The IHBC has submitted its response to the call for relevant information ‘on the vital restoration and renewal of the Houses of Parliament’, as part of a review into the renovation plans, which closed 7 August.
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The IHBC writes:
The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), the professional body of conservation specialists and historic environment practitioners and a leading authoritative body in historic building conservation recommends:
- The repair and adaptation should take a conservation led approach. Informed repair and adaptation is the key to the success of project, firstly setting out an understanding of the heritage significance of the building, then formulating proposals using skilled heritage conservation expertise to repair the building and introduce modern interventions.
- There are significant skills and knowledge gaps in heritage conservation throughout the UK. Training more people in skilled building work and conservation of historic buildings, will subsequently enable other historic buildings nationwide to be restored. Trickle down training in best practice across the UK will promote new employment potential, sustainable reuse of buildings, contribute towards regeneration, and increase income from tourism. Providing a showcase for UK heritage skills to a world-wide audience will increase trade, skills exchange and international tourism. Structured training opportunities can be accommodated within existing programmes.
- Sourcing of suitable traditional materials and products offers the potential for new business and employment opportunities, especially in parts of the UK which are most effected by the economic crisis and unemployment.
- We hope that the advice of Historic England will be taken throughout the lifetime of the project.
- The Institute suggests work should be phased on a priority basis, reserving work for later rather than cutting costs and quality.
- Careful consideration should be given to the potential risks from fire during the repair works.
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