Press releases

Palace of Westminster Independent Options Appraisal published today

Consortium presents restoration and renewal scenarios

18 June 2015

A Deloitte-led consortium with AECOM and HOK has published an Independent Options Appraisal (IOA) report detailing a range of scenarios for carrying out a major restoration and renewal programme for the Palace of Westminster.

Dr Richard Ware, programme director for Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal, says: “The Palace has reached a turning point in its history, with many features needing major renovation. These include antiquated heating, ventilation, water, drainage and electrical systems combined with extensive stonework decay, leaking roofs, corrosion and the need to improve fire containment. Even the intensive programme of urgent repairs carried out over the last five years is barely scratching the surface.”

The IOA specifies five scenarios across three potential delivery options. These range from a ‘do minimum’ multi-phased approach, to making significant improvements in an intensive single phase. The consortium’s potential delivery options of how the work will be carried out were identified as:

  • A rolling programme of works over a significantly prolonged period of time, delivered around continued occupation of the Palace - potentially 32 years;
  • A partial move out, while a programme of works is conducted over a shorter period of time, during which each House would, in turn, move out to a temporary location and return upon completion - potentially 11 years; and
  • A full move out, during which the Palace would be fully vacated while works are undertaken over a more concentrated period of time, with the Houses returning upon completion - approximately 6 years.

The times and costs in the IOA are based on an assumed start date of 2020, on an assumed scope and are estimated in three bands: upper, mid and lower range. Mid-range costs are: (all figures rounded to two significant figures)

Scenario Renovation scope Most likely duration Mid-range full capital expenditure estimate
Rolling programme minimum standards, including fire containment, improved lifts and step-free access to most areas 32 years £5.7bn
Partial decant as above 11 years £3.9bn
Partial decant as above plus some improvements to business and public amenities (medium outcome) 11 years £4.4bn
Full decant  as above 6 years £3.5bn
Full decant  renovation with significant improvements 6 years £3.9bn

This table lists mid-range estimated costs for the full capital expenditure based on Q2 2014 undiscounted figures. Estimated capital expenditure includes construction works and delivery, temporary accommodation, programme management, future inflation, an allowance for risk, and VAT. A detailed breakdown of estimated costs for each scenario can be found in Volume One of the IOA. All calculations assume that temporary accommodation is relinquished once the programme is complete.

Alex Bell, IOA lead and partner at Deloitte Real Estate, says: “Our analysis indicates that the restoration and renewal of the UK’s most famous building will be a challenging and potentially expensive exercise, but that it could also generate significant benefits to Parliament and the UK more widely. Members and peers face unenviable decisions, although recent mega-project success stories such as London 2012 and Crossrail demonstrate the UK’s capability to deliver such projects successfully.”

John Hicks, UK head of government & public sector at AECOM, comments: “The report intentionally does not contain recommendations on which scenario to choose. As technical lead for the consortium team, AECOM has focused on helping define the ‘what’ in terms of scenarios and the ‘how’, as well as ‘when’ the project could be delivered. This focus, together with both capital and life cost, and robust analysis of the engineering challenges from replacement services to environmental issues, have been principal ingredients of the IOA report.”

Larry Malcic, design principal of HOK, adds: “Few landmarks can rival the enormous historic, cultural and political significance of the Palace of Westminster. The challenges involved in its restoration and renewal are unique. Our extensive understanding of the building’s architectural heritage, underpinned by our two decades of experience working at the Palace and across Whitehall, has informed the report’s findings on what each scenario would aim to achieve and how to manage such a complex design project.”

Bell concludes: “The Joint Committee is expected to make its recommendations early in 2016 with an anticipated decision in principle by members of both Houses in spring 2016. Once the preferred way forward has been identified, the scope will be firmed up and more accurate costs will be developed. The report should not therefore be regarded as a bid for funding in the future. The scale of the work required on the Palace is such that it will have to be planned several years in advance. The Restoration and Renewal Programme itself is unlikely to start before 2020/21.”


Note to editors

  1. The Independent Options Appraisal (IOA) can be found here. Two volumes of detailed supporting information are also available to view.
  2. In 2012, the House of Commons Commission and the House of Lords House Committee commissioned a study on the condition of the Palace. The study indicated that, unless significant restoration and conservation work is undertaken, major irreversible damage may be done.
  3. Since the Palace was constructed in the mid-1800s, many features have never undergone major renovation. The heating, ventilation, water, drainage and electrical systems are now extremely antiquated and improvements to fire safety are needed. The cumulative effects of pollution and lack of maintenance are causing extensive decay to stonework. The roofs are leaking, corrosion has occurred in gutters and downpipes, and internal plumbing regularly fails, causing visible and sometimes irreversible damage to the Palace’s carved stonework ceilings and Pugin-designed historic interiors.
  4. To date, all intrusive renovation work has been carried out around sittings of Parliament. This approach has permitted only the minimum essential maintenance and piecemeal replacement of systems at highest risk of failure. This is not sustainable in the long term. Currently, the rate and speed at which the work can be carried out is slower than the rate at which the building is deteriorating so the backlog of essential repairs (and in turn the risk of system failure) is growing significantly over time. One of the biggest problems affecting the repair and maintenance of the Palace is the presence of asbestos throughout the building.
  5. The two Houses have been jointly responsible for the upkeep of the Palace since 1992, but their regular budgets only allow for routine maintenance and only the most essential repairs, so significant additional public funding would be required from around 2020, whichever option is chosen. While this is not a government programme, guidance has been taken from the Major Projects Authority, Infrastructure UK (HM Treasury) and the National Audit Office.
  6. The IOA consortium includes the following organisations: Deloitte Real Estate, AECOM and HOK. Deloitte Real Estate provided programme management, report authoring, and real estate advice. AECOM was the technical lead providing, cost, risk, programme, construction logistics and engineering. HOK provided architecture and heritage architecture services.

    The IOA consortium was supported by subject matter experts who challenged and supplemented its views on construction logistics (Skanska), public access (David Bonnett Associates) and security (MFD International).
  7. The IOA has been conducted independently of Members of either House of Parliament and parliamentary staff to provide a wholly independent, external and expert appraisal of a range of scenarios for carrying out the restoration and renewal.
  8. Further details of the Restoration and Renewal Programme including background, timelines, facts about the Palace of Westminster and videos showing the deteriorating condition of the building, can be found online here.
  9. For further information about interview or filming requests at the Palace of Westminster, or more generally on the Restoration and Renewal Programme itself, please contact Faiza Fareed on 020 7219 8716 or email

About Deloitte Real Estate
Deloitte Real Estate redefines the concept of a full-service real estate business, offering a breadth of capability and an innovative approach unequalled in the market.

Our team combines traditional property services with financial and business advisory expertise to deliver integrated solutions on the most simple assignment to the most complex. We apply a depth of insight drawn from our understanding of all industries and sectors to advise occupiers, lenders, investors and the public sector on every aspect of real estate in an increasingly complex world.

About Deloitte
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The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

AECOM is a premier, fully integrated professional and technical services firm positioned to design, build, finance and operate infrastructure assets around the world for public- and private-sector clients. With nearly 100,000 employees — including architects, engineers, designers, planners, scientists and management and construction services professionals — serving clients in over 150 countries around the world, AECOM is ranked as the #1 engineering design firm by revenue in Engineering News-Record magazine’s annual industry rankings, and has been recognized by Fortune magazine as a World’s Most Admired Company.

The firm is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, oil and gas, water, high-rise buildings and government. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering customized and creative solutions that meet the needs of clients’ projects. A Fortune 500 firm, AECOM companies, including URS Corporation and Hunt Construction Group, had revenue of approximately $19 billion during the 12 months ended March 31, 2015. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at

About HOK
HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm. Through a network of 25 offices worldwide, HOK provides design excellence and innovation to create places that enrich people's lives and help clients succeed. For five consecutive years, DesignIntelligence has ranked HOK as a leader in sustainable and high-performance design.

HOK designs have been improving London for 25 years. The restoration of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Whitehall, the Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum and Barclays World Headquarters in Canary Wharf exemplify HOK’s range of projects. The tradition continues with current projects like the Francis Crick Institute, which will be the UK’s largest biomedical research facility.

Sue Gibson
Deloitte LLP
+44 020 7303 3156
+44 078 5539 9368

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