If you live in Ottawa or have recently visited the Parliament Buildings, you may have seen scaffolding and work underway on heritage buildings. Being over a century old, much of the fine exterior stonework is crumbling, the roofs need repairs, and windows and doors need to change to energy-efficient models. The buildings' electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and technology systems are long overdue for upgrades.
The Government of Canada has undertaken a $4.7 billion rehabilitation of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. The building grounds, support structures, interiors, and exteriors of the West and Centre Block will undergo extensive upgrades. Included within the approved funding are renovations to:
- Welcome Centre Phase 1
- Government Conference Centre
- Sir John A Macdonald Building
- 100 Wellington Project
PCL / EllisDon (West Block), PCL / EllisDon JV (Centre Block) are managing the construction project, and Architects include Arcop(WSP)/Fournier Gersovitz Moss & Associates.
Other key players working on the project are:
Risk Management and Advisors: Turner & Townsend and Aon
Project Management Support: Colliers Project Leaders Inc. and Tiree Facility Solutions
Ventilation (Centre Block): Atwell-Morin and Golder
Code Consulting: Morrison Hershfield
Business Case Advisors: Engineering Harmonics and EY
Architecture and Design: Kasian and Moriyama & Teshima
Cost Consultants: Hanscomb; Englobe
The Government of Canada's Long Term Vision and Plan is to rehabilitate the Parliamentary Precinct by addressing Canada's Parliament Buildings' deterioration. Modernization of all accommodations will ensure the preservation of the structures' architectural heritage and ensure that while construction is going on, Parliament remains open and accessible and continues to be a safe and secure workplace. This process will involve fully restoring these old buildings to their former glory while ensuring they meet current safety standards.
Part of the upgrades includes seismic assessments and upgrades since many of these designs are from before building codes existed. Rehabilitation involves having experts assess the seismic resistance of the parliamentary buildings. At this time, all facilities are safe to occupy, even after recent earthquakes. Experts also perform yearly inspections to ensure that the buildings can be evacuated safely in a major earthquake. If a building is not up to the National Building Code of Canada standards, renovations will align with current standards.
Laser cleaning of the masonry will minimize damage through gentle processes. Laser technology is a convenient, flexible, and vastly superior approach used to restore masonry. Lasers vaporize dirt without making contact with the surface, eliminating the need for abrasives or chemicals.
The rehabilitation of the Library of Parliament is an example of the successful modernization of a parliamentary building. It was built in 1876 and is the only part of the Centre Block that survived a fire in 1916. Rehabilitation took place back in 1952. It wasn't until 2002 that conservation and rehabilitation work began. Through these efforts, the restored building was modernized and returned to efficient parliamentary service.
- Replacing its copper roofs and drainage systems.
- Restoration of decorative ironwork.
- Replacing leaded glass windows with modern energy-efficient models.
- Repairs to the stone masonry.
The Centre Block and West Block
Construction of the Centre Block began in the fall of 2018. Part of the renovations included moving the Senate Chamber to the Government Conference Centre. Masonry repairs and upgrades to the electrical, mechanical, and safety systems in The West Block are underway.
The project will also include:
- Asbestos abatement.
- Replacement of all doors and windows.
- Structural reinforcement.
- Updates of technology components to current industry standards.
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