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Canadian Parliament

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Ottawa, ON Canada

The Centre Block is the centre of the Canadian Parliamentary complex and houses both the House of Commons and the Senate, where most administrative decisions occur for the country.


Sensequake was approached to assess the structural integrity of this structure as part of the 3 billion, 20-year project to rehabilitate the parliamentary complex.

The Centre Block is 6-storey, 1 basement, steel frame masonry structure which was rehabilitated in 1927 due to a fire. In order to properly extract the necessary information from this complex structure, 30 unique tests were performed over two distinct phases. Our testing included:

  • A baseline of the structure

  • A global test

  • Sectional tests to see interactions between structural blocks

  • Joint tests between critical locations

  • Tests finding the interaction with the ventilation towers

  • Flexibility tests to determine floor flexibility

  • Examining the effect of seasonal changes between both phases

These tests helped reduce the rehabilitation team's error in their finite-element model by 30%, and targeted specific areas of interest for further investigations.

Peace Tower

The Peace Tower is another steel frame masonry structure, constructed at the same time as the Centre Block. The tower stands at 92 meters and has 13 levels which were tested by our team.

Due to its height, the flexibility of the building was thoroughly analyzed. Our technology's capability to derive higher mode shapes in great detail allowed for the true behaviour of the structure to be extracted.

Our testing included:

  • A baseline of the structure

  • A global test

  • Extracting the fundamental frequencies of the tower

  • Determining the mode shapes

  • Calibration help for the rehabilitation team's finite element model

East Block

The East Block is an adjacent structure next to the central parliamentary block, originally constructed in 1868. An additional wing was built in 1905 for added office space, and the third floor was converted from attic space to offices.

Due to these various changes in construction types, different comparative tests were used by our team in order to obtain the true behaviour of the structure.

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The tests resulted in achieving:

  • The structure's baseline

  • A global test of the structure

  • Different section tests between the probable blocks

  • Flexibility tests to see the differences between the different  floor types

  • A more efficient seismic retrofit plan

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