Report Costs Top $80,000 for Evacuated Federal Building in Downtown Windsor

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The costs behind a series of engineering reviews of a federal building in Windsor, which was evacuated earlier this summer, has been revealed to be more than $80,000.

In an email to CTV News, Public Services and Procurement Canada has disclosed the $82,488.84 spent to review staff complaints of flickering lights and vibrating floors at 441 University Avenue West in Windsor.

The building was subsequently evacuated on June 27 of more than 300 government employees, mostly associated with the Canada Revenue Agency, less than a year after nearly $11 million was spent by the federal government on renovations at the location.

PSPC says architectural and engineering firm DIALOG was contracted and spent $8,300 engaging Swallow Acoustics, Noise and Vibration Consulting, which determined the vibrations in the building were sufficient to cause discomfort.

Recommendations to remedy the situation included adding posts or partitions between the ground and second floor as well as “staggering” the cubical layout.

Swallow is not a structural engineering company which led PSPC to then contract J.L. Richards and Associates at a cost of $62,188.84.

The firm provided a report to PSPC in June which included a complete structural assessment of the building.

Following the two independent engineering assessments, the building was deemed “safe to occupy” but a third assessment was sought to clear a discrepancy between the two prior reports over the “margin of safety” threshold.

The firm Barry Bryan Associates was contracted on June 28, at a reported cost of $12,000 to provide a full building inspection and determine if further steps are needed.

PSPC says the report was contracted to address employee concerns and “provide additional assurances.”

BBA is expected to provide its report in mid-August evaluating safety and detailing the building’s compliance with the Building Code.

According to PSPC’s Kelby Hamilton, senior director, government staff could move back into the building at any time at the employer’s discretion.

The Canada Revenue Agency has moved its staff out of the building to work in temporary offices or at home.

As far as temporary arrangements, CRA has moved its staff out of the building to work in temporary offices or at home.

In an email to CTV News, spokesperson Jocelyn Guest says the CRA has vacated the space "until further notice" and employees are working offsite in accordance with workplace policies.

The statement adds, "The CRA and Public Services and Procurement Canada are working together with their Union partners to ensure employees can safely return to the work space at the earliest opportunity." According to PSPC's Kelby Hamilton, senior director, government staff could move back into the building at any time at the employer's discretion.