British Antarctic Survey

Ramboll. RRS Sir David Attenborough. Image courtesy of British Antarctic Survey

Ramboll. RRS Sir David Attenborough. Image courtesy of British Antarctic Survey


Dave Grove. Ramboll

Dave Grove

Director, Project Management
T: +44 7841 498 236

Appointed by NERC as Technical Advisors to BAS (British Antarctic Survey), Ramboll is providing specialist engineering and consultancy services for seven years. Delivering a host of projects within the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP), BAS and its Technical Advisors (including NORR Architects and Turner & Townsend) are preparing for one of the world’s most advanced Polar research ships - the RRS Sir David Attenborough.

The new ship; commissioned by NERC, built by Cammell Laird, and operated by BAS, will ensure UK polar scientists remain at the forefront of climate and ocean research. Government investment in the new ship includes funding for a series of projects to improve and modernise Antarctic research stations and infrastructure.

Some of the work that Ramboll is undertaking includes technical research and design to develop options for the replacement or upgrade of existing wharf and jetties at BAS Antarctic and subantarctic research stations. This will enable safe and efficient berthing of the new ship and its cargo tender. Alongside the wharf works, is the detailed design for redevelopment of Rothera, King Edward Point and Bird Island research stations. In addition to these main works, BAS is drawing upon Ramboll’s breadth of expertise to carry out works in relation to, energy efficiency initiatives, modelling, environmental impact assessment support, facilities management and a sustainability strategy (including CEEQUAL and BREEAM assessments).

Rothera Research Station, UK hub for frontier science

The largest BAS research facility; Rothera Research Station supports a wide range of BAS, UK and international collaborative science programmes.

Redevelopment of the research station includes a new wharf necessary to accommodate the new RRS Sir David Attenborough, which at 128m long, is up to 30m longer than existing vessels. To maximise the RRS Sir David Attenborough’s time undertaking research cruises, the new wharf has been designed to reduce manual handling and cargo loading/unloading time. The first stage of the new wharf construction commences in December 2018. 

In addition, the buildings at Rothera are either nearing or past their design life, increasing operational costs.  To deliver the best long-term solution for the station, Ramboll has created a new masterplan and assessment study. This includes several new buildings, and site wide services to reduce operating costs and keep Rothera fit-for-purpose to facilitate world leading research for at least the next 25 years. The masterplan includes a site wide energy strategy that includes solutions from Ramboll’s innovative energy modelling tool. It provides BAS with the best solution to reduce their fuel consumption by over 35% following a digital evaluation of over 5 million scenarios.

Initial ground investigations were undertaken by Ramboll and construction partners BAM in February 2018, in preparation for the redevelopment programme that will take place in 2019. Find out more about more about work at Rothera.

Bird Island - The first research station completed under the AIMP

Construction at Bird Island was undertaken in 2018 and was the first BAS Research Station to be completed. A short and intense 17-week construction period to minimise impact on science projects and the local wildlife concluded many months of meticulous preparation and planning.

The infrastructure modernisation at Bird Island included an extension to the jetty to accommodate the new ship’s cargo tender and a new increased capacity storage facility. The storage facility was designed and constructed using pre-fabricated elements where possible. This compressed the build programme and provided increased programme surety. Ramboll also undertook a review of operational efficiency and site wide energy efficiency measures, resulting in improved energy and waste management and easier recycling and re-use. Find out more about the work undertaken at Bird Island.

King Edward Point

Owned by the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and operated by BAS this facility provides critical research to support sustainable fishing in this important location in the Southern Ocean.
A new jetty is being designed to accommodate the new ship alongside a review of the biosecurity and storage buildings. Construction of the new wharf gets underway, in the 2019/20 austral summer.


Halley VI

The BAS Halley Research Station is an internationally important platform for global earth, atmospheric and space weather observation in a climate sensitive zone.

Located on the Brunt Ice Shelf, the station was located downstream of a crack that could of eventually cut the station off from the rest of the ice shelf. An operation to relocate Halley Research Station further upstream of the crack was therefore undertaken between December 2016 and February 2017, where Ramboll provided specialist advice on the relocation.

Ben Rowe, Structural Engineering Director at Ramboll joined the operation on site to relocate Halley. He provided structural advice for the operation and contributed to the project’s overall management and supported the Station Leader and the project team on other work required during the move.

More about the successful relocation of Halley.

Working in the world’s most harsh climate

Our Technical Advisor role presents various engineering challenges given the Antarctic continent is the coldest, driest, highest and windiest on the planet, and the construction season usually only runs from December through to March. The multidisciplinary team at Ramboll is carrying out surveys and onsite support in the world’s most harsh climate with temperatures ranging from 5oC to -60oC.  


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