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


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, detailed design for redevelopment of Rothera, Signy, King Edward Point and Bird Island research stations is also underway. In addition to these main works, BAS is drawing upon Ramboll’s breadth of expertise to carry out works in relation to logistical studies, energy efficiency initiatives, modelling, environmental impact assessment support, facilities management and sustainability (including CEEQUAL and BREEAM assessments).

Rothera Research Station

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 buildings and a new quay wall necessary to accommodate the new RRS Sir David Attenborough. At 129m long the new ship is 49m longer then the RRS Ernest Shackleton.

In addition, the majority of the buildings at Rothera are past their design life and will be replaced, including operations buildings, hangar, marine facility and accommodation block, as well as the site-wide infrastructure.

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.


Signy Research Station is operational for six months of the year, November to April. Each year, upon arrival, the station’s scientists and base personnel set up camp in time for the Austral summer to undertake their vital biodiversity research.

A full masterplan for the research station is under assessment, which will include the extension of Signy’s jetty to accommodate the new cargo tender and new buildings to replace buildings past their design life, improve station life, energy efficiency and speed up the annual recommissioning time when it is re-opened each Austral summer.

Bird Island

Likely to be the first buildings project to be completed, the work at Bird Island is to increase storage capacity, due to potentially fewer visits from the Ship. During this process Ramboll is also reviewing operational efficiency and site wide energy efficiency measures, such as heat recovery. The redevelopment also includes a new jetty to accommodate the new cargo tender in 2019.

Logistics study

The introduction of RRS Sir David Attenborough will have significant impact upon the existing logistical operations. Due to the reduction from two vessels to one, Ramboll is carrying out works to ensure science days at sea and logistical support are maintained. The study examines increased storage at stations and improved efficiencies in shipping operations. Ramboll’s logistics and environmental consultants and transport and marine engineers are undertaking feasibility studies to examine the opportunities for optimisation in key links of this chain, between Cambridge, the Arctic stations and the southern hubs. 

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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