Contractors are often required to work in
the most demanding of situations. These
may be coping with complex logistical prob-
lems in managing sites in major cities.
However, the most demanding are those
projects in remote parts of the world
where, apart from the logistics, there are of-
ten extreme weather conditions with which
Before the scientists move in, someone has
to build the facilities such as this Halley VI
research station in Antarctica..
Following are case studies of demanding
projects. Within this issue is also an article
on installing new cable car stations which,
by their very nature, being on top of a
mountain, are remote and challenging.
Outrigger Pads for Innovative Research Facility
Scientists at a renowned Antarctic research facility are us-
ing spreader plates designed for the construction industry
to stay one step ahead of the snow.
Outrigger pads – also known as spreader plates – are
commonly inserted under the hydraulic stabilisers of mo-
bile cranes, powered access and other plant equipment,
to help disperse ground pressure and improve stability.
They are now also supporting researchers for the British
Antarctic Survey (BAS), in the Halley VI Research Station.
Halley VI is the first fully re-locatable research station
in the world. The state-of-the-art facility is segmented into
eight modules raised on hydraulic legs. These legs can be
individually raised to overcome the accumulation of snow,
preventing the station from being buried.
The legs are all fitted with giant skis, so the team can
tow each module using a bulldozer, enabling Halley VI to
be relocated as required. Snow levels rise by over 1 metre
every year. Temperatures drop to -56° C and the site can
be buffeted by winds in excess of 100 mph.
UK company, Outriggerpads, rose to the challenge of
supporting Halley VI by creating a bespoke product spe-
cifically designed for the research station. The 1200 mm
x 1000 mm x 40 mm pads weigh only 46 kg each, mak-
ing them easy to manually position, yet have a 30,000 kg
BAS took delivery of the pads – each also stamped
with a unique ID number – earlier this year.
Manufactured from UHMW polyethylene, the material
does not splinter and has a very high resistance to verti-
cal pressure, meaning the pads adapt to the contours of
uneven terrain while still retaining their shape.
The material is also completely waterproof which sig-
nificantly extends the products’ working life compared to
spreader plates made of wood or metal.
Contractors World International Vol 6 No 4