Digital tools enable careful restoration and modern upgrade to historic Canadian Parliament building
The largest project of its kind ever undertaken in Canada, the expansion and restoration of the historic Canadian Parliamentary complex in Ottawa, is expected to take ten years to complete.
After careful planning and extensive consultation, this substantial project, which is predicted to cost several billion dollars, has been given the green light.
The project involves the renovation of the entire Parliament complex which was originally completed in 1860 and subsequently rebuilt after a fire in 1916. The complex is made up of a Central block, an East and a West wing, together with a 302-foot-tall Peace Tower and surrounding grounds that face the Ottawa river and overlook the city.
More than 600 individuals from leading engineering, design and construction companies across the country will participate in the work. HOK Architects, together with other leading suppliers, has formed a joint venture – Centrus – which will be working on the Centre Block project for the duration of the renovations. To save money and time and to minimise the risk of errors, HOK is making extensive use of 3D Repo – a powerful and innovative 3D BIM (Building Information Modelling) system.
The benefits of advanced versioning systems
The Canadian Parliamentary complex is being redesigned and modernised to provide new types of spaces, as the needs of the people working for the Canadian Government have changed considerably since the last rebuild in 1916. The Centrus team is also aiming to meet stringent requirements relating to green credentials and user-friendly design. But one of the biggest challenges to date has related to upgrades to 3D models of the project.
As a result of this experience, the HOK team now uses 3D Repo as an advanced versioning system to dynamically track changes in the geometry of its 3D models. Since 3D Repo retains full information on all previous models, the risk of data loss or corruption is eliminated.
Eliminating the risks of data loss
Another benefit for HOK of using 3D Repo is that it stores data in a local cloud-based repository. Most potential alternatives do not support regional repositories, which makes it difficult or even impossible for them to meet the Canadian Government’s request that data for the project should reside in Canada rather than elsewhere.
HOK has also been investigating the use of 3D Repo to create a supplemental versioning system that enables the team to trace its BIM related data and the Revit model specifically throughout its lifetime, so it can compare that information when upgrades are performed, or major model changes are executed. In addition, the team has used 3D Repo alongside the Revit model to create a versioning system of the geometry and the point cloud data throughout the project’s entire history.