Government seeks architects to co-ordinate $191 million Government Congress Centre renovation

government conference centre

            Construction cost for temporary Senate home to be $91.4 million – work to start next summer

Ottawa Construction News staff writer

The government has allocated approximately $191 million, of which $91,378,000 is the “hard construction budget” for an urgent renovation of the 101-year-old Government Conference Centre (GCC)  to temporarily house the Senate during the Parliament Hill renovation project.

The 2 Rideau Dr. building, previously Ottawa’s train station, was converted to a government conference centre after Via Rail moved to Tremblay Rd. in 1966.  The 12,531 sq. m. structure has not been updated for several years and has fallen into disrepair.

The RFP for architects closed on August 30. PWGSC did not disclose how many architects have responded to the RFP, the beginning a two-stage evaluation process to select the lead design consultant for what will be a fast-track construction management project.

“Proponents responding to this RFP were requested to demonstrate their compliance to a set of pre-qualification criteria (known as Phase 1 of the tender process),” a PWGSC spokesperson said. “PWGSC is currently evaluating the Phase 1 submissions. Bidders that are deemed compliant at the conclusion of Phase 1 will be invited to submit a proposal in Phase 2 of the tender process. It is expected that a contract will be awarded in early 2014.”


Documents indicate that price, to be considered in the final evaluation, will only represent 10 per cent of the weight in deciding which architect will be selected for the project.

The PWGSC bid documents say that the government expects to appoint the consulting team and construction manager by January 2014, with construction mobilization in June, and substantial performance achieved by Dec. 2017.  The goal is to be ready to move the Senate chamber into the restored building by September 2018.

PSWGC documents estimate that construction costs include:

Abatement and demolition:    $3.85 million

Shell:   $15.16 million

Interiors:          $7.305 million

Mechanical/electrical infrastructure:   $22.4 million

Site:     $2.557 million

General requirements: $3.718 million

PSWGC says the budget is fixed, and the schedule needs to be maintained.  “Since the construction budget is of a fixed value, value engineering as well as design choices shall be a continuous process throughout the project,” the government’s RFP documents say.

The documents specify restrictions on disbursements “at cost and without allowance for mark-up or profit, supported by invoices and receipts” including

*          Reproduction and delivery costs of technical documentation additional to that specified in the project brief with the prior approval and authorization of the department representative: $35,000.

*          Bilingual documents (beyond services stated in project brief and RS10):     $15,000

*          Investigations and materials testing:   $65,000

*          Other disbursements:  $25,000.

The weighing system for the first phase evaluation assigns equal weights to the “achievement of proponent” and “achievement of key sub-consultants/specialists” at four out of 10 each with the remaining two weight points to assess “achievements of key personnel on projects.”

This first-stage evaluation counts for 30 per cent of the overall weighing.  Consultants selected for the second phase evaluation are assessed (weight factor in brackets) on: Understanding of the project – technical, schedule and cost (2), scope of services (2), management of services (3), design philosophy/approach/methodology (1.5) and consultant presentation (1.5), to achieve what PWGSC calls  “combined technical rating.”

“To be considered further, proponent must achieve a minimum combined technical score of 54 points out of the 90 points available,” the documents say.

Only after the technical score is completed – which counts for 90 per cent of the weighting — is price considered. Prices are in sealed envelopes that won’t be opened until after the technical evaluation has been completed.

Here, “all price proposals which are greater than 25 per cent above the average price will be set aside and receive no further consideration,” the documents say.

The documents say the remaining price proposals are rated as follows:

1.         The lowest price proposal receives a price rating of 100;

2.         The second, third, fourth and fifth lowest prices receive price ratings of 80, 60, 40, and 20 respectively.  All other price proposals receive a price rating of 0.

The GCC “is a classified heritage building that requires major rehabilitation,” the PWGSC documents say.  “The need to preserve this heritage building coincides with the need to find an interim home for the Senate.  This approach enables the rehabilitation of a deteriorated heritage building white providing a home for Senate functions while the Centre Block is rehabilitated.”


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