Hillary Field Centre
Stage 1 Summer 2014/15 & Winter 2015
The main component of Stage 1 of the HFC refurbishment project was the internal refurbishment of the HFC to provide purpose built laboratory space and an improved event preparation area on the ground floor level and office space for scientists and technicians on the first floor level. In addition to the internal refurbishment of the HFC, there were two interdependent projects to complete including, the refurbishment of the Hangar, and the provision of temporary storage for food and Armed Forces Canteen Council (AFCC) stock in the form of five insulated and refrigerated containers on a steel frames.
Procurement was carried out over the months of August – December 2014 and a total of twenty two 20’ shipping containers were sent to Scott Base for the project a late January 2016. The team of tradesmen deployed and arrived January 16, 2015 and the project was completed six weeks ahead of schedule with all staff returning to Christchurch on 13 October, 2015.
Stage 2 Summer 2015/16 & Winter 2016
A drilling rig was flown south in November 2015 in a USAF C17 aircraft for drill, blast and cut earthworks. As the ground is frozen (known as permafrost), the only means of excavation is to blast and remove the fragmented material.
On arrival of the ship late January, all pre-cast concrete, a crane, steel frames and building materials within 40 containers were offloaded. The pre-cast concrete foundations shipped down were positioned with tie rods drilled 2m into the permafrost. Excavated material was backfilled. By mid-February 2016, all steel work frame and precast floor panels of both porches was erected, followed by complete enclosure by early March - before the approaching Antarctic winter and constant darkness.
The construction team of eight returned to New Zealand on April 8, 2016 after a successful construction period where they completed all programmed work and approximately two weeks of the work scheduled for winfly (August winter flight)
The team headed back down in August 2016, completing the northern warm porch and container doc for the 2016/17 science season, returning to New Zealand in early November. Antarctica New Zealand’s own staff continued with further minor fit out throughout the remainder of the summer season. The facilities were welcomed by the science community, making full use during the past 16/17 Antarctic season.
Geotechnical investigations and anchor testing (October 2015)
Engineering geological and geotechnical evaluations were undertaken by Golder Associates. The scope of work covered:
- Reviewing existing geotechnical, geological and topographical data in the vicinity of the site
- Conducting a geotechnical exploration programme comprising nine boreholes and four pull out tests
- Installation of three thermistor arrays
Nine drill holes were undertaken at Scott Base using a compressed air flushed cored drilling technique (i.e. no drilling fluid introduced) which recovered rock core samples 55mm in diameter. Three boreholes were 10m in depth and a further six were approximately 3m in depth. The cores were logged and the geology described.
Four of the boreholes were used to test different anchor materials to determine foundation resistance to wind uplift at Scott Base for any future building at this site. A 20mm diameter steel bar was installed to a depth of 2m within the borehole. Each hole was backfilled with sand and two different anchor materials were tested including sand and water, and a bentonite slurry.
In three of the boreholes, thermistors (temperature probes) were installed to measure variability of temperature within the ground through the year to assist in determine which layer of the ground may be affected by freeze thaw changes. The boreholes were backfilled using graded sand, with the top capped with bentonite powder.
The results were used to inform the installation of the foundations for the warm porch and will be used to inform any future building works to Scott Base.