The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Wednesday, 3 June

It's Time to Act...Before Parliament Collapses

A report highlighted by the BBC says that the Palace of Westminster urgently requires refurbishment - but politicians are avoiding the issue like a pre-election banana skin

Controversy and embarrassment have featured in the broadcasting this week by BBC’s Newsnight that the Houses of Parliament need £3 billion worth of attention.

Although there is nothing new in the fact that something substantial has to be done – back in August 2012, Commons officials had mooted a similar figure to MPs – the timing comes at a delicate time for the government.

Having just lost the Rochester and Strood by-election to UKIP and boasting that it is a prudent administration, the prospect of £3 billion spent on repairs to the Palace of Westminster, appears already to being deferred.

Currently, repairs to Parliament stand at £30 million a year, just to keep the building functioning. However, no one is in any doubt that substantial work has to be undertaken; asbestos is present throughout, the plumbing and heating system is antiquated, energy efficiency woeful and the exterior structure badly needs repair to its masonry alone.

There have been three suggestions to deal with the problems:

  • A full ‘decant’ and complete closure – where MPs and peers leave to other premises for five years. This would be expected to encounter significant political opposition
  • Partial decant – the Houses of Commons and Lords move take turns to vacate the premises but the time would be longer.
  • Politicians put up with the refurbishment around them. Besides not wanting to struggle to hear themselves above the noise, it is estimated that the cost would increase much more.

The authorities have refused to concede that the £3 billion figure is an accurate one; the last official figure was put at £1.6 billion. Some observers have pointed to the fact that the full report on repairs to Parliament has been deliberately delayed till after the General Election in May 2015.


Pictured: The Palace of Westminster is having urgent and substantial repairs deferred till after the General Election

Article written by Mike Gannon


Related Tags

Related Articles

Will Election Blues make Construction see Red?

The Construction Products Association (CPA) has forecast construction output will increase 5.5% in 2015 but that growth is expected to slow in the following two years due...

 Read Full Article
Heavenly Head for Heights Rewarded

Chester Cathedral has earned a Trip Advisor Excellence Award since opening the Cathedral at Height project to the public in April last year. The success follows an...

 Read Full Article
Northern Line Goes South

London Underground has chosen Ferrovial Agroman Laing O'Rourke to build the Northern Line extension. The extension is expected to regenerate the Nine Elms area in...

 Read Full Article
Terry Sharp Announced As New President Of BCIA

The Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) has announced Terry Sharp as its new President. Sharp takes over from Jon Belfield who has held the role for the past...

 Read Full Article
Housebuilding rates failing to meet government targets

The number of new build homes started and completed continues to fall below government targets, according to new figures published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities...

 Read Full Article
Lending A Hand Costs Security Guard His Fingers

A security guard has lost his fingers after being asked by a groundworks contractor to lend a hand to do a job he was not employed or skilled to do. Elsewhere, seven...

 Read Full Article
Extra Fast Construction In Wood You Believe It?

Metsä Group’s new visitor centre in Äänekoski, in Central Finland, is a prime example of fast construction using wood. The 1,000sq.m building...

 Read Full Article
Like A Virgin - UK Touched for the Very First Time

India Buildings Limited has appointed Thomas & Adamson for the landmark development of the first Virgin Hotel outside of the US. Thomas & Adamson are a global...

 Read Full Article
Putting A Lid On It - Top Floor DC Build OUt

On February 8, Next Generation Data (NGD) announced the build of an additional 250,000sq.ft of capacity at its mega data centre campus near Cardiff - on the top...

 Read Full Article
Wimpey Builds A Better Workplace

According to the Glassdoor job website, Taylor Wimpey has been voted as one of the best places to work in 2018. Scoring 4.3 out of 5 overall, the national housebuilder...

 Read Full Article