Neither House has yet considered the recommendation of the Report of the Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster (House of Lords Paper No. 41, HC 659, Session 2016–17), published in September 2016, that both Houses should leave the Palace temporarily while the essential restoration and renewal work is carried out. The future schedule for the Restoration & Renewal Programme will depend largely on when both Houses take a decision on the preferred delivery option, and on what that decision is. If both Houses accept the Joint Committee’s recommendation, then it will be necessary to acquire, design and fit out temporary accommodation, and to complete the refurbishment of the House of Commons Northern Estate, before decant can take place. There will also be several years of design work, including consultation with Members of both Houses and more widely, which will be followed by a procurement phase for the works. The Joint Committee recommended the establishment, by statute, of an independent Sponsor Board and Delivery Authority to deliver the Programme. Assuming that a decision on the future direction of the Programme can be taken soon, we expect that this work could be completed in time for decant to take place in 2025.
The forecast cost of repair and maintenance of the Palace of Westminster from 2017/18 to 2021/22, the end of the current Medium Term Investment Plan period, is set out in the table below. This includes both planned preventative and reactive maintenance, and current and planned Strategic Estates projects, including a further round of mechanical and electrical engineering work intended to keep the building habitable until 2025.
Planned preventative & reactive maintenance
Current & planned Strategic Estates projects
Medium-term mechanical and electrical works
Costs include VAT and optimism bias where appropriate, but no allowance has been made for inflation. There is not yet a reliable forecast for routine maintenance beyond the end of the current Medium Term Investment Plan period in 2021/22. It is possible that reactive maintenance costs may rise in future as the condition of the Palace continues to deteriorate.
It is assumed that, as the start date for the Restoration & Renewal Programme approaches, wherever possible, work which can be deferred until the Programme starts will be.