News / Calgary

Calgary Municipal Building truss issues a costly fix

The City of Calgary is putting nearly $17 million into fixing a structural issue at the building

The Calgary Municipal Building.

Jennifer Friesen / for Metro

The Calgary Municipal Building.

In the Municipal Building, we can soon truss – $16.8 million later.

On Tuesday, administration explained to Calgary councillors why in September 2016 more than 500 employees had to be moved from one part of the Municipal Building as a safety precaution.

A truss in the municipal building, constructed in 1983, was found to be a safety risk last year. According to the city, it wasn't installed according to the original plans and no longer met the city's building code.

The risk affected 257,893 square feet, or 27 per cent of the building.

"It's been a big challenge," said Brad Stevens, deputy city manager and chief resilience officer.

"It became very, very complex the deeper we looked."

Stevens said the city's on its final stretch of repairing the building's faulty truss. But getting such a large beam out of the city's main building proved to be an engineering feat.

The city didn't wait to do a probability analysis on the likelihood of truss failure, but the report shows detailed drawings of what would happen to the municipal complex should it collapse.

A graphic depiction of what a collapse of a truss at the Calgary Municipal Building may have looked like.

Courtesy City of Calgary

A graphic depiction of what a collapse of a truss at the Calgary Municipal Building may have looked like.

The city's looked into the original company behind the design and execution of the 1983 construction plan, but Stevens said there's been a lot of consolidation and acquisitions in the industry – they simply aren't around anymore.

"Our initial investigation is that any third parties don't exist in the same form ... whether or not this is something that can be covered by insurance or any other opportunity we still have to discover," he said.

As a silver lining, and how Mayor Naheed Nenshi is looking at it, is that the Municipal Building upgrades will increase the building's density. More people can work in the complex, a 38 per cent bump, which will provide the city $6.6 million in future savings.

"This is one of those things you would never think will happen, in that the truss was faulty when the building was built in the 1980s and certainly it's served us well," Nenshi said

"It is important to fix it."

Courtesy City of Calgary

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