|23-04-2012||Safe and sound conclusion to KAEFER's Antarctic mission 2011/12||[Headquarters]|
|The Indian research station Bharati enters service following a construction time of five months – all 48 members of the KAEFER Construction team back home safely from the ice sheet|
Bremen, 23/04/2012. We've done it! After a construction phase that lasted a good five months the new Indian research station Bharati is now up and standing in the eastern Antarctic. It was an extraordinary performance by the 48 members of the KAEFER team who built the station on the Larsemannn Hills under extreme climatic and environmental conditions. The polar station went into service for the researchers of the Indian National Centre of Antarctic and Ocean Research on schedule – at the start of the Antarctic winter.
"It's not every day that we have such exciting and challenging projects as Bharati", says Sabine Manig, managing director of KAEFER Construction GmbH. "We have built one of the most modern and energy efficient polar stations in the Antarctic in a place where there was nothing but snow, ice and rock before. That makes us very proud." The futuristic looking polar station is 50m long, 30m wide, 12m high and was built on two metre high steel stilts. Working from draft plans, KAEFER was responsible for the structural design, detailed planning, construction, façade and the complete outfitting of the station, including furnishing the living accommodation and work areas. Then the partially prefabricated modules had to be assembled within a narrow time window during the Antarctic summer.
The project was a major challenge in all respects. Just twelve months elapsed between receiving the contract and bringing it into service. In this time all the 134 containers that make up the station had to be equipped and some pre-assembled at the port of Duisburg, before being shipped via Antwerp and Cape Town to the Antarctic. Everything from the crane to the smallest screw had to be transported to the Antarctic. Nothing was allowed to go missing in the 200 containers or on site, because sending another delivery later on in the building phase was impossible.
The station operates like an autonomous town, but at some 2,000m² and with a maximum of 50 inhabitants it is smaller than most. It has its own electricity and fresh water supply as well as a wastewater treatment plant. Three combined heat and power units ensure temperatures stay pleasant even when a snow storm is raging outside. The CHP plants are fired by kerosene, the only source of energy in this part of the world.
The real construction work on Bharati began in November, at the start of the Antarctic summer. The ice at the coast was still too thick for the icebreaker however, and the first containers had to be flown by helicopter some 50 kilometres to the mainland. Only later could the Arctic Ocean freighter sail right up to the coast. Then the summer lived up to its name and the weather remained stable at a balmy 5°C for the entire building and completion phase.
For the KAEFER team five months in the Antarctic represented a difficult but fascinating assignment. They built one of the most modern research stations in the previously uninhabited Larsemann HiIls, living and working together in a very restricted space within one of the largest expanses of emptiness on the planet. They were observed by numerous penguins, ate roast suckling pig on New Year's Eve and bathed in the sea at 6°C on New Year's Day. The project work with the Indian colleagues was an especially interesting and valuable experience for everyone. "We were just a big team, working together on this unique project as partners", was how the KAEFER team summed it up on their return from the Antarctic.
"Bharati was an exceptional project management task. We are very proud of what our team achieved in such a short time and are glad that they are all back from the Antarctic in good health", says Manig. "Now it's time for the internal project analysis, to ensure we learn as much as possible from the experience. We are already looking forward to the next Antarctic challenge."
KAEFER is the world’s largest provider of complete insulation solutions. In 2011 KAEFER generated revenues of €1.3 billion. KAEFER’s core business is carried out in its Industry, Offshore, Shipbuilding and Construction divisions. Headquartered in Bremen, the company has operations in over 50 countries, a current workforce of more than 18,000 and is led by Peter Hoedemaker (Chairman of the Group Executive Committee).