Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is restoring and modernizing the Centre Block, Canada’s main Parliament Building, so that it meets the needs of a 21st-century Parliament and is accessible to Canadians and visitors for generations to come.
Today, PSPC provided an update on the progress of this historic project, including the presentation of concept designs for the Centre Block and the new Parliament Welcome Centre.
The rehabilitation of the Centre Block is the largest and most complex heritage rehabilitation ever seen in Canada. To ensure this heritage building can serve Canadians for another century, it needs to be carefully taken apart and rebuilt to integrate modern standards, including a reinforced structure, seismic upgrading, and new building and digital systems.
The restored Centre Block will be more accessible and secure through the addition of a new Parliament Welcome Centre. The Centre Block will also be transformed from one of the government’s highest-energy users and Greenhouse gas-emitting buildings into a carbon neutral facility.
Work is already underway to realize these goals, including careful demolition work on certain components and the abatement of hazardous materials inside the Centre Block, as well as excavation work for the Parliament Welcome Centre.
While a project of this complexity carries a degree of risk and uncertainty due to unforeseen challenges, the Centre Block and the Parliament Welcome Centre are targeted for completion in 2030/2031. Parliament will conduct extensive commissioning and testing before reopening the Centre Block. Costs are estimated to be between $4.5B and $5B for the Centre Block and Parliament Welcome Centre. As construction activities continue to ramp up, the project will ultimately create over 70,000 jobs with economic benefits for companies and Canadians across the country.
“The Centre Block is where democracy thrives, learning flourishes, and free expression is welcomed. As a place that represents all Canadians and our shared values, it is important to restore this iconic heritage site and modernize it so that it will serve Canadians for another century and beyond.”
The Honourable Anita Anand
Minister of Public Services and Procurement
“The rehabilitation of Centre Block will ensure that this iconic building continues to serve the heart of Canada’s democracy well into the 21st century, and preserve its splendour for future generations. It is our country’s most important national symbol, and it has been entrusted to all Canadians for its care and preservation.”
The Hon. George J. Furey, Q.C.
Speaker of the Senate of Canada
“For us, the Members of Parliament who serve our constituents, the Parliament Building is our town hall, our office, our home away from home, a place of reflection and reverence, and it is our duty to safeguard this space for parliamentarians and for all Canadians, today and in the future.”
Speaker for the House of Commons
“We applaud the Government of Canada for the high degree of design excellence being achieved on the most important architectural design work happening in Canada today. The Royal Architecture Institute of Canada celebrates the thoughtful approach and vision to restore and modernize Centre Block: a project that truly showcases architectural excellence in Canada.”
John Brown, FRAIC
President, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
This is the most significant investment in the Centre Block since it was built over 100 years ago. This major overhaul and upgrade is necessary because the Centre Block did not meet modern codes and standards. The building’s systems and components were beyond their useful life and at increasing risk of failure prior to its closure.
This highly complex project is a monumental endeavour of rehabilitation and modernization. The scale of this project is immense:
- Approximately 10 million pounds of asbestos has already been removed from the building and over 20 million pounds is expected to be removed in total.
- Approximately 40,000 truckloads of rock has to be excavated and will be recycled in construction building materials.
- More than 20,000 heritage assets have to be carefully restored.
- Over 1,600 windows have to be replaced, and approximately 250 stained glass windows restored.
- The entire Centre Block will be placed on a grid of over 500 base isolators, which will act as giant shock absorbers to separate the building from seismic shock waves in the event of an earthquake and ensure the building meets modern building codes.
This project builds on and draws upon lessons from a series of major projects, including the West Block and the Senate of Canada Building, all completed on time and on budget.
- The Centre Block is approximately 3.5 times the size of the West Block and has significantly more heritage elements to be preserved and restored.
- The West Block rehabilitation cost $863 million (2011-2018) and took 7 years to complete. This would equate to approximately $1.14B in 2021.
Energy consumption will be reduced by at least 75% and water consumption by over 50%.
The new Parliament Welcome Centre will create a safe and secure environment for the functions of Parliament and an open, accessible space to welcome and engage school groups and the hundreds of thousands of people who visit Parliament each year.
Today, an average of 400 workers are on-site daily, with the number expected to increase to over 1,500 workers at the project’s peak. PSPC is targeting to subcontract at least 5% of current and future work on this project to Indigenous firms. As well, 90% of the work delivered will flow to small and medium enterprises across Canada.
PSPC has been working hand- in-hand with its parliamentary partners, including the Senate of Canada, the House of Commons, and the Library of Parliament, to establish operational and functional requirements and to develop the design. More than 150 experts have contributed to the design concept.
The design has benefited from an independent review process carried out in partnership with the National Capital Commission and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. This review and feedback process involved a group of eminent Canadian architects and design professionals as well as a former architect of the U.S. Capitol, who was responsible to the American Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court for the operation and maintenance of the buildings and lands of Capitol Hill. The group has helped refine the current design.
PSPC retained an internationally recognized, third-party cost estimator (Turner & Townsend) to provide an independent validation of the cost estimates for the rehabilitation of the Centre Block and the construction of the Parliament Welcome Centre.