The work is completely unrelated to a $18.7-million contract awarded to PCL Constructors Canada in the wake of a boiler explosion in 2009 that killed one person, Public Works said in an e-mail to OBJ.
"This mandate will address the current problem of a damaged and non-operational chiller and begin the process of eventual replacement of all the steam-driven chillers with more efficient electric chillers," a spokesperson for Public Works wrote.
Public Works has a budget of $3.8 million to replace the broken chiller with a 5,000-ton electric chiller. A second chiller will be purchased at the same time for eventual installation, according to a tender posted on Merx, a procurement site used by the federal government.
"The industrial nature of this work requires highly specialized trades who are experienced in high-pressure steam and natural gas piping welding, industrial instrumentation and high voltage electrical supply," the tender read.
"It will also require ... implementing minor architectural, structural and civil changes to the central heating plant."
The tender requires "substantial performance" in the project by July 20, 2012, with final completion no later than Aug. 15. Contractors have until Dec. 7 to submit bids for the project.
The Cliff distribution system in Ottawa-Gatineau services 52 buildings and about 50,000 employees, including prominent buildings such as the U.S. Embassy and those in the Parliamentary precinct.
In late 2009, PCL received a $15-million sole-sourced contract to build the temporary boiler plant to heat those buildings.
The construction company subsequently won a $18.7 million contract to build an extension for the temporary boiler plant, as well as install three superheated boilers.
The boilers provide steam for the turbine engines, which then power the chilers.
Other upgrades have taken place since PCL's contract, Public Works noted. This included operational maintenance and repairs, chiller tube replacement on some of the chillers, site security upgrades, and decomissioning part of a service tunnel that is no longer needed.
The federal government is pushing forward with plans to upgrade electrical service and modify the boilers to "improve durability and efficiency," Public Works added.
In 2010, Genivar Consultants received a $2.42-million contract to study options to rehabilitate the plant. Those modernization ideas are still proceeding with input from industry, Public Works noted.