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Could Antarctica be your next build location?

15 August 2019

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Could Antarctica be your next build location?

Antarctica New Zealand is on the lookout for a new contractor to redevelop a science research station in the world’s southernmost continent.

The Scott Base Redevelopment is an ambitious eight to 10-year programme to construct a safe, fit-for-purpose, environmentally-sustainable science research station that will enable New Zealand’s commitment to support high-quality scientific research in Antarctica for the next 40 years.

The redevelopment programme for the base recently received funding for the next stage of work – engaging with the construction market to develop the design and running a procurement process for a main contractor.

Challenges of the base design

The new base is a self-sustaining facility comprised of three interconnected buildings.

These two-storey buildings are designed to meet the unique constraints that building in Antarctica poses while supporting world-leading science. Constraints include temperature extremes with an annual low of -50°C, coupled with very high winds, extremely low humidity and a four-month summer season.

The Scott Base is on a remote location at Ross Island, which is accessed by supply ship once a year with the help of an icebreaker. Flights from New Zealand also provide logistic support through the summer season.

These logistics challenges mean that the design needs to be a regular structure with aspects of modular design with a high degree of resilience.

The sloping nature of the site also means that snow drifting needs to be carefully considered, which also lends the building design to be elevated off the ground. Snow modelling has been used to model snow drifting for the design, and final wind pressures on the building will be verified by wind tunnel tests.

After the design development phase, implementation funding will be sought.

How to get involved

Antarctica New Zealand is undertaking a period of market engagement to raise awareness ahead of a formal procurement process, expected in autumn 2019


A small number of successful organisations can expect to work with Antarctica New Zealand from late 2019 for about 18 months to ensure greater certainty of expected build costs and project duration.

The main contractor will be selected at the end of this process once implementation funding is approved.

Industry engagement days - more info

Industry day engagements have already taken place in the USA and Europe.

There will be further sessions in Australia and New Zealand in early September and then some webinars.

The meetings will be one-to-ones lasting between 30 minutes and one hour to provide more information about the project and gauge interest in participating in our procurement process.

There will be limited places which must be pre-arranged – please contact [email protected] to reserve an engagement slot.

More information on the project, with the linked Cabinet Paper and Detailed Business Case can be found here.

  • Anh Nguyen, content strategy manager at ICE