32 Year Renovation of Westminster Palace Estimated To Cost $11.2 Billion

A cheaper option could see MPs moving out of the building.

Elizabeth Tower -
Elizabeth Tower - "Big Ben" before the renovations at the Westminster Parliment in London. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

The Palace of Westminster, which holds the UK Houses of Parliament, is in dire need of renovation and the process will most likely cost £5.7 billion ($11.2 billion), and last a whopping 32 years.

The announcement is likely to go down like a lead balloon with the British public, as the Government is still yet to announce the details of large-scale cuts to public services like the NHS.

The beloved building originates from the Middle Ages, giving it a history of over 900 years. It has not been renovated since it was rebuilt 200 years ago following a fire, and urgently needs attention. The stone ceilings are full of damp, the intricate floor tiles are cracking, and electrical and mechanical works are needed.

A report commissioned by the House of Commons and the House of Lords has offered five possible options ranging from a minimum approach to a full “move out” which would be less expensive at £3.9 billion ($6.2 billion).

Despite the lower cost there is some feeling against the full move out among MPs. A less expensive yet complex sounding option would be for MPs to move in and out of the chambers in rotation as works were being done.

The report, carried out by Deloitte, with design firms AECOM, and HOK has given the maximum projection of cost and time as £7.1 billion and 40 years.

In March of this year, John Bercow, the speaker in the House of Commons warned that unless measures were taken in the near future, parliament might have to move out permanently.

“Yet I will tell you in all candor that unless management of the very highest quality and a not inconsequential sum of public money are deployed on this estate over the next ten years that will be the outcome,” he said while addressing the Hansard committee, reports the Guardian.

“This is a fabulous institution located in awesome surroundings. It must not have the ethos of a museum. It will require bold and imaginative managerial leadership to ensure that we are a parliament fit for purpose and that this Victorian legacy can be rendered practical for contemporary representation,” he concluded.

His view at the time was that if the Lords and MPs moved out of the UNESCO world heritage site and Grade 1 listed building to allow works to take place it could be difficult to return.

The Guardian reported on Thursday June 18 that David Cameron was due to scrutinize the report—due to the huge amounts of public money involved—over the weekend and give his view.


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