Construction team arrives at British Antarctic base to work through polar winter

An aerial view of Rothera Research Station (BAM)
Over 100 people have flown to the British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Research Station to undertake construction work.

The “construction season” at the base usually ends in spring, but in a first, a team of eight will stay there between May and November, facing 24-hour darkness and harsh polar weather.

Workers will undertake mechanical and electrical installation and internal fit-out at the science and operations facility, also known as the discovery building. They will also install windows, complete flashings and finalise the cross-site utility works.

Resurfacing work will be carried out on Rothera’s runway, which has not been in operation for over 30 years; this is due to be completed by the spring.

Elen Jones, the survey’s infrastructure modernisation director, said: “We are continually upgrading and improving our infrastructure at Rothera to make sure the valuable and vital scientific research and support in this critical region can continue for the next generation.

“For the first time during the modernisation programme, some members of our team will be wintering at Rothera; experiencing something that very few people in the world can say that they have done.”

In April 2023, the team working at the station managed to make a new research building weathertight before the onset of blizzard conditions.

Work on the station is carried out by engineers from contractor BAM, technical adviser Ramboll and designer Sweco, which in 2021 won a decade-long contract to continue work at the site.

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