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Design advisory services sought for Parliament revamp

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The first contracts for the restoration of the Palace of Westminster, a job that could cost up to £7 billion, will be awarded next summer

According to AJ sister-title Construction News, procurement for advisory services contracts has already begun with a pre-qualification questionnaire issued by the corporate offices of the House of Commons and House of Lords.

The advisory services will include separate contracts for the architecture and design element and for programme, project and cost management. The combined contracts could be worth up to £30 million a year.

Once appointed, the advisors, collectively known as the advisory group, will act as a shadow delivery authority for the project through its design and procurement phase and will prepare an outline business case.

The model is similar to that used for the London Olympics, when a shadow partner was established ahead of the appointment of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

After legislation for the renewal programme is in place, potentially in 2017, the advisory group may be transferred to become the full delivery agency.

Consultancy heavyweights including Atkins, Arup, Bechtel and CH2M Hill have all been touted as potential bidders for the high-profile role.

Atkins, Bechtel and CH2M Hill all recently emerged as contenders for the engineering delivery partner role on HS2, a contract that will be worth £350m.

Bidders for the Parliament job are required to return PQQs before the end of September, with a shortlist drawn up in December ahead of the award of contracts in June.

Work on the restoration job is slated to start in 2020, although this date has already been called into question by the Palace of Westminster’s own programme director.

MPs are set to decide between three programmes of work for the project, which could take between six and 32 years and cost between £3.5 billion and £7 billion, depending on whether they opt to decant from Westminster.

A joint committee of MPs and peers was established last month to consider the options. The committee is led by leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling and includes his Labour shadow Angela Eagle.

Other members of the committee include Tory MP Jacob Rees Mogg and Democratic Unionist Party Ian Paisley Jr.

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