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We are building in Antarctica



We are proud to be partnering with Antarctica New Zealand as the preferred main contractor for the project. Originating in 1957 under the leadership of the legendary Sir Edmund Hillary to support the Trans-Antarctic Expedition, the old Base is no longer fit for purpose and will be replaced with a new custom-built facility to last at least another 50 years. Scott Base is Aotearoa New Zealand’s home on the ice, and the strategic hub for scientists from around the world to carry out important research.

Leighs has over 20 years of experience working in Antarctica and leading the way with specialised and innovative solutions for the unique challenges of building in Antarctica. The construction methodology is a first for Antarctica, with the new base being completed and commissioned in Timaru prior to being shipped on a large module-carrying ship to its new location just up the hill from the existing base. This is a Green Star project, with sustainability principles driving the design and build of this project. Read the full sustainability report here.

The construction of Scott Base is a once in a generation project. 

The Base will consist of 3 interconnected buildings, essentially the equivalent of a small ‘self-sufficient town’ with all services and infrastructure protected from the polar climate by a highly insulated envelope.

This unique solution has been designed to withstand transportation in challenging seas and harsh Antarctic build conditions. When completed it will facilitate world-leading science, with improved efficiencies. The project includes an upgrade to the adjacent wind farm increasing renewable energy generation to three times the current output.

  • Power generation - wind turbines plus diesel generation

  • Portable water generation using reverse osmosis i.e. salt water to fresh water

  • Wastewater treatment plant

  • Waste processing & recycling

  • Climate control

  • Plant rooms

  • Full workshops for carpentry, electrical and engineering maintenance

  • Full heavy plant workshop

Accomodation and Wellbeing Facilities include:
  • Full commercial kitchen & dining room

  • Bar and living spaces

  • Accomodation for up to 100 people (current base has 86 beds)

  • Ablutions and Commercial Laundry

  • Movie room, lecture rooms and library

  • Climbing wall and gym

  • Medical & first aid room

Science and Management:
  • Laboratory spaces

  • Field preparation areas

  • Emergency management centre

All living and working spaces will be joined with linkways, meaning life and work can continue regardless of the weather outside.

A particularly interesting phase of the on-ice work will be the over-winter commissioning works once the building has arrived in Antarctica. This will need a range of trades to remove the large amount of internal bracing required for the ocean voyage and complete wall and floor sections where the braces were located.

Winter-over work will be carried out from March 2027 – October 2027, this includes four months of total darkness and temperatures as low as -50 degrees C. Of course, those who put their hand up for work in Timaru may have a better chance of working on the ice!

Antarctica based works start this summer with a small team working on site clearance and demolition of an external hangar building.

The three summer seasons (23/24, 24/25, 26/27) will require a relatively small team (5-10) of hardy individuals to assist with site preparation works which include:

  • Retaining wall construction

  • Pile installation

  • Wharf construction

  • Water intake and wastewater outfall construction

  • Service stanchion installation

  • Wind farm foundation construction

Construction over two locations, Prime Port Timaru and Antarctica

There are multiple opportunities to be a part of this project. We are looking for staff to work in both Antarctica and Timaru. Timaru opportunities include site management to hammer hand and everything in between.


Bring your skills to this legacy project

Take a tour through the new base

​There are three main buildings all joined with linkways meaning life and work can continue regardless of the weather outside.

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