Plan for temporary House of Lords home put on ice

Plans to temporarily move the House of Lords to the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Conference Centre have stuttered to a stop, Construction News can reveal.

Peers were set to move to the conference centre as restoration work on the Houses of Parliament ramps up. A market consultation on the move was launched last August, with plans for work on the roof, facade and temporary chamber on the cards.

A contract notice for the renovation work planned at the conference centre was expected this month. But Construction News understands it has been put on hold, as a revised plan for restoration work at the Palace of Westminster needs approval from both the House of Commons and House of Lords.

Surveying work at the conference centre is now on ice as well, with debates in both houses expected before summer recess begins on 21 July.

CN also understands that the commissions of both houses met in mid-March to agree on a new approach to the restoration work at the Palace of Westminster, after concerns were raised about the cost and timescale of the current work programme.

Renovation work at the Palace of Westminster is now set to cost as much as £22bn, according to a report by the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, published last month.

The body also said that the restoration could take up to 76 years if MPs and Lords do not vacate the building, which is one of the options that has been suggested. If they do vacate it, the job could take between 19 and 28 years to complete.

CN understands that survey work at the Palace is continuing.

The restoration work was further complicated by a pause in February after asbestos was found on site. Last month, the clerk of the House of Commons revealed that at least 117 people were potentially exposed to the asbestos, and that the asbestos was only reported to the Health and Safety Executive months after it was discovered.

Leave a comment