Characteristics of the Australian Antarctic Building System

The Australian Antarctic Building System (AANBUS) has become an internationally accepted benchmark in antarctic and cold region design. The main features of the unique AANBUS buildings at Australia’s continental stations include the following:

  • larger more efficient buildings than those constructed in the past
  • braced steel framed structures on concrete footings anchored to the ground, without need for external guying
  • external insulated sandwich panels which are durable and easily removed for maintenance
  • provision of vapour barriers on the inside and moisture barriers on the outside of buildings, and prevention of ‘cold paths'
  • maximum use of standard and prefabricated components, within the constraints of the available shipping and material handling facilities
  • simplified construction details to minimise the extent of site labour during the brief summer outside construction period (3–4 months)
  • trial erection of building structures in Australia to minimise the risk of delays to work on site
  • careful location of buildings to minimise the drift problem. All buildings (rectangular in plan) are oriented with their long sides parallel to the prevailing (strong) winds which carry the drift. Doors, windows and openings are only permitted on these sides, and drift snow generally accumulates at either end of the building, and tends to blow clear on the sides
  • fire prevention, detection and control