Since the City received an engineered plan on January 10 to brace Magee House, we have been in conversation almost daily with the engineering firm that created it, as well as with the Ministry of Labour and the property owner.
We are now confident that the bracing plan is viable and that we will be able to issue a building permit, hopefully in a matter of days.
We had anticipated being in a position to have a permit issued this week, but we do require more information to make certain the plan includes all the detail needed for the proposed work to proceed quickly and safely. An engineer from the firm was at the site this morning, January 25, to evaluate the structure and gather additional information. As soon as all outstanding questions are answered, a building permit should be issued immediately.
The plan would see overhead protection installed so the sidewalk can reopen safely to pedestrians. That would also let the City restore traffic and parking to normal. The owner will also need a right-of-way permit, to account for that overhead protection, as well as a heritage permit, because Magee House is a designated heritage building. Neither of these permits would hold up the process, however, and we expect to issue both alongside the building permit.
The Order to Remedy an Unsafe Building is still in effect and does impose timelines on the owner such that, once permits are issued, work would need to get underway quickly. Additionally, the engineer that created the bracing plan has also conveyed a sense of urgency for the bracing work to proceed quickly once approved, especially in light of the severe winter weather Ottawa experienced this week that could cause further structural degradation.
We understand that the owner is working to identify a contractor. Work to stabilize the building would need to be carried out under the supervision of an engineer, and by an appropriate contractor, as determined by the City. Our hope is that we will be able to reinstate the right of way and return traffic to normal within a matter of days following the start of construction.