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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

to cope.

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

load-bearing capacity.

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.


Photo: Hogweard

Meeting the


of Extreme


Page 13

Contractors World International Vol 6 No 4