The restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster is of ‘paramount importance’ though the cost of maintenance continues to rise and the building is ‘now deteriorating faster than it can be fixed’, according to the recent strategic review.
… significant and timely action is needed to protect the Palace and all those who work in it…
… protect and restore the world-famous Palace of Westminster while supporting thousands of jobs…
Construction Manager writes:
… a strategic review conducted by the ‘sponsor body’ overseeing the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal programme.
The report revealed that the cost of maintenance was £369m in the four years since 2015, and £127m in 2018/9 alone.
It said: “As the Public Accounts Committee noted in their October 2020 report on the programme, significant and timely action is needed to protect the Palace and all those who work in it.”….
Sarah Johnson, chief executive of the Restoration and Renewal Sponsor Body, said: “The iconic home of Parliament is in urgent need of restoration. The review has found new ways of carrying out the complex project, focused on getting value for money, and we will continue preparing a detailed and costed restoration and renewal plan that will for the first time give Parliament a true sense of the costs and timescales of restoring the Palace of Westminster.”
David Goldstone, chief executive of the Restoration and Renewal Delivery Authority, said: “We are absolutely committed to getting on with the job, making sure we spend money effectively, focusing on the vital and essential work that needs doing to protect and restore the world-famous Palace of Westminster while supporting thousands of jobs nationwide.”….
The Strategic Review summarises in the introduction:
- As the historic home of the UK Parliament and a world-renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, restoring and renewing the Palace of Westminster to a safe and functional space is of paramount importance to the future governance of the UK as well as the protection of our national monuments. Despite an ongoing programme of maintenance that has cost £369m in the four years since 2015 and £127m in 2018/19 alone1, the building is now deteriorating faster that it can be fixed through ongoing maintenance and individual improvement works. As the Public Accounts Committee noted in their October 2020 report on the Programme, significant and timely action is needed to protect the Palace and all those who work in it.
- Restoring the Houses of Parliament will support thousands of jobs and apprenticeships across the country, in professions ranging from engineering to heritage skills such as stonemasonry and carpentry. The Programme will also create investment in communities across the UK through a national supply chain involving hundreds of businesses. Parliament already works with specialists across the country, sourcing encaustic tiles from Ironbridge, cast iron roof tiles from Halifax, Sheffield and Chard, limestone from Doncaster and Clipsham and slate from Ffestiniog, North Wales. This will grow with the Programme to create investment in communities across the UK.
- As with any major public programme it is important to ensure that the Restoration and Renewal (R&R) Programme is set up for success and delivers value for money for the taxpayer. This is one of the key points highlighted by members of the public participating in the R&R Deliberative Panel2. The report of the 2016 Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster anticipated that the new bodies (the Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority) would, once they had been established, seek to validate the conclusions in its report and test the feasibility of its recommendations. As informed by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA)3 programme reviews should be carried out at major decision points throughout the lifecycle of a programme to ensure continued delivery towards the ultimate objectives in accordance with programme timescales, cost control and benefits realisation. Given the magnitude of the decisions required regarding the scope of Palace works and the decant locations, the changes in the country’s economic circumstances, and the recommendations in the April 2020 NAO report, now is the right time to reassess if the approach to delivering the R&R Programme remains right.…
- The review’s key conclusions relate to setting clear objectives for the R&R Programme; the delivery strategy; decant scope and locations; and governance and decision-making….