The largest, most complex heritage rehabilitation project ever undertaken in Canada is also the first major renovation to Canada’s main parliament building since 1916, when fire destroyed it.
Under the Long Term Vision and Plan for the Parliamentary Precinct, we’ve also worked on West Block (the interim space for the House of Commons) and the Senate of Canada Building.
A key to staying on top of risks on this complicated job was engaging the right people, right at the start. Along with our construction partner, EllisDon, we pulled from our vast joint strengths and our relationships with trade contractors to staff and manage this very significant government program. Our experience in building secure facilities and with heritage restorations were other factors in our selection.
We work directly with the design team and other partners to deliver the latest updates and let everyone know the impacts of each design decision. On a complex reconstruction of a designated heritage building, it can otherwise be challenging to provide specific dates and cost estimates. One of the most difficult tasks on any project is keeping field staff up to date on a vast number of design documents. Cloud-based PlanGrid tracks document versions, allowing team members onsite to see changes at a glance. Add an app that connects cloud storage to PlanGrid and you seamlessly automate information transfer: as the design team adds drawings, PlanGrid processes them, and the project team can publish them for immediate review.
Sometimes an old building has the most to gain from the latest technology:
Centre Block had no means of protection against earthquakes but in future more than 500 seismic base isolators in the foundation will isolate the building from the earth to mitigate any future seismic event.
Stonemasons use lasers to vaporize dirt without physically contacting the surface. This less-abrasive cleaning method allows its practitioners to handle a large surface uniformly.
On a historical rehabilitation it’s crucial to capture the condition of monuments and structures at the outset, for later reference. The team uses laser-scan software to manipulate and view point-cloud data at different stages: first to ascertain the location and condition of heritage assets and the repairs they will need; then, before demolition, laser scanning reveals the structure after the assets have been safely removed. A last survey shows the final result. By overlaying the point-cloud data from all three phases, as well as with 3D models, the team can see the changes over time. Everyone involved benefits from reality capture.
Most importantly, numerous conservators remove, meticulously restore and reinstall tens of thousands of crates of moveable heritage assets. The conservators survey each item, scan it and carefully track it to be certain it goes back to its exact original spot.
This quality modern rehabilitation brings Centre Block to the standards set by the National Building Code of Canada, and it protects and restores the heritage structure on Parliament Hill for future generations.
The Government of Canada commissioned a four-story building near the Centre Block site to be used by our teams as a site office. When questions around the fitness of the HVAC systems arose, we installed 30 Job Site Insights™ smart sensors to investigate claims rather than hire an outside contractor to conduct the tests. The sensors showed steady temperature and humidity, confirming proper HVAC operation, saving the client money on a contractor call—and demonstrating JSITM’s value. The client then chose to use JSI on another important government project.