Palace of Westminster

Restoration and Renewal programme

September 2016

The Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster, established in July 2015 to consider the Deloitte-led Independent Options Appraisal and related evidence, published its recommendations on 8 September 2016.

The Joint Committee has concluded that the Palace of Westminster ‘faces an impending crisis which we cannot responsibly ignore’. There is a substantial and growing risk of either a single, catastrophic event, such as a major fire, or a succession of incremental failures in essential systems which would lead to Parliament no longer being able to occupy the Palace.

The Committee’s inquiry addressed two main themes from the IOA: the broad scope of the work to be carried out and how the works should be delivered. It agreed the following guiding principles:

  • To preserve the heritage of the Palace of Westminster as the home of the UK Parliament for future generations;
  • To deliver value-for- money for the taxpayer;
  • To continue the effective functioning of Parliament whilst work is happening; and
  • Recommendations were also informed by an understanding of the current security climate.

The Joint Committee report contains a draft motion recommending that a Sponsor Board and Delivery Authority be established as soon as possible. Once established, the Delivery Authority will produce the detailed business case which will then allow the final budgets to be set.

June 2015

Deloitte has led a consortium with AECOM and HOK over 18 months. The results have culminated in the publication of 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.

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.” Says the Palace of Westminster.

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 six years.

(Image: Copyright © Houses of Parliament)

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.”

The times and costs in the IOA are based on an earliest possible 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)

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.

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.

View the official Deloitte press release

Find out more about the Palace of Westminster restoration and renewal programme

(Image: Copyright © Houses of Parliament)

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