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Vital Parliament Repairs May Take 32 Years to Complete

A new study has claimed repairs to the Houses of Parliament could cost up to £6 billion and take over 30 years to be completed.

The landmark building was designed by English architect Charles Barry in the mid-19th century and is in need of major repair work to prevent irreversible damage.

Deloitte Real Estate, HOK and Aecom have come together to deliver the report and are collectively know as the Independent Options Appraisal team on the project. The consultants were appointed jointly by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords to conduct the study in 2013 after an earlier survey in 2012 showed that major restoration work was needed to prevent further damage.

A statement released on behalf of both houses of parliament said that the restoration of the Palace of Westminster would be a 'major challenge' that would have to be addressed in the coming years. The statement added that the work was certain to be a matter of public interest and that ultimately it would be down to the Joint Committee to decide how best to carry out the task of repair works.

The detailed document released by the options team this week, shows three separate possible approaches to the repair work which all have different associated timescales and costs.

Option one involves a rolling schedule of repair work that would offer the least amount of disruption to Parliament, but would cost the most money and take the longest amount of time to complete, costing 5.7bn and taking 32 years. The Independent Options Group worked out that the construction cost alone would reach £1.3bn with the extra costs down to temporary accommodation, inflation, delivery costs, and VAT.

 

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Option two uses a different approach and suggests a staggered and partial move out of each of the two houses of parliament so that repair work can take place. The report says that this approach would likely cost between £3.9bn and £4.4bn depending on the final specification and facilities included in the refurbishment. This option would take 11 years to complete, which is almost a third faster than option one.

The third and final option relies on a full-scale but temporary move out of the Houses of Parliament to a new location, with some reports suggesting Parliament may even move out of the capital city to Manchester, Birmingham or Leeds during this period of time.

This option is estimated to take 6 years and cost between £3.5bn and £3.9bn, which would again depend on what improvements and upgrades are made to the facilities alongside the repair work. This option also brings the cost for construction work alone down to a figure of £1.1bn.

Independent Options Appraisal team leader Alex Bell from Deloitte Real Estate said that the team's analysis had shown the the renovation project would be a challenging and potentially expensive operation, but ultimately one that could deliver benefits to Parliament and also the wider regions of the UK.

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