The Government of Quebec opened the new headquarters for the Commission for Standards, Equity in Health and Safety at Work (Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail, CNESST) in the heart of the eco-district of D’Estimauville in Quebec City. The new 8-story CNESST building spans approximately 370,000 square feet serving nearly 1,850 workers.

Demonstrating its respect for the environment, energy-efficiency and wellness, the project is designed and built with the intention of achieving certification through the Canada Green Building Council’s LEED® v4 rating system. In addition, it is the first government facility in Quebec to pursue the International WELL Building Institute’s WELL™ Building Standard.

Designed to cohesively meet high sustainability and performance standards. Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI) supervised all stages of the CNESST’s office design and construction working closely with Coarchitecture and LEMAYMICHAUD.

Presented in a refined, modern architectural style, the project palette combines biophilic design, natural materials and, as LEMAYMICHAUD described, “a lot of white.” The design team specified four types of Rockfon acoustic stone wool ceiling panels plus Chicago Metallic suspension systems to meet the project’s aesthetics, sustainability and occupant well-being goals. Rockfon’s ceiling panels comply with acoustic ceiling requirements in building standards, and meet or exceed relevant criteria for LEED and WELL.

CNESST Head Office

Quebec City, Quebec

From the outset, the CNESST was mindful of offering its personnel a mobilizing work environment, focused on the well-being of its employees and respecting sustainable development objectives. This is exactly what we did, and this, while respecting the initial budget and the schedule.

Manuelle Oudar

president and CEO of the CNESST
The new CNESST head office represents an important step since its creation in 2016. The building is modern, ecological and made of local materials made by local people. These new workspaces will allow CNESST staff to perform their duties in a stimulating environment. It is a successful integration into the D'Estimauville eco-district.

Jean Boulet

Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration, and the minister responsible for the Mauricie region

The majority, 235,280 square feet, of Rockfon’s stone wool ceiling panels for the CNESST offices were selected with a white reflective surface. Maximizing the use of natural light with reflective ceiling panels not only offers an opportunity to save energy, but also can have a profound impact on occupants’ well-being, mood and productivity. For the CNESST offices, Rockfon’s white ceiling panels reflect 83 to 86 percent of light regardless of its source. In the enclosed areas where natural light is unavailable, high light reflectance remains important to maximize high-efficiency fixtures.

Helping create the bright, contemporary interior spaces, the stone wool ceiling panels varied in size from 2-by-2 to 4-by-4-foot squares and 2-by-4 to 2-by-8-foot rectangles. The acoustics inside office buildings impact employees’ performance and comfort. With the use of sound-absorbing ceiling panels, noise and reverberation within a space are reduced. All of the Rockfon ceiling panels installed in the CNESST office meet best-level absorption. Rockfon Alaska® and Hygienic Plus™ acoustic stone wool ceiling panels achieve an Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of up to 0.90. For areas where even greater acoustic optimization was needed, Rockfon Sonar® and Rockfon® Color-all™ black acoustic stone wool ceiling panels provide an NRC as high as 0.95.

“In these institutional offices, the workspaces are arranged in such a way as to limit closed offices and democratize natural light. The open areas are found in the periphery and the closed offices are concentrated in the center of each floor, the goal being to maximize light offered by the abundant fenestration. …The immense windows offer a panoramic view of Île d’Orléans and Quebec City,” stated LEMAYMICHAUD's team.

"The benefits of the new head office for the staff are numerous,” according to the CNESST leadership, “The workspaces are open and modern, which allows access to outdoor light and to evolve in living areas that encourage collaboration and teamwork.”

The architecture of the Headquarters contributes to the animation of the place by presenting all its active functions group around its atrium...On the interior, the atrium provides contact with the exterior, creating an energizing luminous space for all employees.


This design responds to the new need for companies to offer employees a variety of work environments, but also to provide rooms for virtual meetings to meet the needs of the new hybrid work mode. …The integration of this many workstations represents a major challenge for any project, since it entails, among other things, acoustics and safety issues.


In active spaces, such as gyms with weights and stationary bikes, the acoustic experience balances high energy and high performance. LEMAYMICHAUD’s team noted that the materials for the fitness center were selected to “facilitate maintenance, but also ensure the long-term durability of the facilities.” Contributing to this effort, Rockfon’s stone wool ceiling panels also are easy to clean and hydrophobic, meaning they resist water, moisture and humidity.

Stone wool also is naturally resistant to mold and mildew, and does not support the growth of microorganisms, without added biocides. All of Rockfon’s stone wool ceiling products selected for the CNESST head office have earned UL® GREENGUARD® Gold certified for low-VOC emissions. Both Rockfon’s stone wool panels and metal ceiling suspension systems also are manufactured with recycled content. At the end of its long, useful life in CNESST, the metal grid can be locally recycled.

Adriana Multescu, engineer and project director with the SQI shared her appreciation and offered, “A big ‘thank you’ to the whole team for your excellent work. I greatly appreciate your professionalism, your collaboration, your efficiency and your respect of deadlines.”

The finishes used in this project offer a warm and bright minimalist corporate atmosphere...The skillful use of black and white, wood-effect and stainless steel contrasts harmoniously with the integration of the client’s corporate colors throughout the spaces, on the walls or glass partitions.


CNESST Head Office

Location:Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Architect: Coarchitecture; Quebec and LEMAYMICHAUD; Quebec
Contractor:EBC Inc.; L'Ancienne-Lorette; Quebec
Installer:Daharpro Construction Inc.; Saint-Nicolas, Quebec
Photographer:© Stéphane Groleau
Tiles:Rockfon Alaska®, Rockfon Sonar®, Rockfon® Color-all™, Rockfon® Hygienic Plus™
Grids:Chicago Metallic® 4200 Integrity™ 9/16"