Archive for the 'Construction' Category

Winter 2011

The return of the sun at Halley has allowed the wintering team to visit the site and perform an inspection.

Looking from the North Halley VI from its north end - photo James Goby/BAS

West looking NorthThe west side looking north - photo James Goby/BAS

The buildings are unoccupied and unheated and have therefore built up a layer of hoar frost which conceals their colour.

The east sideThe east side looking north - photo James Goby/BAS

Looking under the modules to the southLooking under the modules to the south - photo James Goby/BAS

The modules are survived the harsh Antarctic winter with no problems, and the aerodynamics have worked as designed to keep the snow off the skis.

Link | Posted by Mike in Construction on August 19th, 2011

10/11 Season - Construction and the BIG move

The aims of this season were to tow all of the modules to the Halley VI site link them up and raise them to their operational height, to test the generators and to complete as much as possible of the internals. As the images below show we successfully towed all of the modules to the Halley VI site, raised and linked them.

Z6 lineThe Halley VI modules at the Halley VI site

Z6 South EndBAS project manager, Karl Tuplin, at the south end of the modules

To get the modules to the new site BAS vehicle managers Martin Bell and Ben Norrish had to tow them 15km over a prepared ice track. It was an impressive sight seeing each blue module glide by at Halley V and the red module just dwarfed everything it passed.  At the Halley VI end it was incredible to see each one appear from the horizon gradually getting bigger and bigger then brought to a stop towering above us just a few feet from the next module. Then came the tricky part, manoeuvring the modules into position. When the modules stop moving their skis stick to the ice. So the BAS Project Manager, Karl Tuplin, used ancient technology “rollers” or in our case some short lengths of scaffold tube under each ski to prevent the “sticktion” and enable each module to be manoeuvred into position to an accuracy of 10mm.

Moving a blue module Moving the Red Module
A blue Module being towed to Halley VI The red module being towed to Halley VI

After several years of storage in freezing conditions Galliford Try were keen to test all the generators to make sure they still worked and to give confidence they will start next season when commissioning begins in earnest. All four generators were first checked by setting them up and dry firing them. Then they were tested and analysed under load. Thankfully they all passed with the minimal of works required.

Testing the GeneratorsGenerator number 4 being started for the first time

The rest of the construction  team were busy fitting out the internals of all the modules. This included installing the building services, constructing the walls, ceilings, floors and finishes. As you can see from the photos the rooms are really starting to take shape inside.

Upper Met The upper meteorology observation deck

Inside A Inside the red module

Link | Posted by Mike in Construction on May 26th, 2011

10/11 season - Module move to build site

Bad weather at the start of the 10/11 season delayed the arrival of the early input team by over two weeks. Therefore instead of a phased arrival of three flights over three consecutive weekends nearly 40 BAS and Galliford Try personnel descended on Halley as soon as the weather cleared. The work was still the same as the start of any year; flatten the wind tails, groom the construction areas and thoroughfares and build the temporary summer accommodations for us all to live in. The other main job was to dig out the modules and tow them to the new construction line. Last year we left two of the blue modules nose to nose long-side on to the wind. The purpose of this was so we could study the wind tails when we returned this year.

B1 B2 from the side B1 B2 from the end
Bedroom modules B1 and B2 from the side Bedroom modules B1 and B2 from the end

Having towed the blue modules last year we were confident we could move them relatively easily this year. So the main test for this early part of the season was the digging out and towing of the red module. We had carried out tests in the 06/07 Season and towed 166 tonnes so theoretically the red module should move quite easily weighing a mere 120 tonnes. However, it was still a nerve wracking time for Martin Bell our vehicles manager who planned and organised the move. Although there appears to be an awful lot of vehicles doing the towing these were mainly required to get the module moving and up the ramp. Once on the flat the two CAT Challengers could tow the module without assistance. Once on the construction line temporary power supplies could be connected to all the modules, lighting and heating switched on and construction could commence.

A in scoop
Module A at the end of the winter

Moving module A
Moving module A

Link | Posted by Mike in Construction on January 14th, 2011

09/10 Season Construction

The aim of this season was to get all of the blue modules clad as well as constructing and cladding the red module. This was no small feat for the construction  team to achieve considering we were at the mercy of the weather. The sequence for cladding the blue modules was to start in the middle underneath and work outwards and upwards. First the underbelly panels were fitted followed by the leg sections. The underbelly nose cones and walls were then installed followed by the roof supported on the walls. Finally the two huge nose cone panels would be fixed into place. This sequence was repeated on all seven blue modules often with two modules being worked on at once and taking about two weeks per module to complete.

First Panels Nose Panels
Fitting the first panels to a blue module Fitting the nose panels - photo S.Gill

The construction team had to start from scratch with the construction of the red module. The undercroft was delivered in eight prefabricated steel sections. Each had to be pieced together off the ground, keeping them flat and level whilst the hydraulic legs and skis were fitted. The next stage was to build the two storey steel frame fitting the first storey and second storey structural floor panels as they went. Once the frame was complete the cladding could begin. The process was similar to the blue modules starting in the centre underneath working outwards and upwards. The main difference was it was much larger and there were four big window lifts, the two main windows at the front and the two cockpit windows at the sides. Amazingly the module was constructed and weather tight in only seven weeks.

Starting the red module Half way
Fitting the first panels to the red module Wall panels fitted to the red module

Fitting the window panel
Fitting the large window panel to the red module

Link | Posted by Mike in Construction on March 20th, 2010

09/10 Season - Halley Relief

While the modules were being dug out and towed at Halley, all of the cladding panels and materials required to finish the build were being consolidated at the Cape Towndocks and loaded on to a large freighter the MV Igarka.Cargo for Igarka
Cargo consolidation in Capetown

In preparation for the Igarka’s arrival and our own BAS ship the RRS Ernest Shackleton, which had food, fuel and passengers on board, we found a creek with some suitable sea-ice in it, prepared a ramp and prepared and edge.

Creek from twin Otter aircraft
Relief creek viewed from a Twin Otter Aircraft

When each shipped arrived it was an all out effort to get them unloaded and keep the construction site going. At the finish we had completed in excess of 400 sledge rotations just emptying the Igarka and created over 4km of stores lines for the construction site.

unloading the ship
Unloading panels from the Igarka - photo Susanna Gaynor

Cargo unloading Cargo moveing
Moving cargo away from the ship - Susanna Gaynor
Moving cargo across the seaice - Susanna Gaynor

Through all this the local penguin population would look on with bemusement. We would often get a gang of teenage penguins, in various states of moult, waddle over and hang around the mooring lines watching us and mess about with the lines and dead-men anchors (just like teenagers the world over).Penguin watching the action
Young penguin watching the action

Both ships
RSS Shackleton with the MV Igarka behind

The way from ship to station
The route from the ship to Halley Station from the cab of a John Deere tractor

Link | Posted by Mike in Vehicles, Construction on January 12th, 2010

09/10 Season - Module Move

When the early input team arrived on site at the end of winter one of the first jobs was to flatten out all the wind tails in front of buildings and containers and in all other working areas. The snow surface for the construction site and the main thoroughfares was compacted and groomed to provide a hard and safe working surface for men and machines. Each of the modules was then dug out of their wintering positions. To do this a huge amount of snow was removed and battered back around each module to provide working space. A shallow ramp was also formed in front of each module to enable it to be towed out to its new position on the summer construction line. Before towing the clad module the jacking concept was first tested. To do this each leg had to be raised, a 1m high pile of snow pushed underneath and then the leg lowered on to the pile before repeating the process on the next leg. Once all four legs were sitting on piles of compacted snow (no mean feat for a building weighing approximately 60 tonnes) the module then used its hydraulics to raise itself to a full operating height of about 4m. This allowed a bulldozer to get underneath and level the snow surface all around the skis providing a working surface for the team to fit the towing frame. Once the towing frame was fitted the module was lowered and a CAT Challenger together with a bulldozer were hitched to the front. The module was towed slowly up the ramp to the construction line.

Blue module move start Blue module moving
Starting the move of the blue module Blue Module moving

The skis do stick to the ice but once this “sticktion” is broken the module moves very easily.  The same jacking and towing regime was followed for all of the tented modules. The only change in the process was the tent skirts had to be raised and secured to allow access to the skis. Once on the construction line the modules were ready for the next stage of construction.

Site in 09 10 season
Construction site 09/10 season

Link | Posted by Mike in Construction on December 10th, 2009

After Winter 2009

After their second winter the clad module and tented modules were left in large wind scoops. The scoops around the tents were over 3m deep in places with even bigger wind tails of snow accumulated behind. The landscape around Halley station was no longer flat! It is planned to jack each module up every year to keep them above the surface and out of the wind scoops, although computer modelling and a 1:50 scale model test in the 06/07 season suggested that the station could survive two years if necessary as the aerodynamics of the station would prevent it from burying. The scoop around the clad module, which has remained static for two winters, has validated the testing. In the final layout all the modules will be orientated long-side on to the prevailing wind to keep the size of the wind scoops and wind tails to a minimum. Even though the blue module was left nose-on to the wind the shape of the scoop indicates how the aerodynamics of the module have worked especially when compared with the tents.

Module in Scoop Tent in scoop
Blue module in its wind scoop Tented module in its wind scoop
Link | Posted by Mike in Construction on December 1st, 2009

Halley VI poised for a busy construction season

The contractor Morrison have successfully completed a trial build of the big red central module for the Halley VI Project.  It was an impressive sight in the suburbs of Cape Town, attracting a lot of attention including a visit from the British High Consulate. Once built the central module will be the largest enclosed space BAS has ever built at Halley providing a focus for social and recreational activities on the station.

Module A Trial Build
Module A Trial Build

Trial construction team
The Construction Team

The module has now been dismantled and along with all the blue cladding panels is being transported to the docks in Cape Town ready for loading on to the Russian cargo ship the M V Igarka in early December. The season is fast approaching with the first members of the BAS team departing for Halley in the last week of October. At its peak during relief there will be 120 people on station with construction continuing right up to the end of February. This is going to be a very busy and long season, but hopefully if the weather holds a very fruitful season with the cladding of the red and all the blue modules completed.

Cape Town Docks
Halley VI loads arriving at the Docks.

Even though the modules will not be towed to the Halley VI site until Nov/Dec 2011 work will commence this season to start compacting the haul route from Halley V to Halley VI, a distance of about 15km. BAS are collaborating with the Scot Polar Research Institute (SPRI) in a project sponsored by Lankelma to trial newly developed test equipment and interpretation techniques to verify bearing capacities of the compacted snow route. Lankelma and SPRI have modified traditional Cone Penetrating Testing equipment, normally used for geotechnical surveys on UK construction sites, for use on polar snow. This should be a very interesting trial which if successful will aid the design and construction of future infrastructure works not only at Halley but at other polar stations. Further information is on the Lankelma web site .

Link | Posted by Mike in Construction on October 27th, 2009

Halley VI Progress Update

It’s been a long time since the last update, so we thought it’s about time to post some more photos of progress on the project. The clad module and tents survived the winter intact, and progress continues to be made with the remaining cladding panels in Cape Town.

The module and tent after winter
The module and tents after their first winter.

The focus has now shifted to producing the panels for the red central module, and consolidating the panels ready for shipment down to Halley. Here are some photos of the finished panels in Cape Town.

Leg panels lined up ready for packing in Cape Town
Leg panels lined up ready for packing in Cape Town

The large nose cone panels stacked ready for shipping.
The large nose cone panels stacked ready for shipping.

Leg panels for the central module coming off the production line.
Leg panels for the central module coming off the production line.

A trial build of the central module is due to start in Cape Town in July. This will give time to solve any minor issues with the panels and to give the construction team experience of what is involved in less difficult conditions than they will face on the ice shelf.

Next season construction will focus on cladding the remaining blue modules, plus building the steelwork for the large central module. By the end of next season we expect the station to really start to take shape.

Link | Posted by Simon in Construction on April 22nd, 2009

Halley VI in winter

Here’s a picture of the completed module now that winter has started to set in:

Module in winter
One of the Halley VI modules with aurora in the background. Photo by Richard Burt.

Link | Posted by Simon in Construction on May 27th, 2008