Antarctica’s ‘cool’ new redevelopment

Antarctica New Zealand is delighted to announce Leighs Construction Limited has been selected as the preferred main contractor for the Scott Base Redevelopment project.




New Zealand owned and operated construction firm Leighs was one of five construction companies to travel to Scott Base in February 2020, with each firm submitting proposals for the multi-million-dollar project that will see the existing base replaced with three interconnected buildings.

Antarctica New Zealand CEO Sarah Williamson says identifying a preferred main contractor and working with them through the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) stage means the Scott Base Redevelopment project is primed and ready to go.

“The company showed a passion for remote and challenging building projects, and brought a depth of experience with complex construction projects, having built hospitals, prisons, embassies, power stations and many other complex commercial and industrial buildings,” Sarah says.

“Following final Cabinet approval and full funding, the project would generate around 450 jobs in New Zealand for the first two and a half years.”

Senior Project Manager Simon Shelton says to get a construction company on board is a significant milestone for the project, putting the redevelopment ahead of schedule and well-positioned for success.

“The project is progressing through the developed design phase, this is where we refine how the building systems function, develop the interior design, confirm the means of logistics and how the base would be built,” Simon says.

“The preferred action plan is to pre-construct all buildings in New Zealand and ship them to Antarctica in large modular sections.”

Leighs Construction Ltd Managing Director Anthony Leighs says the company has a tremendous sense of pride and excitement to be selected by Antarctica New Zealand to join the team to build the new Scott Base.

“Having been involved in constructing buildings and structures on the ice since 2004, the opportunity to continue and enhance our working relationship with Antarctica New Zealand is fantastic, as we strive to be one of the leading constructors of complex vertical infrastructure projects for the New Zealand Government,” he says.

“The Scott Base Redevelopment is one of the most technically challenging building projects seen in New Zealand for some years. Leighs Construction is really looking forward to joining the team, and collectively delivering what we believe will be an extraordinary undertaking and incredible construction project.”

Over the next 12 months, the $18.5 million committed in Budget 2019 will be used to complete the developed design of the new Scott Base.

Identifying a main contractor is part of this phase. The main contractor will work with Antarctica New Zealand and the design team on how best to deliver the project.

The redevelopment includes replacing the existing base – built in the early 1980s and made up of 12 separate buildings – by a safe, fit-for-purpose and sustainable scientific research base.


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