18% of federally owned buildings in Ottawa in critical or poor condition

Nearly one in five federally owned buildings in Ottawa are listed in critical or poor condition, according to the government’s own list of its buildings, the Directory of Federal Real Property.

By Adam Kveton

Of more than 1,700 buildings, 104 are in critical condition, while more than 200 are in poor condition.

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These include office spaces and residences, as well as things like barns, sheds and silos.

For a building to be in “critical condition,” the reinvestment needed to bring it back up to scratch is estimated to be greater than 30 per cent of its replacement value, according to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat which has the list on its website.

Some critical condition buildings include the former Bank of Canada building at 350 King Edward, the RCMP headquarters at 1200 Vanier Parkway, the Supreme Court, several Central Experimental Farm buildings and the Sir Charles Tupper Building.

“Risk of building and building systems failure is high,” reads another part of the treasury board’s definition of critical.

For a building to be listed as poor, “some or all asset systems are compromised or show serious signs of deterioration. Risk of some systems failure is likely,” and the investment needed is between 10 and 30 per cent of replacement value.

The government’s real property manager, Public Services and Procurement Canada, said that the growing number of critical-condition buildings is due to both age and a lack of funds.

Public Services and Procurement Canada looks after 312 buildings in the National Capital Region, including the former Bank of Canada building and the buildings in Tunney’s Pasture In total 82 of the 312 are in critical condition, according to the agency’s numbers.

“Over the last decade, government efforts to realize savings have constrained annual maintenance and repairs,” said PSPC spokesperson Nicolas Boucher. “This, combined with the age of PSPC’s portfolio (average age of 53), has resulted in a downgrading of the condition of the buildings.”

With the government investing $3.4 billion over five years to maintain and upgrade federal infrastructure assets, the PSPC has been able to implement “major renovations in many of its critical assets,” said Boucher.

This article originally appeared in Metro News.

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