17 December 2014

Programme moves into next phase

Work to support the planning and design process for the Programme begins.

In a Written Statement to both Houses, the House of Commons Commission Spokesman, John Thurso MP and Lord Sewel, Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords, announced:

Following their consideration of the Pre-Feasibility Study on the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster in October 2012, the House of Commons Commission and the House of Lords House Committee agreed that a more detailed study should be carried out by an independent third party and that it should focus on the costs and technical issues associated with the range of options for carrying out the work.

In December 2013, the contract for an independent options appraisal (IOA) was awarded to a consortium led by Deloitte Real Estate and including AECOM and HOK. This followed a rigorous evaluation and selection process. The contract value was £2.02 million.

The full report containing the findings will be published in June/July 2015. It will form the basis for consultation and engagement in the next parliament, with a decision on a preferred way forward expected by spring 2016.Other major public projects consistently demonstrate that effort put into early planning is rewarded later with financial savings. While the IOA will provide detailed information to help the two Houses make a broad decision in principle, further studies are also required to support the more detailed planning and design process that must follow that decision.

The additional studies include a re-assessment of the risk of plant failure (on completion of the Mechanical and Electrical Medium-Term Programme which has been addressing areas at greatest immediate risk), planning how the service infrastructure of the Palace will relate to the rest of the Parliamentary Estate, and further developing Parliament’s requirements in areas such as security and visitor management. These studies are being commenced now to ensure that Parliament is ready to commission design work once a decision has been made, which in turn will keep the programme on track for a potential 2020/21 start date without anticipating the selection of a particular scenario.

The next phase of studies and reports is expected to cost £5.8m, shared between the two Houses and spread over financial years 2014/15 and 2015/16. The work is being carried out by Deloitte Real Estate, HOK and AECOM following agreement to extend the contract under which the consortium prepared the IOA. As additional services were envisaged under this contract, which was procured in accordance with public procurement rules, retendering is not required.