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Heavyweight practices picked for £43m Parliament framework

Palace of Westminster
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BDP, Pick Everard, Capita and Purcell have been selected for a £43 million framework for ongoing works across Whitehall and the Palace of Westminster

The practices will work for parliament’s strategic estates division on a series of ‘business as usual projects’ across the historic central London estate over the next four years, including refurbishments, new builds and maintenance works.

The appointments come almost a year after BDP won the job for the £3.9 billion restoration and renewal of the Houses of Parliament, defeating Foster + Partners, Allies and Morrison and HOK. MPs voted to proceed with the cheapest option of a full decant during renewal works in February.

The latest framework is separate from that programme and instead covers planned and reactive works to parliament’s main headquarters and other buildings across Whitehall.

The four teams – selected on the basis of 50 per cent quality and 50 per cent cost – will provide a range of services to parliament’s strategic estates division including architecture, mechanical and public health engineering, electrical engineering, fire engineering, and structural and civil engineering.

The Grade I-listed Charles Barry-designed building, which has been home to the House of Lords since 1847 and the Commons since 1852, has had no major restoration since it was built, and currently has an annual repair bill in excess of £30 million.

In a tight vote in February, MPs in favour of a temporary decant triumphed by 236 to 220. According to an independent options appraisal drawn up by HOK in 2015, the cheapest and quickest way for the dilapidated Westminster building to be restored is for MPs and peers to work elsewhere for six years.

The programme would still cost up to £3.9 billion, the report said, but this would be significantly less than the £5.7 billion needed for a rolling programme of renovations carried out ‘around continued occupation of the Palace’ over 32 years.

BDP, working alongside Donald Insall Associates and CH2M, is currently working on a programme of medium-term M&E upgrades intended to keep the palace safe and habitable beyond 2020.

Following the decision to decant in February, the team is also drawing up more detailed proposals to decant the House of Lords to the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre and the House of Commons to nearby Richmond House.

Construction work on the restoration and renewal of parliament is expected to start in 2025 and complete between five and eight years later.

In November 2016, BDP was chosen for a £500 million overhaul of parliament’s ’northern estate’ office complex. The practice was also picked to create a new headquarters for the Department for Education inside Whitehall’s Old Admiralty Building four years ago. 

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