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Contractors World 2010 Volume 1 Issue 8
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Construction Halley VI Research Station in extreme conditions

As tough and demanding as construction projects can be, there will be few managers that have to manage the extremes thrown up by trying to implement a building project in the Antarctic. Galliford Try International is nearing completion in erecting a new, relocatable modular structure for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

Constructing Halley VI Research Station in extreme conditions

Apart from the extreme weather conditions, the construction window in the Antarctic is just 3 months during which time men, materials, supplies and equipment has to be delivered to the site or prepared. At least there is 24 hours of daylight, so that is one consideration less.

Equipment such as Tadano Mantis crawler telescopic cranes and Genie articulated boom access platforms had to be specially adapted to the extrme conditions.    However, the Antarctica weather is difficult to forecast and even in midsummer, the mean temperature is -15 to -35º C excluding wind chill which can take it down a further 10º. Even at mean level, for that part of the world, it is very mild when you consider that severe storms can cause sudden extreme drops in temperature and total whiteout. In winter, mean temperature is -40 to -70°C.

Equipment such as Tadano Mantis crawler telescopic cranes and Genie articulated boom access platforms had to be specially adapted to the extrme conditions.

However, for research to continue, some construction work is necessary and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is currently having a new facility, called the Halley VI station, built. In the past, structures were permanent meaning that they were over time either covered by freezing snow, or pushed with the ice flow towards the edge of the sea.

The last structure for BAS was erected on hydraulic jack legs so each season it could be raised above the new snow line. However, this did not overcome the gradual shift towards the seas.






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