Skip to main content

Seismic Mitigation Project (SMP)

SMP Project process

Planning Phase 2017

Further to the approval of the project by the General Assembly, in December 2016, the Planning Phase of the project commenced in January 2017. The dedicated project team was recruited and IDOM, an architectural and engineering consulting firm from Spain, was awarded the contract to serve as the lead design consultant for the project. Shortly afterwards, the lead design consultant commenced the on-site conditions surveys to inform the project inception report, prior to the start of the Design Phase.

In order to make the ESCAP premises accessible for everybody, and in compliance with the General Assembly resolution 70/170 (the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), the SMP partnered with ESCAP’s Social Development Division and an external accessibility expert to develop the ESCAP Accessibility Roadmap.

Design Phase 2018-2019

The Design Phase started in January 2018 and focused on the following;

  • Seismic reinforcement design;
  • Replacement and upgrading of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and IT infrastructure;
  • Upgrading of the vertical circulation in the Secretariat;
  • Fire and life safety improvements;
  • Incorporating sustainability and accessibility features;
  • The removal of any hazardous material from areas impacted by construction;
  • Finalizing the design for the future office layout / activity-based workplace 
  • The layout of the on-site swing space.

Tendering Phase 2019 - 2020

During the Tendering Phase, the construction documents for the project design were completed, the bidding documents for the key project contracts, including the contracts for the general construction works and the provision of furniture and moving services were developed and procurement activities were initiated to select qualified vendors through a competitive bidding process. 

The Business Readiness and Change Management activities commenced in August 2019 to familiarize and prepare ESCAP occupants for the moves to swing space in advance of the start of construction works in 2021. These activities will continue throughout the project.

The governance structure of the project was revised in 2019 to facilitate increased participation from the wider stakeholder community at the ESCAP premises, including the UN agencies, Funds and Programmes.

Construction Phase 2021 - 2023 

The Construction Phase begins in 2021 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. The construction works are planned to be executed in multiple phases to optimize the use of on-site swing space. The specific details of the phasing will be reviewed and agreed with the general contractor during the tendering phase.

During construction works, the areas under construction will be physically blocked off and adequately isolated to mitigate health and safety risks, such as dust, and minimize disturbance and disruption to occupants in other areas of the building, to the greatest extent possible. Noisy works will be performed outside of regular working hours. All applicable health and safety codes and standards will be adhered to during the execution of works, including and especially in cases involving removal of any hazardous materials.

As part of the Business Readiness activities which commenced in late 2019, all affected stakeholders will be supported by the project in preparation for the start of construction works, with priority given to the occupants impacted by Phase 1 of the construction. 

What comes next?


    • Award key contracts for: 
      • Main construction works, 
      • Construction administration services, 
      • Provision of furniture and accessories, 
      • Provision of moving and logistic services.
    • Business Readiness which commenced in 2019 will continue in 2020, and will include activities such as archives and records management, decluttering, planning for storage and disposals, budgeting for furniture, IT equipment, creating increasing awareness on health and safety during construction, getting informed on working in swing space and preparing for the first wave of moves to swing space.
    • Continue stakeholder engagement and change management activities
    • Complete construction and interior fit-out of the on-site swing space locations 
    • Phase 1 clients sign off on swing space layouts and prepare for moves to swing space in early 2021


    • General construction contractor starts mobilization and early works 
    • Health and safety plans are approved and monitored
    • Move the first wave of Secretariat occupants to swing space and vacate a portion of the Secretariat to start the construction works
    • Final space layouts of tenants in the first phase of the construction are signed off
    • The general contractor starts the construction works 
    • Continue to develop logistics and move plans to prepare the second wave of moves to swing space in advance of next phases of the construction, due to commence in early to mid-2022. 


    • Phase 1 construction completion
    • Phase 1 Testing, Commissioning and Handover completion
    • UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes move into new workspace
    • Phase 2 construction commences
    • Engagement with occupants impacted by Phase 2 construction continues