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View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Let's talk about that.
Obviously, there's something in the ballpark that you can estimate the cost as being. Do we have any idea of what the estimate for the cost of the tunnelling network could be?
Rob Wright
View Rob Wright Profile
Rob Wright
2022-06-23 11:28
Thank you very much for the question, Mr. Chair.
There is a distinction between the blue and the pink tunnels. There's a portion of the tunnel infrastructure that was already designed and constructed as part of the West Block and visitor welcome centre phase one. We're making use of that portion by reusing it.
The Parliament welcome centre that we're building in conjunction with the Centre Block will form the rest of that northern horizontal part of the tunnel. The Parliament welcome centre will serve.... There won't be any additional tunnel network there. That whole northern spine will be in place at no additional cost.
Rob Wright
View Rob Wright Profile
Rob Wright
2022-06-23 11:29
It's the north-south tunnel. We have an order of magnitude construction-only cost for those north-south tunnels. The combination of W and D would give you an order of magnitude construction-only cost of about $185 million.
What is not included in that—and this is important, because those are construction-only.... There are no design costs. There are no contingency costs. There are no risk costs and no escalation costs. That is the construction-only cost, which is one very important component, and the cost builds up from there.
That's the order of magnitude construction cost for those north-south tunnels.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I assume, Mr. Wright, that at $185 million, we can pretty much ballpark from a percentage standpoint what those additional costs may be, such as the design costs, the contingency costs, the escalation costs and all that stuff.
Typically, what percentage of the construction costs would be factored into some of those other costs, so that we can end up at that ballpark end number of what these tunnelling systems will cost?
Rob Wright
View Rob Wright Profile
Rob Wright
2022-06-23 11:30
That varies a bit project by project, but you can say that those ballpark construction costs will end up being around 40% to 50% of the overall project cost.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
We could legitimately be looking at roughly a $250-million project for these tunnelling costs, if I understand you correctly.
Rob Wright
View Rob Wright Profile
Rob Wright
2022-06-23 11:30
Again, we have to do the due diligence here.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
It's ballpark. I understand. It's a quarter of a billion dollars.
Rob Wright
View Rob Wright Profile
Rob Wright
2022-06-23 11:30
It's a significant investment. There's no question about that, sir.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Right. Just by way of comment, Mr. Chair, on the tunnel system, it's difficult, or I hope we can all find it difficult, to agree that without an absolute cost.... I mean, we're dealing with projected costs here of $185 million just in construction costs. Then there are all the contingency costs. By my account, it could be a quarter of a billion dollars. Without that final cost figure.... I expect that it won't be that much: It may actually be greater.
I would like to see a little more certainty, if this were to be a supportable item for this committee, of what those costs would be. I understand that we're dealing with projections here, but projections have a tendency to get out of hand really quickly, as we are all aware.
In light of the concern that I have, are there other aspects of the LTVP projects that this board is being asked to make a decision on today with your proposals? If we were to defer this—perhaps to a meeting in the fall, I suspect—would we risk project delays and additional cost increases?
Rob Wright
View Rob Wright Profile
Rob Wright
2022-06-23 11:33
Thank you very much for the question.
There is really critical design work that we're actually lagging on now in terms of figuring out how these tunnels would insert into the Parliament welcome centre. The design of the Parliament welcome centre is live and proceeding very quickly. I would say that it is a little pulled behind because of decision-making. That's all understandable, but certainly it would have an impact, no question about that, on our ability to further refine designs, with impacts on construction downstream and costs.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Wright.
If that is the very rough estimate of the figure for the auxiliary costs of building the tunnels, which you mentioned a little bit earlier, can you give us a very rough estimate of the figure for reconfiguring the designs of each of the buildings, applying loading docks for each of those buildings, and then applying the operational cost of no longer having a centralized material management but rather going back to a 20th century kind of thing of each building having its own material supply? Is that in the tens of millions of dollars? Is that $100 million? What would that cost be?
Rob Wright
View Rob Wright Profile
Rob Wright
2022-06-23 12:25
I would want to be careful to give you estimates that would be useful for your deliberations. The costs would be significant. I could say that. Many millions of dollars would be at stake in that, and operational inefficiency would as well.
I couldn't today give you a number that would really be useful to you, I don't think.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
But there is an undoubted capital cost, and then there are much higher ongoing operational costs. If we're looking at the parliamentary precinct over the next quarter of a century, whatever that cost x is.... If it's $10 million a year, that would easily reach, over 25 years, a quarter of a billion dollars.
Rob Wright
View Rob Wright Profile
Rob Wright
2022-06-23 12:26
Absolutely. I mean, the critical thing, and what we're trying to do here, is to design and construct, hand in hand with Parliament, an integrative facility that meets your needs for the next century and beyond. For any investments, we're trying to make sure they are permanent investments that serve Parliament into the future rather than a series of temporary investments that at a later point don't serve or that are not “future-proofed”, if you will; that's perhaps the best term here.
One benefit of this tunnel network is that it provides benefits from the perspective of the movement of people, the movement of goods and security. It also provides “max flex” for the future operations of Parliament.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
It would be fair to say that the operational costs of not proceeding could well be as high over an extended period of time, and higher in the long term, as of proceeding with this project.
Rob Wright
View Rob Wright Profile
Rob Wright
2022-06-23 12:27
If you look over the life cycle of these buildings, and we really talk in century life cycles for the investments that we're making, you are definitely talking about very significant alternative costs of not proceeding in this direction.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you. That was very helpful.
I think a figure is often daunting until you look at the alternatives. Then you see an equally daunting figure without the efficiency and without the ability to move. It's not a question of buying a winter coat or not. It's really a question of the most effective way of proceeding through the coming years so that operationally we're saving money and we're not having the duplication we've had up until now, where each building is supplied individually.
There's a whole range of downsides to that, as I think we're all aware. It's why every other Parliament in a major industrialized country has moved to a model with a centralized material management system and pedestrian access to buildings through a tunnel network. It just makes sense. The U.S. Congress is the best example of that, I think. The European Parliament is another one.
Can I ask a final question? I have no doubt, in looking at the proposed development, that the W to D, that ring circle, which is very similar to how the U.S. Congress functions very efficiently, is obviously the best model. But what if we went with what I could only call the “cheap” version, which doesn't have the same flow and doesn't provide for the same security access? That would be the A tunnel from West Block right across to the Wellington extended block 2 and block 3 tunnel, and then E from the East Block right across to block 1. Those are short tunnels. I understand that there is an existing tunnel from East Block that already goes to Langevin. I'm not sure whether this is a new tunnel or a tunnel that would build on that existing tunnel that goes across to Langevin.
What would be the cost comparison for that? I certainly understand that in terms of material management you'd lose a whole advantage from the W-D recommendation. Certainly, in terms of security it's much dicier, because people would have to move through the West Block and move through the East Block to access the south of Wellington.
Is there a rough cost differential between the A and E scenarios and the W-D scenario?
Rob Wright
View Rob Wright Profile
Rob Wright
2022-06-23 12:30
Thank you very much for the question.
Surprisingly, there is not. While it's intuitive that a shorter tunnel would be a lot cheaper, it's much more technically complex, because if you look at the West Block example, the tunnel infrastructure has to go in and under the foundation of the West Block. You can see tunnel W kind of skirts around. It's much more technically complex, and we'd have to put new stairwells and elevators into the existing West Block at the southern portion while the West Block is operational to serve Parliament. It's very complex, so it is actually pretty much a wash from a financial perspective, and it involves a much higher-risk approach.
These alternative tunnels, W and D, can be implemented with minimal disturbance to Parliament, and you can see how they're kind of a straight shot—still technically complex—through the bedrock rather than having to work underneath the foundations of the buildings, which adds a tremendous amount of technical complexity and disruption to Parliament and the associated costs that come with it.
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