enhancements. The partnership will also explore renewable energy options and decarbonisation.
Early contractor involvement on each project will be procured through time-charge orders using the NEC4 Professional Service Short Contract (PSSC). Construction contracts will be let as work orders using the NEC4 ECC, generally Option C but also Option A (priced contract with activity schedule) or Option E (cost reimbursable contract) as appropriate.
A masterplan for the works is currently being prepared by BAS’s technical advisor Ramboll, which was reappointed in January 2020 under a 10-year £60 million framework with call-off services let under NEC4 TSC task orders. The firm was previously engaged in 2016 under a 7-year NEC3 TSC.
Speaking at the latest contract award in March 2021, BAS director Jane Francis said, ‘Our ambition is to continue to replace aging buildings with modern, highly insulated and energy-efficient infrastructure. This new partnership with BAM and Sweco brings together innovation, design and technical capability that will enable us to meet our goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.’
Working under NEC3 TSC option C task orders during short Antarctic summers, BAM, Sweco and Ramboll have just completed the foundations of new 4500 m2 research facility at Rothera called the Discovery Building. They will restart work in December on the two-storey steel-frame structure which, on completion in 2024, will mark the end of their initial phase contracts.