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Big names line up for lucrative UK Parliament project

Several firms chasing huge revamp contract which may be worth up to £5.7bn over 32 years

by Nick Myall 10 December 2015


The architectural masterpiece that is the UK Houses of Parliament is crumbling in its old age with the huge bill for the refurbishment project rapidly mounting.

As a result Foster’s, HOK, BDP and Allies and Morrison have all been shortlisted in the race to carry out work to revamp the Palace of Westminster in London.

Some of the worst damage is on the famous skyline and in the decaying stones that are being weathered away.

Nine firms submitted bids for the work, which is known as the Restoration and Renewal Programme.

The UK is not the first country to face the challenge of a deteriorating parliament building.

At more than 130 years old, the dramatic neo-classical Austrian parliament in Vienna suffers from leaky roofs and poor ventilation. While it undergoes renovation, proceedings have been moved to the Hofburg palace, also home to the renowned Spanish Riding School.

Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, built from 1859, with its similar neo-gothic design and green upholstered Houses of Parliament, has experienced some of the same problems with crumbling masonry and asbestos.

This summer a report by a team of independent consultants said asking MPs and peers to move out of the Palace of Westminster will be the cheapest option to overhaul it.

The team put the cost of MPs and peers moving out and carrying out ‘some improvements’ over six years at £3.5bn. Getting them to move out and carrying out ‘significant improvements’ over the same period will cost £400m more.

The most expensive option is to fit work around MPs and peers remaining at the building with a rolling programme of work put at £5.7bn over 32 years.

A decision on which option to pick is expected next year with work expected to start in 2020.

Five teams have been shortlisted for programme, project and cost management services including a team led by Aecom.

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Nick Myall

News Editor

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