Work will commence this season on Scott Base's new heated field store. The building will house both field and base supplies, with preparation areas for science programmes, cargo processing and general storage.
Peter Brookman, Facilities Engineer and Project Manager of Antarctic NZ said "Currently Scott Base staff work in temps as low as -45C in an aircraft hangar built in 1960." The new store will have a controlled internal temperature of c. 20C.
The store will have two storeys, with a total area of 1800 square metres, and will be built at a cost of NZ$4.6 million. The main building element is a structural steel frame enclosed within an insulated panel exterior envelope, all fixed onto precast concrete foundations. Each of the 105 foundations will be pinned to the ground by a steel rod inserted into a 2m hole drilled into the permafrost. Each hole will be filled with water, so that the building will be frozen to the substrate.
The building programme has been awarded to Leighs Construction, established in 1998, which specialises in commercial buildings. The company has twice won the Registered Master Builders award for projects under 1 million, and Anthony Leighs, Managing Director, won the New Zealand Institute of Building Young Achiever of the Year Award in 2002.
This is the first Scott Base building programme to be awarded to the private sector. All previous construction has been done by the New Zealand military. The foundations for the store will be laid in Feb 2004 with the balance of the work being carried out during the 2004-2005 season. Up to 18 construction staff will work on site, with a number wintering over to complete electrical, mechanical and fire protection systems.
During late November 2003 Leighs Construction had a trial assembly of part of the store to ensure there would be no problems before the material is shipped south early next year.