Sunday, November 03, 2013

Answers on CSEC headquarters

In which I do the job of Sen. Claude Carignan, the Government Leader in the Senate, so he doesn't have to:
Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Honourable senators, there is some incredible construction happening on Ogilvie Road. I am told that it will house both the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC).

Can the Honourable Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us how many square feet this building will be, how much it will cost and how it compares to the Hoover Building? After all, there are only 32 million of us in comparison to the American population.

I understand that you might not have the answers in your notes, but I would still like you to answer my questions.

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): On the number of square feet, the cost and what else?

Senator Ringuette: Also, how that compares to the Hoover Building in Washington.

Senator Carignan: I am not sure whether we will be able to compare, but I will certainly take note of your question and provide any legally available information to answer it. (Debates of the Senate (Hansard), 28 October 2013)
Maybe Sen. Carignan will get around to answering these questions, and maybe those answers will even end up on the public record somewhere, but who knows when that will happen?

So here we go:

First off, the new headquarters complex being constructed on Ogilvie Road, although located adjacent to the headquarters of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, will house only the Communications Security Establishment Canada.

The size of the complex is usually reported as 72,000 square metres, or 775,000 square feet. However, the government's 2009 "Request for Qualifications" document stated that
in order to meet CSEC program requirements of approximately 72,000 square metres of rentable space, the Facility will contain approximately: 2000 staff and contractors, an office area of 31500 gross square metres, office support of 11300 gross square metres, common space of 5300 gross square metres, special purpose space of 30000 net square metres, and special purpose common net area of 5200 gross square metres, for a total building gross of approximately 82700 square metres [or about 890,200 square feet].
It should be noted, however, that the figures cited in this document actually add up to 83,300 square metres, or about 896,600 square feet.

Furthermore, none of these estimates include the size of the Mid-Term Accommodation Project, which was built under a separate contract but is now considered to be part of the headquarters complex. It is now known as Pod 1 of the complex. The gross size of Pod 1 is about 6000 square metres, or about 64,600 square feet.

Thus, the full size of the new CSEC headquarters complex is likely to be approximately 88,700-89,300 square metres, or roughly 960,000 square feet.

As noted in Volume I of the Public Accounts of Canada 2013 (page 11.19), it is currently estimated that the construction cost of the new CSEC complex will be $1.170 billion. As with the square footage figures, however, this total does not include Pod 1, which according to CSEC cost about $61.5 million. Thus, the total construction cost of the complex will probably be about $1.23 billion.

The J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C., is the headquarters of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has a mandate very different from that of CSEC. However, to answer the question, according to the FBI, the Hoover building's original design called for 2,800,876 square feet of space. The building cost $126,108,000 (U.S.) when it was completed in the mid-1970s.

Bonus answer: The population of Canada was recently estimated to be just over 35 million, not 32 million.


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