Article | Last updated: 2017-06-12 | Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation
The work on rebuilding the Government Building Complex is well underway. Plans are now being made to move in from 2023-2025. The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation is responsible for the New Government Building Complex project. Statsbygg, The Norwegian Directorate of Public Construction and Property, will be handling the practical execution of the project on behalf of the Ministry.
Spring 2017: Planning and design competition
On 10 February 2017, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation approved the zoning plan for the new government building complex. The Norwegian Directorate of Public Construction and Property (Statsbygg) was then assigned to hold a planning and design competition (architectural competition) for the new government building complex.
There are seven participants in the planning and design competition. Proposals were submitted in May 2017. All proposals are exhibited in the pavilion at Høyblokka. The exhibition is anonymous. A jury shall assess the proposals and declare two winners. The jury shall apply seven principal criteria in its assessment (not in order of importance): architecture and cultural heritage, cost and feasibility, openness and urban life, organisation and efficiency, flexibility, environment and safety. Statsbygg will negotiate with the winners. The group that has the best overall proposal will be awarded the planning contract (autumn 2017).
The winner's proposal will form the basis for the design and pre-project phase that will be worked with for approximately 2 years.
May 2014: Decision on concept and main model
In May 2014 the Solberg Government decided that the new government building complex will include the Office of the Prime Minister and all ministries with the exception of the Ministry of Defence. The Norwegian Government Security and Service Organisation (G.S.S.O) will also be based in the new complex. The government wants a concentrated complex to ensure maximum space utilisation within the existing government building complex. The basis for planning is 5700 workplaces by 2034.
The H-Block (The high-rise block) and the open space on Akersgata will be retained. The Y-block and the R4 will be demolished. The S-block was the first damaged building to be demolished, in 2015. The two large, integrated works of art in the Y-block will be preserved. The right-holders of the art in the Y-block will be contacted when the future location of the art are to be decided. At all events, any Government decisions concerning the artwork in the damaged government buildings will be dealt with in accordance with Norwegian law (Copyright Act).
The government building complex will be planned with ambitious environment protection targets and a high degree of energy-efficiency, ensuring that planning is on a par with best practice within eco-friendly construction and outdoor areas are designed with service life in mind, to give economic and cost-effective use of resources.
Security will be a key factor for all aspects of planning the new complex. A general basic level of security will be incorporated into the plans for all ministries, yet all buildings and facilities will be designed to be open and inviting to the public and visitors.
As a basis for the Government’s decision on the conceptual solution in May 2014, a so-called concept selection report was performed (presented June 2013) and then subjected to a separate quality assurance process (known as QA1, presented February 2014). The concept selection report and the quality assurance of the choice of concept is part of the so called Quality Assurance Scheme, which the Ministry of Finance has established to ensure that the Government makes its decisions on a fair and rational basis. The aim is that the final choice of concept is the one with the highest economic returns, the best use of public funds. The two reports also consider consequences related to security issues, city environment, heritage and artwork in the existing buildings, flexibility, efficient work places for the ministries, and long-term planning.
2014-2017: Planning process and idea phase
Based on decisions made by the government, in June 2014 Statsbygg was assigned to commence work on the zoning plan.
The planning work for the new government building complex has been carried out as a national zoning plan in accordance with Section 6-4 of the Planning and Building Act, with the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation as the planning authority.
The government has been eager to encourage debate and input in connection with the work on the zoning plan. Therefore, an “idea phase” was conducted in spring 2015 to obtain different proposals for how the new government building complex may take shape in the future. The proposals were exhibited in the pavilion at Høyblokka in April-May 2015. In June 2015, an evaluation committee presented its assessment of the proposals and provided its recommendation for how the government building complex can be designed.
In October 2015, Statsbygg presented its recommendations for urban design principles for the new government building complex. Statsbygg’s recommendation was based on ideas from the idea phase, the evaluation committee's report and other suggestions, including from Oslo municipality and the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. Statsbygg's proposals for urban design principles were exhibited at Høyblokka from October 2015 until June 2016.
In a letter to Statsbygg of 18 December 2015, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation approved the urban design principles and stated that these provided a good basis for the continued work on the zoning plan for the new government building complex. The Ministry also issued several guidelines for the work, including in relation to use of area and rehabilitation and use of existing buildings as well as the need for new assessments of safety requirements
Statsbygg’s proposed zoning plan was complete in June 2016. The proposed plan was submitted for consultation and public inspection from 28 June until 31 October 2016. An open meeting was held during the consultation period, as well as separate meetings with stakeholders who will be particularly affected by the planning work. The proposed plan has also been exhibited at Høyblokka.
The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation approved the zoning plan on 10 February 2017.
In June 2014, Statsbygg was also assigned to prepare a spatial and function programme for the new government building complex. The spatial and function programme involves identifying necessary functions, spaces and areas for the new government building complex to ensure a good, safe and efficient workplace. The employees and employee representatives have been involved in the process, which has taken place over a few years. The spatial and function programme was approved by the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation in March 2017. Together with the zoning plan, the spatial and function programme constitutes the basis for the continued planning and for the planning and design competition.
Further work: Pre-project phase
Statsbygg has prepared a cost estimate for the pre-project phase. Due to the scope of the cost estimate, requirements are set for external quality assurance in accordance with the Ministry of Finance’s scheme for quality assurance of major government investments. The report from the external quality assurance of the pre-project phase recommended a P85 budget of NOK 2.2 billion and P50 budget of NOK 1.7 billion for completion of the pre-project phase. The costs include planning, demolition of buildings and detailed planning of H-block, Building D and basement. In 2018, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation will present a proposal to the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) regarding the commencement of pre-project planning.
When will the new government building complex be finished?
The Storting will be informed about the progress of the work on the government building complex in the annual budget proposals. The Storting also will make the final decision on commissioning construction by granting funds. The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation will submit a separate proposal regarding the matter. The plan is to have this in place in 2019. If construction commences in 2020, we should be able to start moving into the new government building complex from around 2023. According to the plans the ministries should be in place in the new buildings in 2025. Construction will continue for some time after this. We can assume that the new government quarter will be completed around 2027.