A huge challenge
Why is the situation so urgent?
It is widely agreed that the Houses of Parliament needs essential restoration. This is not an ordinary renovation. The 150-year-old Palace of Westminster was built at the start of Queen Victoria’s reign.
It is enormous and complex – 34 acres and the size of more than 1000 houses, all sharing the same water, electric, sewage and gas system many passed or nearing the end of their working life.
There are 65 different levels, with more than 100 staircases, and only one lift that meets modern day standards for accessibility.
As well as being one of the UK’s biggest buildings it’s one of the nation’s busiest workplaces with thousands of people on site each day, from catering and security staff to MPs and Peers to experts keeping this iconic building running.
Keeping the Palace Running
Maintenance costs £1.4m a week. These costs to simply keep the building safe and running and have doubled in just three years. The building is at risk of fire, flood or falling stones and there is asbestos in 2500 places. It will take a team of 300 people years to remove it or make it safe. Outdated water and sewage systems run alongside obsolete heating, mechanical and electrical systems. Hundreds of miles of cables and pipes need replacing to make the Palace fit for the next 150 years.