Long-term Accommodation (LTA) Backgrounder

Need for a new facility

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) mandate is to protect the safety of Canadians and Canadian information. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, CSE increased its size such that current facilities are no longer adequate to support its activities. The current CSE campus is designed to support only half of the workforce and this puts a strain on power and utilities which are already at a breaking point. There is an undisputed need for a new CSE facility given there is no further possibility of expansion of the current infrastructure.

The construction of the facility will result in the creation of 4000-5000 jobs in the Ottawa area.

Why the Public-Private Partnership (P3) approach?

Following careful analysis between the P3 Design-Build-Finance-Maintain approach and the traditional Crown construct approach, it was determined that the P3 approach would be the most viable solution for the CSE project. This approach creates a partnership which allows the public sector to leverage private-sector innovation and efficiency to deliver major public infrastructure projects.

The private sector is responsible for the design and construction, financing and maintenance of the facility over 30 years. In the case of the CSE project, this approach provides compelling advantages over the traditional Crown-construct approach, such as greater certainty of on-time delivery of this critical building, access to private-sector capital, and the transfer of certain risks, such as financial and schedule overrun.

Mitigating Risks

When entering into a project of this scope and scale, there are naturally a number of risks that need to be addressed. A risk analysis was conducted in accordance with DND/CF’s integrated Risk Management Guidelines and Partnership BC’s risk management best practice. Examples of risks include costs, construction, construction delays, environmental impacts and operation of the facilities.

The risks identified in the analysis and overall project risks were grouped as follows: cost, schedule, cost escalation, environmental and site-specific, and overall risk management. Each area was assessed as low-risk; however, taken as a group, and considering the time span and total project value, CSE assessed the project as medium-risk.

Identified risks have been mitigated and as a result the project remains on time and on budget.

With respect to mitigation of cost risks, CSE implemented rigorous financial and schedule modeling that led to the adoption of the P3 approach. Transferring these kinds of risks to the private sector partner has ensured a project that remains on time and on schedule.

Achieving Value for Money

The P3 approach provides significant value for money. PPP Canada estimates the savings to be in the range of $176 million over the 30-year life of the contract.

Additional economic benefits include:

  • 3000 new jobs for skilled trade workers (as of October 2012)
  • $1.7B over 30 years in revenue to primarily local service providers
  • Approximately $8M per year in payment-in-lieu-of-taxes to the City of Ottawa

With the P3 approach, the private-sector partner does not receive any funding from the Government of Canada for this facility until it is delivered as specified; only then will it begin to receive payment. Annual service payments are based on performance, facility availability and service quality and can be reduced if the private-sector partner does not meet the high-quality standards stipulated in the project agreement.

Procurement Process

To ensure that CSE obtains a facility suited to its requirements, CSE hired a team of consultants specializing in all areas of the Design-Build-Finance-Maintain approach, including architects and engineers, IT specialists, and lawyers with expertise in P3 contracting and finance. This team has been involved throughout the entire procurement process, from determining requirements to evaluation of proposal and continuing through the design and construction period.

In September 2009, Defence Construction Canada (DCC) issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) which resulted in the selection of three consortia who were then invited to participate in the Request for Proposals (RFP) issued in January 2010.

The completed proposals were received by CSE in September 2010 and subject to an extensive evaluation process. The evaluation was managed by DCC, the contracting authority for the project, and was organized and structured to ensure a fair and competitive selection process. The evaluation team was comprised of representatives from CSE, DCC and the Department of National Defence, and was supported by an extensive team of subject-matter specialists.

A third party Fairness Monitor was appointed to the project and oversaw the entire RFP and evaluation process to ensure that the RFP and Evaluation process were objective. For more information, consult the report of the Fairness Monitor.

Following the evaluation process, Plenary Properties was selected as the preferred proponent in October 2010, and subsequent to successful contract negotiations, the contract was awarded to Plenary Properties on January 31, 2011.

The two unsuccessful proponents each received an honorarium. Honoraria are a private industry standard associated with bid development costs and the transfer of intellectual property to the public sector. The $2M paid out in total for honoraria ensured that the government was able to attract and leverage private-sector innovation and efficiency in this government-industry initiative. The resulting Public-Private Partnership will ensure that taxpayers save $176M over the 30-year life of the contract.

A purpose-built facility

CSE retained architectural experts to provide advice on maximizing CSE employee output through building design while providing a healthy work environment for users. This was part of a deliberate commitment to productivity improvements in a time of fiscal restraint.

A number of requirements were also outlined in the Request for Proposal to facilitate the work of employees or the operation of the building, and ensure that the LTA is a modern, highly innovative and functional purpose-built facility. The LTA is composed of both special purpose space and office space:

  • 72,000 rentable m2
  • Top Secret data centre, conference centre and classrooms
  • Highly collaborative and flexible work environment
  • Proximity to public transit and bicycle parking facility
  • Food services, fitness facility with locker-rooms and showers
  • Natural landscaping and the maintenance of existing walking trails on site

Being 'Green'

In line with the federal government's commitment to sustainability, the LTA is designed to meet the requirements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification upon completion. Implementation of sustainable practices and design will result in an estimated 45% energy cost savings.

Some notable 'green' features include:

  • a photovoltaic array will enable some parts of the facility to run a net zero energy consumption;
  • low-flow fixtures, supplemented by rainwater re-use, will reduce by 40% the use of potable water;
  • a water filtration system will reduce the need and use of plastic water bottles;
  • regional materials and recycled content materials will be used for the construction of the facility;
  • a reflective roof will help reduce the 'heat island effect'; and
  • green roofs will be integrated where possible.


The LTA is a four-year project. The major construction phases include the completion of:

  • the parking garage in late 2011;
  • the north-west wing of the main building by May 2012;
  • the south wing by November 2012;
  • the main building exterior envelope by August 2013; and
  • final landscaping by November 2014.

The construction of the facility will result in the creation of 4000-5000 jobs in the Ottawa area. The consortium, led by Plenary Properties and PCL Constructors Canada Inc., estimates that 99 per cent of the jobs created by this project are expected to be Canadian.


Security is the core of CSE's business and has been a consideration from the outset of the project. As such, stringent security measures are in place to protect the integrity of the facility as well as the information it protects.

CSE and the Government of Canada have exercised due diligence in preparing the terms of the agreement with Plenary Properties to ensure security is not compromised. CSE worked closely with Public Works and Government Services Canada's (PWGSC) Industrial Security Manual to ensure that all the requirements of the Industrial Security Manual are met by both CSE and the companies involved. In addition, private contractors will be required to comply with CSE security policies and standards during all the phases of the project, from design to construction to operation.

All contractors involved in the construction will be subject to the appropriate security screening process to ensure national security will not be at risk. Furthermore, a CSE security expert has been assigned to oversee the implementation of security-related requirements for the entire project, from design and construction to maintenance and operation.

Benefits of the project to the Community

The LTA will offer a number of benefits to the local community, including:

  • formalization of existing walking paths for local residents;
  • extension of the existing sidewalk along Bathgate Dr.;
  • allocation of space to be used by the private-sector partner for a bank and daycare;
  • modifications to roadways to mitigate influx of traffic to the site; and
  • economic benefits to local businesses.


The Long-Term Accommodation project is in keeping with the policy direction established by the Ottawa 20/20 Transportation Master Plan. CSE is encouraging alternative means of transportation including public transit, walking and biking (bicycle racks for 250 bicycles). However, the CSE site will have a parking structure to accommodate 800 parking spaces.

Plenary Properties is working closely with City of Ottawa urban planners to implement the proposed changes recommended by consultants in their 2010 study to mitigate the potential impacts of traffic influx to the area. The changes include:

  • modifying the existing 'T' intersection at Ogilvie Road/Silver City Centre to a four-way intersection to create the main access point to the CSE site; and
  • paving a private road for trucks on the CSE site to reduce traffic on Ogilvie Road. This road is accessed from Blair Road.