Mabey Hire supports modernisation of British Antarctic research station

Bespoke environmental monitoring and engineering expertise supports BAM on one of the most remote and extreme construction sites in the world.

Leading engineering services specialist and experts in environmental monitoring solutions, Mabey Hire, today announced its role in the modernisation of the Rothera Research Station – the largest of British Antarctic Survey’s research facilities, situated on the Antarctic Peninsula.

To mitigate the environmental impact of this ambitious modernisation programme, Mabey Hire has supplied bespoke EnviroGuard monitoring systems capable of measuring noise and vibrations, even at extremely low temperatures.

Construction of a new wharf at Rothera started in November 2018 and is due for completion in May 2020. Once complete, this bigger and deeper wharf will accommodate Britain’s newly-built RRS Sir David Attenborough, one of the most advanced research vessels in the world.

Antarctica is one of the last wildernesses on earth; to protect its unique landscapes and  ecosystems (both on land and at sea), all activity on the continent must adhere to strict environmental standards under the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. Therefore, the dismantling and rebuilding work must be carried out in a way that prevents damage to the local environment. To help BAM Nuttall and BAM International JV (BAM) comply with these stringent environmental regulations and monitor the impact of construction noise and vibration, Mabey Hire has supplied a set of bespoke EnviroGuard solutions for the two-year programme.

Mabey Hire’s monitoring solution has been tailored to operate in extreme Antarctic temperatures (as low as -15c), and incorporates a heating system, so that the equipment never reaches such lows. To monitor and protect any marine mammals near the construction site, Mabey Hire has also developed a waterproof hydrophone (underwater listening device) located 100m offshore and connected to the onshore EnviroGuard. Using Mabey Hire’s equipment, BAM can pause construction work if marine mammals are detected in the vicinity of the works.

Mabey Hire delivered its bespoke solution to ensure BAM could include this fundamental equipment within its 4,000 tonnes equipment and materials shipment to Antarctica.

Neil Goulding, BAM Environmental Lead, comments: "This project presents many unique challenges, including our environmental monitoring. Acting as a responsible partner, delivering innovative and sustainable solutions for our customers and with our partners, has shaped who we are. Mabey Hire’s team of engineers have worked closely with BAM to provide a bespoke monitoring system capable of overcoming these challenges and supplying the required data in a simple and easy to use format."

Gordon MacDonald, CEO, Mabey Hire, comments: "Being involved in such a prestigious project is testament to the work our engineers do to deliver bespoke and efficient solutions that both respond to and protect the environment in question. Working in conditions like this is a first for us, but we’ve embraced the challenge and worked closely with the team at BAM to deliver a truly unique environmental monitoring solution."

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