About the Independent Options Appraisal
The Independent Options Appraisal (IOA) of the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme is an independent assessment of a range of options, with costs and timescales, for a major restoration and renewal of the Palace.
The IOA was published on 18 June 2015 and follows on from a Pre-feasibility Study on the Palace in 2012. A Joint Select Committee of the two Houses was formed in July 2015 to consider the findings of the IOA report and recommend a preferred way forward.
The scope of the IOA
The IOA explored a range of scenarios combining potential improvements (ranging from minimum requirements to substantial improvements) with three delivery options:
- Continuing repairs and replacement of the fabric and systems of the Palace over a significant period of time.
- A defined, rolling programme of more substantial repairs and replacement over a long period, but still working around continued use of the Palace.
- Scheduling works over a more concentrated period with parliamentary activities moved elsewhere to allow unrestricted access for the delivery of works.
The IOA compared five scenarios which combined varying levels of scope with three different approaches to carrying out the work. The report does not contain recommendations on which scenario to choose but was intended to enable Parliament to make an informed decision on a preferred way forward. They ranged from a ‘do minimum’ gradual approach, to making significant improvements in a single phase approach. The key findings were:
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 two to four 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.
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.
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 found for occupants of the Palace. This approach would take around six years. Cost estimate for some improvements: approximately £3.5 billion. Cost estimate for significant improvements: approximately £3.9 billion.
References to capital expenditure ranges in the IOA should not be interpreted as either setting or estimating a budget for the Restoration and Renewal Programme. A budget will not be set until a detailed design brief and means of delivery are agreed. This would be set out in an outline business case, which is unlikely to be drawn up before 2018.