Confederation Building

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador initiated a multi-phase renovation of the Confederation Building, the seat of the assembly, and other provincial offices in 2008. During exterior renovations of one of the wings of the building, it became evident that some of the stone trim suffered from blind delamination, separation between bedding planes that was not visible on the surface of the units. To help in planning and budgeting for the upcoming phase of the tower renovation, Vertical Access was retained to perform the hands-on survey of the upper portions of the tower. The hands-on survey together with acoustic emission testing that VA developed as a pilot project, helped the project team to quantify the number of delaminated stone units.

Download Project Profile

Building description

The Confederation Building in St. John’s serves as the home of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly as well as other provincial offices. Constructed between 1959 and 1960, the building consists of an eleven-story tower with 3 to 5-story wings on three sides of the tower. The building sits upon Confederation Hill and overlooks downtown St. John’s and the harbor. The tower, rectangular in plan, is clad in brick with limestone trim and is topped by a sheet metal roof with a lantern. The limestone is purportedly from St. Marc Quarry in Quebec.


  • Identify blind delamination within limestone units.
  • Document faults and deficiencies at the upper portion of the tower to assist with quantification of repairs.


  • VA developed a pilot non-destructive evaluation (NDE) program to identify blind delaminations by first calibrating acoustic emission and impact echo equipment to stones with known delaminations removed from the west wing of the building. The NDE techniques were then applied to two test areas on the tower.
  • VA performed a hands-on survey of the limestone at the upper portion of the tower, hammer-sounding each individual unit.

Building owner

  • Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

In collaboration with

  • Jokinen Engineering Services