The Seismic Mitigation Project (SMP) is a multi-dimensional renovation project that will transform the UN ESCAP premises in Bangkok, Thailand, into a safe, accessible, sustainable and modern workplace for all. The scope of the SMP covers seismic reinforcement works in the Secretariat and Service buildings, to ensure life safety and seismic code compliance. The Secretariat building will also undergo the replacement of major building systems that have reached their useful lives, interior renovation works and the removal of any hazardous materials.
To deliver the project’s mandate of accessibility, the interiors will be re-designed to create a truly inclusive environment for all, including persons with disabilities. Additionally, the SMP aims for increased sustainability through design and construction elements as well as the use of sustainable materials. The renovation will increase energy efficiency, reduce dependency on artificial cooling and lighting and minimize ESCAP’s environmental impact. The SMP will also transform the existing office spaces into activity-based work environments, supporting the way the UN works, connects and collaborates.
The UN General Assembly (in its resolution A/RES/71/272) approved the project in December 2016, with an overall budget of $40.019m.
The project consists of 5 phases including the Planning, Design, Tendering, Construction and Close-out Phases. It was officially established on 1 January 2017 and works are expected to be completed by 31 December 2023.
Background of the project:
Bangkok is surrounded by active earthquake zones with the potential to cause damage to buildings that are not in compliance with the relevant seismic codes. Since 2011 studies were conducted to determine the structural integrity of the three buildings at the UNESCAP premises. As an outcome of these studies, it was determined that the 15- floor Secretariat building and 4- floor Service building, both constructed in the early 1970s, prior to the establishment of the Thai Seismic Code, required seismic retrofitting. This would help to mitigate the existing risks of damage and loss of life and property, in the case of a seismic event. The United Nations Conference Center (UNCC) which was constructed in the 1990s, does not require any remedial works.
The SMP also aligns with the objectives of the Secretary-General’s Report on Strategic Capital Review (SG A/65/351) which called for a 20-year projection of capital asset requirements across the Secretariat and an assessment of needs and priorities in relation to the maintenance of existing facilities. The review showed that major building systems (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) in the Secretariat building at UN ESCAP would soon be reaching the end of useful life and therefore required upgrading works to ensure full functionality.
Buildings covered by the project scope
The scope of the project covers two of the three buildings on the ESCAP premises; the 15-floor Secretariat building and the 4-floor Service building. The UN Conference Center (UNCC) is not covered by the scope of this project.
The Service building will see limited and selective structural retrofitting to ensure seismic code compliance.
The Secretariat building is subject to a broader scope, including a greater degree of seismic retrofitting as well as extensive replacement of major building systems (electrical, mechanical, plumbing) that have reached or are expected to reach the end of their useful lives, in the near future.