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UK Houses of Parliament Refurbishment – Let the Bidding Commence!

The announcement of plans to undertake the colossal Houses of Parliament refurbishment project has unsurprisingly sparked significant interest among some of the UK’s most reputable contractors. Research has revealed that the cost of the London based project will be in the region of £4 billion to £6 billion GBP, whilst it could take as long as 30 years to complete.

A report on the future of the Palace of Westminster concluded in 2012: “If the Palace were not a listed building of the highest heritage value, its owner would probably be advised to demolish and rebuild.” This illuminates the importance for major refurbishment work to begin as soon as possible.

The 150 year old Grade 1 listed building who's last major refurbishment was back in the 1950 after damage from the Second World War is claimed to be partially sinking. In addition to being riddled with a multitude of further problems including asbestos, outdated electrical systems and even a slight lean to the tower which houses Big Ben. A report published in 2012 exposed that the refurbishment of the Houses of Parliament should be of paramount importance, for without such work being undertaken, significant, irreversible damage could be caused.

There appears to be no firm plan as to how the work will be carried out as yet, with some suggesting work could take place year-on-year during MP's vacations in the summer. However, it was revealed that the cost of delivering the work over such a long time period could see the cost spiral to over £7 Bn and take over 30 years complete. As an outsider looking in, that looks like a less than ideal scenario and I would imagine it would be decided that parliament will move out of their Westminster home and find a temporary alternative for a number of years whilst the work is fast tracked. The estimated timescales for this option are thought to be 6 years. It is expected that it will be decided which course of action will be taken by next year.

Work is estimated to begin between 2018 and 2019, and is set to be one of the largest and most interesting construction projects in the UK to date. Construction professionals will no doubt be following this project closely over the coming years as it offer the opportunity to work on one of the UK's most iconic building; a once in several generations chance to work on a project of this type.

The procurement process for this mammoth project is set to commence next in Spring 2016, but which company will offer the best value and thus, secure the contract?

Good for UK Construction

Of course there could be great prestige for contractors being involved with this project. But similarly they could come in for some cat-calling if things go horribly wrong, costs soar – inevitable in some of the timescales – and deadlines aren’t met.

However, in general a great project that will need specific skills and help to keep this market buoyant as long as there are no huge set-backs.

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Keeping abreast of the infrastructure, construction and engineering projects in the UK is something we pride ourselves with. We like to keep ahead of the market so that we know about opportunities before you’ve even started looking for your next position.

That being the case, we are always happy to advise on what’s current and what’s coming up. Just drop us your CV, make an enquiry or call us for a chat on 0870 243 0446 about opportunities in your area of expertise.

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Eleanor Caldwell
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