Team announced to review restoration needs of UNESCO World heritage site

Palace of WestminsterThe House of Commons and House of Lords have announced the team which is to carry out an appraisal of the work that needs to be done to restore and repair one of Britain’s most iconic sites. The study will explore a number of ways in which Parliament can remain operational while implementing long overdue essential works to protect the Palace of Westminster, an important Grade I listed building and UNESCO World Heritage site. Deloitte Real Estate, AECOM and HOK have been chosen to undertake an Independent Options Appraisal as part of the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme. The appraisal was commissioned following the publication of a study in 2012 which showed that, unless significant restoration work is undertaken, major, irreversible damage may be done to the Palace.

Three broad approaches to the restoration and renewal work are being considered:

  1. Continuing repairs and replacement of the fabric and systems of the Palace over an indefinite period of time;
  2. A defined, rolling programme of more substantial repairs and replacement over a long period, but still working around continued use of the Palace; or
  3. Scheduling the works over a more concentrated period, with parliamentary activities moved elsewhere to allow unrestricted access to the Palace for the delivery of the works.

The appraisal will also explore the range of potential improvements that could be delivered under each of the implementation options, ranging from minimum statutory compliance to a substantial remodelling of the layout and facilities.

In a written statement to both Houses, John Thurso MP, Spokesman for the House of Commons Commission, and Lord Sewel, Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords, announced:

“Following their consideration of the Pre-Feasibility Study on the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster in October 2012, the House of Commons Commission and the House of Lords House Committee agreed that the next more detailed study should be carried out by an independent third party and that it should focus on the costs and technical issues associated with the remaining options.

They added: “The Palace will require very significant renovation in the years to come. The Commission and the House Committee recognised in 2012 that doing nothing is not an option. They accept their responsibilities as custodians of a great iconic building and the need to ensure its future. Selection of a preferred way forward is expected to occur during the course of the next Parliament, not this one.

“The contract for the IOA will set a maximum price of £2,019,295 and a fixed price (which may be lower but not higher) will be agreed two months into the contract once the consultants have become familiar with the extensive survey work already done on the Palace.”

The appraisal team will begin its work in January 2014, starting with a review of the three broad implementation options and a range of possible outcome levels. The findings will be drawn together in a final report that will describe each scenario in depth and draw on all available evidence to describe its cost, timescale, risks and benefits in a clear way that will enable Parliament to make further decisions in due course.

Both Houses will consider arrangements for release and consultation on the report in the New Year.