23 March, 2021 ,

Construction expert BAM Nuttall, with design consultants Sweco, have won a tender for a new 10-year partnership to take forward an ambitious programme to modernise the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) research stations.

Commissioned by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), this new partnership provides the framework to deliver a wide range of sustainable construction projects. Over the next decade, projects could 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.

RRS James Clark Ross moored at new Rothera Wharf
The AIMP partnership, with BAM, Ramboll and Sweco, completed the new Rothera Wharf for the RRS Sir David Attenborough last season (RRS James Clark Ross shown in this picture)

Professor Dame Jane Francis, Director of British Antarctic Survey said:

“Building on the successful delivery of new wharves to support the RRS Sir David Attenborough, and existing project to deliver a new science operations facility at Rothera Research Station, our ambition is to continue to replace ageing buildings with modern, highly insulated and energy-efficient infrastructure. It is our world-leading research that underlines the urgency to cut the emission of greenhouse gases and we are rising to the challenge. We will move away from our reliance on carbon fossil fuels to sustain our Antarctic buildings, and aim to scale-up our use of renewable energy sources.

“A blueprint or ‘masterplan’ to rationalise our Antarctic infrastructure and significantly reduce our carbon emissions will shortly be completed with technical advisors Ramboll. 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 by 2040 if not before.”

Photo of the Discovery Building footprint and NBH at Rothera
The BAM, Ramboll and Sweco construction team with the completed perimeter wall for the Discovery Building at Rothera Research Station in March 2021

Adrian Savory, Chief Executive of BAM Nuttall said: “We’re delighted BAM Nuttall has been awarded the opportunity to continue collaborating on this world-leading modernisation programme. The partnership with clients UKRI-NERC, and construction partners, BAM, Sweco, Ramboll, and a range of innovative suppliers, is an exciting one.

We’re looking forward to combining our expertise, and using the strength of our shared values, to deliver outstanding solutions. We will continue to maximise digital technologies and modularisation to support safe, predictable and sustainable outcomes, achieving BAS’s goal to decarbonise research operations in Antarctica.”

Photo of football match at Rothera Research Station
Annual BAM vs BAS football match at Rothera Research Station

Max Joy, President of Sweco UK said: “We’re exceptionally proud to be continuing our work in Antarctica and applying our expertise in cold climate construction to support this critical project. The progress highlights the strength of our partnership and our combined skillsets have enabled the creation of a true polar centre of excellence.

The team has championed sustainable practices at every stage of the project and introduced world-class, energy efficiency solutions across the polar research facilities at Rothera. We will continue to push the boundaries of engineering, construction and design through the next stage, which we hope will inspire the next generation of engineers.”

A group of people standing on top of a snow covered mountain.
AIMP Construction team and BAS summer station team departing King Edward Point after completing the new wharf in 2020. Credit: Alan Roper

This is the second successful bid involving BAM and Sweco for a partnership contract with UKRI organisations NERC and BAS within Antarctica. The Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP) includes construction lead BAM, their designers Sweco and technical advisors Ramboll; it began in 2017 with the construction of a new jetty and buildings at Bird Island. Successes for the programme also include two new wharves at King Edward Point in South Georgia and at Rothera to berth the RRS Sir David Attenborough. Groundworks for a new scientific support facility at Rothera were recently completed this month.

Construction in Antarctica is extremely challenging, all materials need to be shipped from the UK and the planning process needs to be meticulously planned to account for every nut and bolt as the nearest builders’ merchant is thousands of miles away.

Billesborg Moored Up at KEP Wharf
8 May 2020: MV Billesborg is one of the first ships to moor at the new King Edward Point Wharf by the AIMP partnership. Credit: Bav Sasikandarajah

Read more about the current Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP). The programme aims to keep the UK at the forefront of climate, biodiversity and ocean research.

About BAM Nuttall

Along with BAM Construct in the UK, and BAM Contractors in Ireland, is part of the Royal BAM Group. BAM delivers exceptional engineering, design, construction, property management, and investment services. The Group turnover £7billion annually, listed on Euronext, Amsterdam.

BAM Nuttall, employing approx. 3000 people, has a worldwide reputation for collaborating with clients, creating sustainable environments that enhance people’s lives. Our projects span the UK, and we’re involved in international partnerships including Africa, Australia and Antarctica. BAM people capitalise their knowledge, across multiple sectors including rail, marine, tunnelling, highways, energy, and water – using state-of-the-art resources and digital technologies to provide innovative solutions. www.bamnuttall.co.uk/

About Sweco

Sweco plans and designs the sustainable communities and cities of the future. Together with our clients and the collective knowledge of our 17,500 architects, engineers and other specialists, we co-create solutions to address urbanisation, capture the power of digitalisation, and make our societies more sustainable. Sweco is Europe’s leading engineering and architecture consultancy, with sales of approximately SEK 21 billion (EUR 2 billion). The company is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. In the UK and Ireland, Sweco offers engineering, design and regulatory services. www.sweco.co.uk