Rehabilitation of the Lester B. Pearson Building

From: Public Services and Procurement Canada

Learn about the rehabilitation of the Lester B. Pearson Building.

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Project overview

125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
Type of project
Lead department
Public Services and Procurement Canada
View enlarged image of street view of the Lester B. Pearson building

Project description

On September 2017, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) announced that it would rehabilitate the Lester B. Pearson Building (LBPB). This project is an initiative driven by both the occupant, Global Affairs Canada, and PSPC with a focus on employee wellness, universal accessibility, and environmental sustainability.

The total budget for the rehabilitation of the LBPB is estimated at more than $700 million. The main objective of the project is to plan and implement a complete building retrofit inclusive of base building, fit-up and information technology (IT) requirements. This project provides the opportunity to modernize building elements such as plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems, which will improve the environmental performance of the building.

While conserving LBPB’s heritage character, the project will bring a modern workplace adhering to the latest GCworkplace fit-up standard and incorporating Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification. GCworkplace is an innovative and future-oriented approach to modernize workplaces so that they better leverage technology and support collaboration, innovation, and flexibility. The workspaces will be fully accessible by providing solutions such as:

Exterior work

Exterior project work includes:

Interior work

Interior project work includes:

Benefits to Canadians

The rehabilitation of the LBPB will provide significant benefits to the local and national economies through contract opportunities in the construction industry and related sectors, such as construction materials, manufacturing and professional services.

As the Government of Canada moves forward with the design and construction of the building, it will preserve the historical significance and character of LBPB and introduce sustainable and energy efficient features.

Project background

The building is the flagship headquarter of Global Affairs Canada and is home to approximately 3,300 employees.

Completed in 1973, the LBPB has not undergone any major building rehabilitation since its construction more than 45 years ago. This project will provide employees with a safe and modern workplace in addition to extending the life span of the building.

For the rehabilitation of the LBPB, PSPC is leading the overall planning and management of the project to ensure it is completed on time, on budget and that it meets the needs of the current occupants of the LBPB.

The project team includes EllisDon, Construction Manager, DIALOG and McRobie Architects and Interiors, Prime Consultants, and Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions, Project Manager.

History of the building

Construction of the LBPB began in May 1970 and took nearly three years to complete. The construction of the building was part of an intensive period of urban planning, which accelerated in the 1950s and 1960s, continued into the 1970s, and transformed Ottawa into a true national capital. The building was named after the 14th Prime Minister of Canada.

The building was completed in 1973 to the designs of Webb Zerafa Menkes (now WZMH), the same firm that is also responsible for designing such iconic buildings as the CN Tower, in Toronto.

In 2012, the LBPB was designated as a federal heritage building. Federal government buildings, such as departmental headquarters, often employ robust materials that gain value as they age. They are eventually evaluated by agents of the Federal Heritage Building Review Office to determine if there is sufficient heritage value to warrant formal recognition. Where there is such value, designations include classified or recognized, depending on the score obtained. The LBPB is a classified federal heritage building, the highest Federal Heritage Building Review Office designation. With designation comes a certain measure of protection via additional intervention oversight and advice.

The LBPB is located on Indigenous land. As we are currently rehabilitating the building, PSPC is investigating opportunities to include permanent land acknowledgment onsite and Indigenous art in the design of LBPB (both interior and exterior).

The LBPB is a large, multi-tiered, irregular-shaped office complex built to accommodate the national headquarters of the Department of External Affairs, which became the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and is now Global Affairs Canada. The building occupies a prominent site along the Ottawa River and is visible from the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge, and the adjacent roads.

Photo gallery

Click on the image to view larger version.

Rendering of the new security pavilion and perimeter fence
Rendering of the new security pavilion and perimeter fence (on Sussex)
Rendering of the interior fit-up of Tower D—Lounge kitchen
Rendering of the interior fit-up of Tower D—Washroom
Rendering of the interior fit-up of Tower D—Workstation and open space
Rendering of the interior fit-up of Tower D—Large meeting room
Rendering of the interior fit-up of Tower D—Medium meeting room

Latest news about the project

Planning and design activities for the LBPB rehabilitation project started in 2017. The rehabilitation began during summer 2019 with Tower D. The renovation of a single tower (there are four towers in total) will take two years, with the completion of the entire building scheduled for 2028.

The project is divided into four phases.

Concurrent projects

The LBPB garage project is scheduled to be completed in April 2021 and includes structural upgrades, new floor toppings, mechanical and electrical upgrades, fire protection upgrades and traffic control devices.

A LBPB security upgrade project is scheduled to be completed in spring 2021. The purpose of this project is to improve security for occupants and operations through the implementation of:

More information

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