18 June 2015

Independent Options Appraisal Published

An Independent Options Appraisal (IOA) for the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster has today been published by a team of independent, external experts led by Deloitte Real Estate and including AECOM and HOK.

In 2012 the House of Commons Commission and the House of Lords House Committee commissioned a study on the condition of the fabric of the Palace. The study indicated that, unless significant restoration work is undertaken, major, irreversible damage may be done. The authorities of both Houses agreed that doing nothing was not an option and to commission the IOA, a comprehensive, independent assessment of a range of costed, timescaled options for a major restoration and renewal of the Palace.

The IOA sets out a range of scenarios, with costs, timescales, risks and benefits. The report does not contain recommendations on which scenario to choose but is intended to enable Parliament to make an informed decision on a preferred way forward. A comprehensive restoration programme is unlikely to start before 2020/21.

Read the Independent Options Appraisal

The IOA compares five scenarios that combine varying levels of scope with three different approaches to carrying out the work. They range from a ‘do minimum’ gradual approach, to making significant improvements in a single phase approach. The key findings are:

  1. Rolling programme. Undertaking the minimum work with Parliament remaining in occupation would take around 32 years. During that time both Chambers would have to close for between 2-4 years, at different times, but sittings could be relocated to a temporary structure elsewhere in or around the Palace. Users of the Palace would have to tolerate high levels of noise and disruption over a long period and there would be a level or risk to the continuous running of the business of Parliament. This option is the least predictable in terms of duration and cost. Cost estimate for a ‘do minimum’ outcome: approximately £5.7 billion.
  2. Partial move out. The work would be carried out more quickly if first the Commons, then the Lords, were to move to temporary accommodation outside the Palace. Security and nuisance issues would have to be managed at the boundary between the two zones. This approach would take around 11 years. Cost estimate for a ‘do minimum’ outcome: approximately £3.9 billion. Cost estimate for some improvements: approximately £4.4 billion.
  3. Full move out. If both Houses fully vacated the Palace this would take the least time and would avoid disruption to Parliament from construction works. Risks to the continuous running of the business of Parliament would be greatly reduced, assuming that sufficient temporary accommodation can be