Client: Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
Funder: Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
Contractor: Department of Public Works
Project Location: Marion Island
Project Value: R120 million (civil services R6 million)
Services: Planning, design, documentation & construction monitoring
Project Period: Dec 2001 - 2006

Marion Island has played an important role to South Africa since 1947 in terms of scientific research and as a weather station.

Due to the harsh environment on the island the current research base and facilities require increased maintenance. Current facilities have deteriorated to such an extent that it impacts on the safety of the year team and annual visit of the scientists. The increasing maintenance, together with the increased importance in terms of research, has necessitated the replacement of the current facilities as a matter of priority.

Infraburo has been appointed by the Client as a member of a multi disciplinary professional team to plan, design and supervise the construction of a completely new and modern research base on the island.

The first phase of the project has recently been completed, which entailed the conceptual planning of the new base in terms of the clients terms of reference and design brief. Infraburo has been responsible for the conceptual planning of the bulk water supply (source, conveyance from source to base and storage at base), internal water and sewer reticulation, sewage disposal and polar diesel storage and distribution. In order to accurately assess the situation, a one month site visit was undertaken during the annual take-over in April 2002 by selected members of the multi-disciplinary team, consisting of the architect, (Ixixi), structural engineer (Endecon), civil engineer (Infraburo), and mechanical engineer (Risimati)..

Since the island consists to a large extent of mire (peat marsh), innovative solutions are required regarding the construction of the base. which include the founding of structures, the prevention of freezing of the water in external pipelines, above ground installation of pipes, to name only a few. Furthermore, the preservation of the island in its pristine and unspoilt condition carries a high premium, which further taxes the innovation of all involved in the design standards to be adopted and methods of construction to be implemented.

The deliverables of the project for which Infraburo is responsible include:

Bulk water supply and storage;
Firefighting infrastructure, storage and pumps;
Internal water distribution;
Internal sewer reticulation and disposal;
Polar diesel storage and distribution.

A total of 16 tenders will be prepared and advertised over the next three years for the manufacturing, supply and delivery to Cape Town of all materials and components required to construct the new research base. All materials will be transported to Marion Island by means of the SA Agulhas, where it will be off-loaded by helicopter. Construction will be conducted by a specialized team from the Department of Public Works, who will reside on the island for periods of 3 months at a time over the next four years. Supervision of the construction work will be carried out by members of the multi-disciplinary team.                                Making the difference


Civil Services for New Research Base at Marion Island