About 15% of the bricks in the facade of the Brussels Justice Palace (about 300 square metres) are in such a poor condition that they need to be replaced, which will cause further delays to the building's restoration process.
A new in-depth study of the state of the façade of the Justice Palace (at the Place Poelaert side) estimates that about one-sixth of the bricks need to be replaced before the scaffolding can be removed, Laurent Vrijdaghs of the Public Buildings Administration told L'Echo.
According to the administration's expectations, the percentage of 15% can probably be extrapolated, and will also roughly apply to the other facades of the building. As a result, the facade will probably not be freed from its scaffolding in 2023 as initially planned, but only in 2024 or 2025.
A couple of weeks ago, work on the Justice Palace has resumed will continue for several months: firstly, the scaffolding around the Palace (which was put up in 1984) was renewed so the state of the building's bricks could be examined, as they had been exposed to bad weather and pollution for decades.
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However, as the building is a protected monument, all new stones have to come from the original quarry – located in the French region of Comblanchien, in Burgundy – and even the original stone vein, according to reports by Bruzz.
The expected delays, however, are bad news for State Secretary of Public Buildings Administration Mathieu Michel, who made the "highly symbolic" restoration of the Palace a priority of his mandate, and stated early last year that the building would be free of scaffolding in 2023.
Now, the year 2024 or even 2025 is being suggested, but everything will depend on how many stones actually need to be replaced and on deliveries from the quarry, according to Johan Vanderborght, spokesman for the Public Buildings Administration.
After the bricks have been replaced, the removal of the scaffolding could also take place in two phases. In any case, all scaffolding must be removed by 2030, when the state of Belgium celebrates its 200 year anniversary.