The Southwest Tower of the East Block of Canada’s Parliament, a National landmark, shares a FHBRO Classified designation with the rest of the Parliamentary composition. The East Block, originally constructed between the years 1863 and 1870, has a rich exterior and interior character in High Victorian Gothic Style. Today the masonry walls and roof are undergoing increasing decay and are in need of major rehabilitation. MTBA, CIMA+ Engineers, and Eric Jokinen Engineering Services were retained by PWGSC to investigate exterior envelope degradation and defects and to provide general recommendations for a remedial treatments for these specific concerns.
The project objectives for this Investigation and Report included reviewing the exterior masonry conditions, determining the most likely sources of water infiltration, an ongoing concern over a significant portion of the building’s existence, and reviewing the success of previous interior remedial treatments. The report included a series of recommendations organized as a staged work plan identifying critical immediate work, mid-range work, and longer term work.
Reviewing the envelope was challenging given the age of the tower, its current condition, successive treatments made over the life of the building, and the secure nature of the building. While masonry was the focus of the investigation, windows, parapets, and roof-wall intersections were also reviewed as issues of this kind often occur at intersections, where weaknesses are most likely to occur.