Condition of the Centre Block

We are currently restoring and modernizing the Centre Block. This iconic building had not received any major upgrades since it was built more than 100 years ago. The years and the weather have taken a toll on the building.

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Now is the time for repairs and upgrades

One hundred years withstanding the weather as well as constant use by parliamentarians and visitors wore on the iconic building on Parliament Hill.

The Centre Block was a workplace for the House of Commons and the Senate. Even when Parliament was on recess, the Centre Block was a hub of activity. It was open as a tourist attraction year-round. Regular maintenance and emergency repairs were done, but the time has come to restore and modernize the historic building.

Assessing the condition

Before we could develop the design plan for the Centre Block project, we first had to assess the state of the building. We needed to do invasive investigations to have a true picture of the scope of work required to restore it and ensure the best value for Canadians.

Our experts opened up sections of the walls, floors and ceilings to examine all aspects of the building. Some of the issues that were identified before and during the assessment included:

Our assessment provided comprehensive information for the design team on the building itself, the substances within the building and the foundation on which it is built. We also confirmed that there is very little space behind the walls and in the ceiling to run services for heating and cooling, electrical wires and cables to support information technology.

We now have the information we require to undertake the restoration, ensuring that the Centre Block can support the government well into the 21st century.

Photo gallery

View our Centre Block project photo gallery to see examples of some of the concerns and spaces that are being addressed as part of the project.

Building was not environmentally sustainable

As a significant part of our assessment, we looked at how the Centre Block used energy. Before it closed, the Centre Block was the largest energy consumer in the Parliamentary Precinct. Running the Centre Block consumed more energy than running any of the other buildings on or around Parliament Hill.

It was also the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gasses in the precinct.

In our assessment, we used heat-sensing cameras to see where the building was losing heat. That way, we learned where the leaks were so we can repair those areas as part of the project.

We plan to make the Centre Block more energy-efficient by reducing energy consumption by 75% and indoor water consumption by 50%. Our goal is to achieve net‑zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Using the assessment to support design work

All the information we gathered during the assessment phase is stored in our detailed digital map.

The design team used information from the assessment when they were developing the design. The construction team uses it to make informed decisions about all aspects of the project, anticipate challenges and solve problems before work happens on site.

To learn about the design, visit the page Centre Block and Parliament Welcome Centre design.

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