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New National Defence HQ could cost over $1 billion

Don Wall
New National Defence HQ could cost over $1 billion
DXR WIKIMEDIA COMMONS — It is expected the Major-General George R Pearkes Building on Colonel By Drive in Ottawa will continue to house DND personnel as new facilities come onstream.

With the completion of one $792-million, multi-year phased move of thousands of Department of National Defence (DND) personnel into a new central campus in west Ottawa still over a year away, the DND will spend 2019 developing plans for another new complex to house thousands more with a tentative project value of over $1 billion.

The first project, named the Carling Campus initiative, has been in the works for almost a decade. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is collaborating with the DND and Shared Services Canada on consolidating some 40 offices spread around the National Capital Region at Nortel’s former Carling Campus. The three-phase move was supposed to wrap up in March of this year but the timetable now has the full complement of 8,500 to 9,000 DND personnel settled in by March 31, 2020, according to a statement from DND spokesperson Ashley Lemire.

PSPC updated the costs of the move and posted them on its website last month. The cost to re-fit the campus is expected to be approximately $506 million, on top of the purchase price of the campus, $208.3 million, and the cost of the move, $77.9 million.

The consolidation and refit project includes pre-planning studies, design and construction of the necessary base building upgrades, special purpose space, IT, security and refit of the buildings.

The PSPC post said the consolidation is expected to achieve $900 million in net savings.

Less precise are the plans and costs for what is termed the new National Defence Operational Headquarters project (NDOHQ).


The estimated total project cost is $1.1 billion for the definition and implementation phases,

— Ashley Lemire

Department of National Defence


Lemire said the new complex would be located near the west Ottawa Carling Campus. An advanced procurement notice went out last spring, posted with the intent to serve notice to potential bidders of security requirements, and Lemire said in 2019 there will be preliminary project studies undertaken and the owners will “continue to work on the intensive task of identifying the infrastructure requirements for all end users of the new facility.”

The new facility is intended to accommodate approximately 4,500 personnel, with an estimated total gross floor area of over 800,000 square feet. The current timeline for the new facilities has a target completion date of 2029, said Lemire.

Given that the project is in its early stages, exact costs have not yet been determined, she said.

“However the estimated total project cost is $1.1 billion for the definition and implementation phases,” said Lemire. “This is a rough order of magnitude estimate and an indicative cost estimate will be developed during options analysis to support project approval once the project is ready for definition activities.”

The PSPC post of last May said the DND is seeking an architectural and engineering firm for the design of a new NDOHQ building or buildings that will integrate command, control and communications capabilities, along with operational support services.

The need for the new facilities was identified in the latest defence policy statement, Strong, Secure and Engaged, which called for a single hub that enables the key operational Commands of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Lemire stated that among the benefits of the new building would be to “increase physical security and force protection measures ensuring the continuity of operations in the face of incidents or natural disasters.”

Potential operations to be headquartered include the Vice Chief of Defence Staff, the Canadian Joint Operations Command, the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command, the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, the Assistant Deputy Minister — Information Management and the Assistant Deputy Minister — Science and Technology. Lemire said further decisions on co-location would be made during the options analysis phase.

The spokesperson said siting requirements identify that the new NDOHQ be in close proximity to the Carling Campus. A final site will be determined during the options analysis phase.

It is anticipated the Major-General George R Pearkes Building on Colonel By Drive, currently the DND headquarters, will continue to house DND personnel.

Recent Comments (1 comments)

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Roger Ward Image Roger Ward

Perhaps with the electronic age upon us staff should use folding desks and chairs, polished concrete floors and other cost saving measures. After all, they are military personnel and should be use to cost cutting facilities. Perhaps a better location would be Winnipeg, it is more central in Canada.


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