The East Block has been part of a regular screening program as part of the PWGSC mandate. The Federal Heritage Building Review Office (FHBRO) statement of significance declares that the entire Parliamentary precinct must undergo regular evaluations in order to preserve its heritage fabric. There have been numerous repairs and attempts over the years to maintain the exterior masonry, resolve water infiltration problems, understand and limit movement, as well as to repair stone delamination, displacement and efflorescence on its interior. The Southwest Tower however, is still subject to water infiltration and saturation and its fabric continues to deteriorate. As part of this screening process, COLE+Associates and DMA (Desnoyers Mercure Architectes) organized a joint venture and embarked on the investigation and report required for the continued heritage planning.

The main goals of protecting heritage value and quality, health, safety and risk management have been at the forefront of this investigative process. The tower was to maintain continuity of operations while our team prepared to investigate and survey it in a methodical, reproducible, and reliable fashion. Research from various sources was essential in developing a comprehensive and detailed understanding of the lifecycle, history and current issues of the Southwest Tower.

The consultant team was faced with the objective to determine short-term implementation strategies to effectively anticipate the long-term rehabilitation of the Tower. COLE+Associates and DMA undertook a documentation review, which included twenty-four reports and ten sets of drawings.

The most pertinent information uncovered by this review was that the water infiltration had been an ongoing problem for over three decades. The review included a detailed survey of the interior and exterior tower through the tapping and mapping of each stone, and investigative strategic openings in order to verify voids. To communicate the results and plan for long and short-term solutions, the team developed a layered drawing which would align both the interior and exterior observations and provide a more holistic understanding of the tower’s movements and problem areas.